Orange Show Gala brings sparkles, costumes + jazz to 2011!

The Orange Show Gala 2011 by Ed Schipul

We love working with all of our clients (seriously, they are amazing), but few clients can throw a costume and glitter festival like The Orange Show.  Check out some of our photos (taken by Ed Schipul and Derek Key) from their 30th Anniversary Orange Show Gala  and tag yourself on the Orange Show Facebook page if you see yourself!

The Orange Show Gala 2011 crowd

Happy faces at the Orange Show Gala 2011

Welcome to the Orange Show Gala 2011

Dancing at The Orange Show Gala 2011

Great friends at the Orange Show Gala 2011


Learn more about The Orange Show (one of Houston’s art and creative treasures) on their website and be sure to connect on Facebook to attend their next awesome event!

What Would Warhol Do?

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” – Andy Warhol, 1968

I attended a screening of Warhol on TV presented by Aurora Picture Show at the Menil Collection last Friday night. The film was a collection of excerpts of works created by and featuring Andy Warhol. The film was curated by the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA.

Andy Warhol’s obsession with celebrity and the lives of the rich in famous is well documented, and very evident in the film. What hit me was his fervent dedication to documenting his life and the world around him in photographs and video. Take this photo I took of a video of Andy being done up in drag.

In today’s pop culture, our obsession with the lives of the rich and famous is at an all time high. The entire Charlie Sheen saga has been a grim reminder of how much we thirst for a good celebrity train wreck. But a democratization of the velvet rope has occurred with the proliferation of camera phones. Whether it is the video of Cyndi Lauper singing Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun in an airport terminal . . .

Or a little girl singing the new Lady GaGa single . . .


There are moments of Warholian fascination being born (this way) every day. It’s had me thinking about what Andy Warhol’s art would have looked like if he was armed with an iPhone. The glut of photography apps on the iPhone, particularly those dedicated to creating a vintage look to your photos, make your iPhone reminiscent of Warhol’s ubiquitous cameras. Here are a couple of my favorites

Instagram – FREE

Instagram is incredibly simple. Take a picture, apply a cool filter, share with other user and over your social networks. They recently added hashtag support allowing users to tag their photos, making them searchable. Instagram is great to get quick snaps of random things going on around you. The in-app feed is great for those moments when you want to just look at something interesting in the middle of the day. You can also like and comment on your friends photos. There is also a Popular button that takes you to a collection of the most liked photos taken by Instagram users.

Hipstamatic – $2.99 plus multiple $.99,  Hipstapaks (app currently on sale for $1.99)

I’ll warn you now, this app can lead to a serious obession. I LOVE Hipstamatic. While the app comes with a nice set of equipment up front, the real fun is adding the Hipstapaks, expanding your lens, film and camera options. I doubt I’ll ever learn how to use this app to its fullest potential, but I know it’s going to be fun trying. Another great feature of this app is the Hipstamart. You can upload photos from your phone into the Hipstamart, and order high quality prints! They come in a nifty little envelope that folds into a stand-up frame.

Hipstamatic just takes great photos. You can also share them in Instagram, doubling the AWESOME! One more thing, if you’re going to be using Hipstamatic, you might as well invest in SwankoLab as well. It’s like having an entire dark room in your pocket!

8mm Vintage Camera – $1.99

I haven’t been able to use 8mm as much as I would like. As you can probably imagine, it turns your iPhone into an 8mm camera. Like Hipstamatic, it comes with a small collection of lenses and films to experiment with. Turn your videos into home movies from yesteryear!

Fortunately, the bad fashion from the 70’s is not included.

With an iPhone and these apps, anyone can lead the life of Andy Warhol. And getting your 15 minutes of fame just got a bit easier. Happy content creating!

Sports Stadium or Art Gallery?

When you hear the name Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, the last person you’d associate with him is Dominique de Menil, founder of The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas. However, you will be surprised to find they are much closer than you think.

There is an article in this month’s Texas Monthly titled Paint by Numbers that takes an in depth look at one of the most ambitious contemporary arts collections recently brought together in the State of Texas. What makes this collection unique is this “gallery” just hosted the Super Bowl XLV. I am, of course, talking about the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

I found the entire article incredibly fascinating. While some will sniff at the idea of the art in the stadium being compared to the frescoes that adorned the vomitoria (click on the link, it’s not what you think) of the Roman  Colosseum, Mr. Jones has recreated the same thing in Arlington, and he’s done so with contemporary art.

For the record, I am not a big fan of Jerry Jones, but I greatly respect what he has done here. It’s a surprisingly forward thinking move from an organization drowning in sponsorship money  from beer and soft drink companies. An NFL franchise as an arts benefactor makes so much sense, it’s hard for me to believe it hasn’t been a higher priority, if not a legislative requirement of publicly funded sports stadiums.

The amount of money pumping through the professional sports leagues is mind boggling, and incredibly hard to swallow at times. The Dallas Cowboys stadium alone carried a price tag of $1.15 BILLION. To see some of this money directed into the arts makes me happy, and hopeful we can see more money pumped into the arts communities of all cities that are home to a professional sports franchise.

At a time when government funding of the arts is in danger of being cut on all levels, it is high time owners of all professional sports franchises try harder to keep up with the Joneses.

Schipul Pops In At The CultureMap Pop-Up Party at FotoFest

FotoFest A Matter of Wit

Above: Gilbert Garcin, The flight of Icarus(after Leonardo da Vinci),
[L’envol d’Icare (d’apres Leonard de Vinci)], 2005 –

FotoFest: A Matter of Wit

Last night I had the pleasure of popping into the Culture Map Pop-Up Party at FotoFest.   What was all the celebration about?   Yesterday was the opening of a great new exhibit at FotoFest:   A Matter of Wit.   Featuring collective works of Gilbert Garcin, Miro Å volík and Colin Blakely, each visitor was surrounded by remarkable visions of whimsy, humor and ability as they navigated through the displays, friendly faces and tasty treats.

FotoFest Houston Gallery

Aside gawking at some amazing photography, The Culture Map Pop-up Party at FotoFest also gave me my first taste of sugary goodness from MMM…Cupcake and an amazing twice-baked potato pocket pie from Oh My! Pocket Pies (which was adorable and delicious).   The folks at MMM…Cupcakes and Oh My! Pocket Pies couldn’t be nicer (and kudos to the pie guys for sticking it out in freezing temperatures).

Another awesome turn up at the Map Pop-up Party at FotoFest was Smile Booth!   I got to chat with Josh from Smile Booth and I have to say, it’s probably one of the neatest things I’ve seen out and about in Houston.   A superior twist on old school instant film, a high quality instant camera with takes a few photos of you and your friends and print right out; these pictures turn out great and you can view them online the next day (just like the ones from FotoFest)!

FotoFest Smile Booth
Everyone had a blast, but if you missed the Pop-Up Party at FotoFest, don’t worry the exhibit: A Matter of Wit continues through Feb 25th. Thanks to CultureMap, the awesome food vendors, Silver Eagle, FotoFest and everyone who contributed for a great night!



FotoFest Houston Gallery 1

FotoFest2.10.11 045

FotoFest: A Matter of Wit | Gilbert Garcin, Miro Švolík, Colin Blakely

February 10, 2011 – February 25, 2011
Mon-Wed and Fri, 10am – 5pm, Sat, noon – 5pm,
Late Night Thursdays 10am – 7pm

Want more FotoFest?
Reserve a tour: Jennifer Ward, or at 713.223.5522 ext 18.
Information and Visuals: Vinod Hopson, or at (713) 223.5522 ext 26
Literacy Though Photography: Kristin Skarbovig, or at (713) 223-5522

Shade of Hope Helps Make Houses Homes Hosts “Shade of Hope” Fundraiser for the Houston Furniture Bank from Schipul – The Web Marketing Co. on Vimeo.

Coffee table. Bed. Plates. Forks. Chairs. A lamp. Individually, they’re just items on a list of things found in a house. Collectively these items represent what makes a house a home, and when simply having a roof is your main priority, what to put under it takes the backseat.   Shade of Hope is putting the spotlight on these details.

About Shade of Hope and The Furniture Bank of Houston and Houston Furniture Bank Leadership TeamsShade of Hope is a community arts affair created to help raise money and awareness for   The Furniture Bank of Houston.   The name sounds stately and polished, but the Furniture Bank is modest warehouse tucked away in Houston’s Third Ward, manned by a small group of loving volunteers.

Sunday, July 18, the public will have an opportunity to see the space for themselves during the kick-off event for Shade of Hope. Artists will be on-site creating the artwork to be featured in the upcoming   Furniture, Arts and Decor Expo – Show Your heART Houston, which also benefits The Furniture Bank.

Artist + Katie Sign First Canvas for Shade of Hope

True to it’s name, artists for the event will use shades donated by as canvas for their artwork. We attended the artist breakfast meeting at and even had an opportunity to sign the first shade commemorating the event.

The Furniture Bank welcomes donations of furniture and home appliances. Anyone interested in participating or donating to Shade of Hope or the Furniture Bank can contact Esther Steinfeld of

The Art of Gallery Openings

Whether you are looking for performance art in the Theater District or visual art in anywhere from your local coffee shop to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is loaded like very few cities in the country when it comes to its artistic community.  The myth of these fantastic arts options is they are not easily accessible. Admittedly, I was one of those people until I made the decision to get out, and start exploring this visial arts scene that is literally everywhere around Houston.

My first foray into the world of Houston art galleries was actually spawned by an SPA board meeting at the  Bering & James gallery. I got there early with the rest of my co-workers to set up before our board members arrived. While we were waiting for the festivities to begin, I signed their guestbook, getting myself on their mailing list.

1. Get on the mailing list.
I’ll get to some gallery suggestions in another post, but if you have any galleries that you know of, but have never worked up the nerve to attend, simply click over to their website and get yourself on the mailing list. There is really no better way to be informed of future openings and special events.

After the board meeting, I got a chance to speak with one of the owners of the gallery, Blakely Bering. I asked her about the gallery. She is a wonderfully energetic and helpful gallery owner. She makes it easy for you to walk into her gallery, and make you feel welcome. Oh, and I own a piece of her work.

2. Meet at least one of the gallery owners.
There are a couple of good reasons why you should make yourself familiar with the gallery owners. If you are an aspiring collector, it’s always nice to build a foundation for future business you will be doing with the gallery. However, if you are just there for the art and the scene, it’s just plain good manners to thank your host or hostess for opening their gallery doors to you.

A few weeks later, I received an email about an upcoming opening at Bering & James. I checked my calendar, and had nothing to do that evening. I called up my friend Nikole to see if she would like to join me.

3. Take a friend.
While I have been known to make my own fun during a solo night on the town, I highly recommend you bring a wingman when you start charting your own course through the art scene in Houston. This is particularly true if this scene is not your typical environment. For instance, if you don’t get out much, an art gallery can be a bit daunting. I’m a regular social butterfly, and I didn’t feel comfortable going alone. Besides, people watching is a regular sport during events like this, and it’s always more fun when you have someone with you to comment on your fellow gallery-goers.

Speaking of people watching, you’re likely to be very surprised about the kind of people you’ll run into at a Houston gallery opening. It’s not the stuffy New York City crowd that pontificates on the art or vision, it’s pretty devoid of  pretension. People in Houston are friendly and open when it comes to artistic endeavors. Open up in the gallery. Before long, you’re sure to run into a new person who becomes a fast friend.

4. Nevertheless, dress to impress.
One thing that is always true about any Houston event, you get all kinds. Our cowboy roots tend to make us think that jeans are always appropriate regardless of the type of event. I am not saying that jeans aren’t okay at these events, just saying that you shouldn’t dress down for an opening. However, going over the top will make you look like a pretentious jerk; which is not the first impression you want to make with anyone in the gallery. You will see these people at other openings at the gallery you’re visiting, as well as, other galleries around town. Don’t let their first impression of you be that of a snooty idiot. What Houstonians lack in pretentiousness, they more than make up for in gossipping.

Guys, go with a button up (or a nice t-shirt)  with jeans and a blazer. Ladies, avoid the stringy tops, unless you have a jacket. Jeans are great, but if you have a cute dress to show off, this is THE NIGHT to bring it. The Golden Rule? Always remember that people are coming to the gallery to see the art on the walls, not on you. While it is generally nice for people to notice you, that is not the way to get noticed at a gallery. The artist and gallery owners are generally the only people who can and will break this rule.

Nikole and I have attended a couple openings now at Bering & James. There is one gentleman we have nicknamed Steve Perry for his Journey-esque hairstyle. This is one of the best parts of these openings; looking at the other people. Inevitably, there will always be a few people who either disregard the rule or flout it with admirable flair. Until you are a big time art collector, you need to keep a lower profile, and obey the rule.

5. The wine is free, but this isn’t Cheers, Norm.
Make sure you don’t come off as one of those people who is there for the free wine. NOT a good way to go. Have no more than two glasses at the opening. If you start hitting the free booze hard, people will notice and, even worse, you’ll start to get sloppy. This is a surefire way to get yourself OFF the mailing list. Generally speaking, you’ll probably not have the need to stay at the gallery much longer than it takes to drink one glass anyway.

6. Get in and get out.
Unless you are a collector or close personal friend of the gallery owner(s), I advise you get in, see the art, say hi to the people you know, drink some wine and get the hell out of there. Unless you get into some conversation with new and interesting people, I wouldn’t recommend spending more than 30-45 minutes at an opening. That said . . .

7. An opening does not make an evening.
Always have plans after the opening. Even if it is as simple as going somewhere to talk about the art, gallery and people, make sure you make the gallery opening your evening opening. This will also be helpful in keeping you from lingering too long.

In my next post: A short list of galleries you should get to know.