Five HISD student-created cars win prizes at the Art Car Parade

Five HISD schools won prizes in Saturday’s 29th annual Art Car Parade in downtown Houston, with district-created student art cars snagging two of the four “first-place” winning categories in overall competition.

The Reagan High School Art Car Club, led by teacher Rebecca Bass, won first place with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and the Lovett Elementary Visual Arts Program, with  teacher Rickey Polidore Jr., won first place with ‘OWL’ways in the ARTISTIC FRAME of Mind.” Both schools received a grand trophy and $1,500.

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“Bohemian Rhapsody” is covered with trinkets donated by the retail store Charming Charlie. The British band Queen’s lead singer, Freddie Mercury, stands on the roof, while a bejeweled blue dragon on the hood references the Queen song “Dragon Attack.” Other band members appear on the back of the car, along with a couple of fans, and the rolling creation blares its namesake song through speakers.

This is the 31st art car that Bass has created. Many were done when she was a full-time teacher at HISD; she now works part-time for HISD helping students build art cars.

“They are learning a lot about sculpture and design and color and all that stuff,” Bass told Houstonia magazine recently, “but they’re learning about each other and themselves.”

Last year Reagan won the parade’s biggest award, the Mayor’s Cup.

In the Best Youth Group category, Frank Black Middle School, with teacher Julon Pinkston, tied for first place. The colorful entry “The Beastie Croonie-Kerploppus-Yalapapus” garnered them a grand trophy and $500.

Also in the youth category, the second-place winner was “The Art and Pride of the North Side” by Davis High School, with teacher Anna Bass, and third place was won by “Owl,” created by the Arabic Immersion Magnet School (AIMS) with parent Alicia Kahn. The AIMS car began as a 1989 Honda Accord to which the students added a papier-mâché owl covered in real bird feathers. For pictures of some of the HISD art cars in progress, see this preview story.

The Art Car Parade shows the creative, energetic, fun side of Houston, referred to as the Art Car Capital of the World. This year, the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art awarded $16,000 to the winners, using these judging criteria: overall theme, craftsmanship, design, originality, and transformation.

For a complete list of winners with photographs, see this link. For images of all the art cars in this year’s parade, see the program here.