The Orange Show is a folk-art environment–and monumental work of outsider architecture–in Houston’s east end. It was built single-handedly between 1956 and 1979, by the late Jefferson Davis McKissack, a Houston postal worker.
The outdoor 3,000-square-foot complex is maze-like in design and includes an oasis, a wishing well, a pond, a stage, a museum, a gift shop, and several upper decks. It’s constructed of concrete, brick, steel and found objects including gears, tiles, wagon wheels, mannequins, tractor seats, and statuettes.
McKissack died in 1980, but in some ways, his architectural project, which he dubbed “The Orange Show” for his love of oranges, was just beginning. Local Houston arts patron Marilyn Oshman acted quickly to form a nonprofit around the Orange Show to help preserve it. In 1982 the Orange Show was restored and officially opened to the public. The nonprofit puts on arts events in the space and works to preserve other works of outsider architecture, in Houston including the Beer Can House.
Donors to The Orange Show nonprofit are diverse and have included everyone from a local funerary director to members of ZZ Top.