First Look Festival Welcomes Public to New Asia Society Texas Center
HOUSTON, April 14, 2012 — When you get something new and wonderful, you can’t wait to share it with friends.
During a two-day festival and open house April 14 and 15, Asia Society Texas Center offered a long-anticipated first look at its spectacular new home in the heart of Houston’s Museum District – and a delicious first taste of the offerings in art, culture, education and fun to come. The weekend event marked the Texas Center’s official opening to the public. Click here to watch the video.
The free First Look Festival began immediately after Saturday’s Dedication Ceremony, which took place on the lawn in front of the Center and featured remarks by Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Ronnie C. Chan and Henrietta H. Fore, Co-Chairs of the Asia Society Board of Trustees, among others. Doors to the 40,000-square-foot space that will house art exhibitions, performances, lectures, and educational activities were then thrown open to let everyone explore its rich materials, light-filled spaces and precise lines, designed by renowned Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi.
The festival drew some 5,300 Houstonians. Inside the building, activity booths offered everything from Taiwanese kite-making to Islamic tile painting and Japanese Ikebana. Treasures of Asian Art: A Rockefeller Legacy, the opening exhibition in the Center’s Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery, drew long lines. Downstairs the Fayez Sarofim Grand Hall housed the second inaugural exhibition, Contemporary Asian Art: Texas Connections. The building’s Jade Stone Café did a brisk business.
Across Southmore Boulevard, in the vast Festival Pavilion covering the Texas Center's parking lot, visitors, especially children, found much more to delight them. Two performance stages offered almost non-stop entertainment that included classical Indian dance, Appalachian and Nepali folk music, Lao folk dancing, music of the Pakistani Sufi tradition, Australian aboriginal music and much more. There was even the reenactment of a Cambodian wedding.
The schedule kicked off and ended on both days with a performance by Naniwa Tobi Dento Hozonkai, an Osaka-based troupe that performs acrobatic routines atop a 23-foot ladder, paying homage to the firefighters of Edo-period Japan.
Reported by Louis Parks