August 2, 2014 - November 1, 2014
Julia Ideson Building | 550 McKinney St., 77002
The last quarter of the nineteenth century was a time of transition for women all across America. This reality was equally true for women living in Houston, Texas. The challenges of the war years had prepared these women to meet the challenges of a growing city. New technology reduced the time required to maintain households and created more leisure for many. Since their opportunities for formal education had often been limited, women pursued learning through the creation of clubs in which they could grow together in a circle of mutual acceptance and friendship. They also recognized that communitywide improvements, supported collectively, were needed for the public good.
During the 1890s, local clubwomen realized a free public library was a necessary component for a progressive city. Members of The Ladies’ Reading Club, The Woman’s Club of Houston, the Current Literature Club, the Ladies’ Shakespeare Club, and the Mansfield Dramatic Club organized the City Federation of Women’s Clubs. The ladies then raised money, collected books, sat on committees and boards, and badgered the occupants of City Hall. On March 2, 1904, the Houston Lyceum and Carnegie Library opened its doors to an appreciative population.
Although the city’s clubwomen had succeeded in their quest for a public library, they were just embarking on a journey to create a more livable city. As they moved out of parlors into the public arena, their actions would make a profound difference in the lives of Houstonians for generations to come.
This exhibition is generously supported by:
Friends of the Texas Room
Houston Metropolitan Research Center
Houston Public Library
City of Houston
July 28, 2014 - September 19, 2014
Central Library |1st Floor Gallery Area | 500 McKinney St., 77002
The Houston Public Library presents this exhibit of authorized digital prints by Swedish neo-Modernist painter Carl Köhler (1919-2006). This exhibit features major representative images of celebrated authors and artists and will be on display through mid-September 2014 at the Jesse H. Jones Central Library.
Köhler studied at the Swedish Royal Academy of Fine Art and gained some fame in his native country for his author portraits as well as his modernist drawings of dancers and the theater. He took particular interest in writers and other intellectuals, and though he never met his subjects, he was able to extract certain qualities from their writing and applied these to create powerful portraits. He employed multiple media and varying technique for each portrait, changing his style and palette to illuminate the idea of the writer or artist he painted. Some are so ethereal as to be almost invisibly lost in a few lines and strokes of the brush, while others are strongly stated and visceral. These are Köhler’s literary criticisms.
Since his father’s death, Henry Köhler has devoted much of this life spreading the word about his father’s achievements in painting and drawing. Though his father’s work was never fully embraced in his native Sweden, Carl Köhler has found some recognition in libraries and cultural venues in the US and Canada since his death. Henry Köhler feels that the emotional reaction to the portraits by most viewers indicates a talent in need of true recognition.
The Houston Public Library is pleased to be able to present these images to a new audience and to help in spreading the word about this under-recognized genius. Special thanks to the Dallas Public Library for loaning the authorized prints in this exhibition. For more information about Carl Köhler and his art, please visit http://www.carlkohler.se.
May 24, 2014 – August 2, 2014
Julia Ideson Building | 550 Mckinney St., 77002
Hermann Park has been a part of life in Houston since 1914, when philanthropist George Hermann donated 285 acres of land to the City. Designed by renowned landscape architect George Kessler and expanded upon by the firm Hare & Hare, the first plans laid the groundwork for many beloved features currently in the Park. Today, visitors enter the Park through the main entrance at Montrose Boulevard and Main Street to enjoy the vibrant green spaces and trails, reflection pool, McGovern Lake, Miller Theatre, golf course, garden center, and zoo.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the Park went through a period of decline due to a lack of funding. Hastily constructed roads and parking lots replaced large sections of green space. Disturbed by the deterioration of the Park, locals formed the Friends of Hermann Park in 1992, which is now known as Hermann Park Conservancy. The Conservancy continues its mission to preserve and improve the Park which serves Houston and its citizens as an oasis of recreation and rest in a bustling urban environment.
Hermann Park Centennial highlights photographs and documents from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center and Hermann Park Conservancy that capture 100 years of the Park’s history and portray upcoming additions for the next century.
This exhibition is generously supported by Hermann Park Conservancy. Houston Public Library and the City of Houston
This exhibit is free and open to the public.
McCrane-Kashmere Gardens Neighborhood Library | 5411 Pardee St., 77026
Born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 1946, Earlie Hudnall, Jr. came to Houston as an undergraduate art major at Texas Southern University. It was while studying with Dr. John Biggers that Hudnall discovered his love of photography. From his studies with the master artist Biggers, Hudnall developed a philosophy of art that focuses upon the documentation of the spirituality of African American people.
Hudnall has been chronicling African American communities in Houston for four decades with a particular interest in the Third Ward and Fourth Ward communities. With massive development accruing in these communities he began to document the community traditions, the families, the architecture, and the everyday life of the community. Much has been lost and gone forever however the photographer’s images capture the extraordinary history of these neighborhoods and others.
April 12, 2014 - September 13, 2014
The African American Library at the Gregory School | 1300 Victor St., 77019
In 1966, Congress passed the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act. This bill applied federal funds directly to the rebuilding of urban communities devastated by poverty, blight and racial injustice. A capstone of President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society,” the Model Cities program - as it came to be known - was unprecedented in its emphasis on local strategies and citizen participation in the planning process.
It was an Act of legislation that reflected the times. With seemingly insurmountable civil strife giving way to riots, Washington needed a response that would recognize entrenched discrimination and quell violence. In this Act, citizens were invited to work with the government, not protest against it. Mayors submitted grant applications, and if approved, were required to channel money to neighborhoods most in need, and set up citizen planning forums. In Houston, the grant barely pushed through due to hostilities toward the program from local politicians, and the city’s lack of housing codes. Out of 150 cities approved for a federal grant, Houston was the 150th. Houston officially became a Model City in December 1968.
Comprehensive urban renewal is a complex undertaking, requiring the vision of a dreamer with the applied determination of a public servant. Met with its share of pushback and crippling bureaucracy, the program was not without its successes. Model Cities remains one of the most experimental and equalizing processes to be enacted within the city of Houston.
This exhibition is generously supported by the City of Houston and Houston Public Library. Special thanks to the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Barbara Jordan Archives and Special Collections at Texas Southern University, and photographer Ray Carrington.