Up until April, when the nonprofit Glade Cultural Center first threw open its doors, residents of The Woodlands looking for a fine art experience largely had two options: count pinecones while waiting for the annual Waterway Arts Festival, or drive down to Houston. Now, the intimate space—carved from the nearly built-out community’s former Homefinder Center off Woodlands Parkway—represents the seed of a proper arts scene, with galleries, event space, and education initiatives to boot. Below, four things we loved from our visit:
A Permanent Collection from Houston’s David Adickes
Turns out the 91-year-old artist—responsible for Huntsville’s massive Sam Houston statue and other distracting highway sculptures—is also a prolific painter, and Adickes has provided more than 50 works to Glade on a long-term loan. “If you ask him, he likes painting as much as sculpting, and I love his fun and whimsical style,” says Executive Director Elisabeth Stavinoha. “Some of his paintings here are cubism-adjacent with these elongated figures of beautiful French women.”
A Virtual Museum
A virtual-reality station sits tucked away behind a set of plate glass doors, offering three-dimensional tours of famous masterworks. How does it work? Slip on the VR headset, and voilà, you can reach out and touch Michelangelo’s David. Down the hallway, the Mona Lisa. You can lose hours exploring the digital expanse; just don’t think about how dorky you look flailing about the room wearing the big, chunky goggles.
A Real-Deal Commercial Gallery
Stavinoha explains how the full-fledged cultural center grew from the Glade Gallery, formerly located along the Woodlands Waterway. Almost half of Glade’s floor space remains devoted to gallery space featuring works from local artist Cynthia Reid and Renaissance-inspired paintings from Alice Palmer.
The Sculptures of Lawrence Ludtke
A statue of John Wayne originally destined for the Cowboy Hall of Fame is just one Ludtke sculpture to rest beneath Glade’s central rotunda. The late Houston sculptor left his mark with lifelike depictions of Americana, crafting statues for the Gettysburg National Military Park and a bust of Ronald Reagan for his presidential library. “This is the first time these maquettes have been on display outside his home,” Stavinoha says. “When everything was installed, his wife walked around for over an hour and lovingly touched each of the 15 pieces and told a story.”