Student artists showcase creative cars and win big at Houston Art Car Parade

Every spring, the Houston Art Car Parade takes over a section of Allen Parkway and brings together Houstonians of all ages in a celebration of creativity and community. This year, 21 HISD schools worked to create one-of-a-kind rolling pieces of art for the 36th annual event, with four student-made creations earning prizes in the Art Car and Youth Group categories. The art cars were judged by notable local artists, art patrons, and sponsors of the long-standing Houston arts collective, The Orange Show, where the Houston Art Car Parade originated.

Julon Pinkston’s art students at Frank Black Middle School used ceramic, plaster, and plastic to assemble hundreds of pieces of hand-made candy and a lifelike skull which they incorporated into their art car, Wicked Sweet. Wicked Sweet was conceived of in October 2022 when Pinkston’s students had spooky elements and candy on the brain.

At least 100 Frank Black Middle School students participated in building Wicked Sweet over the course of four months, with about 20 students regularly staying after school to work on it. As a result of their hard work, Wicked Sweet placed first in the Youth Group category.

“When students get a taste for Art Car, they discover that art isn’t this pretentious thing that requires you to turn out a certain type of product,” said Pinkston. “They find out it’s a matter of just doing, of making. Art Car is a way of teaching critical thinking and creativity, and students experience a lot of growth through participation.”

Lovett Elementary and Sam Houston Math, Science, and Technology Center both secured third place in the overall Art Car Competition with their respective creations, Sugar Rush and Face Your Fears.

Crockett Elementary also placed third in the Youth Group category with their art car, All Eyes on Me.

“With 21 participating cars this year, we look forward to increasing participation next year to over 25,” said HISD Fine Arts Curriculum Implementation Coach Rickey Polidore.

The Houston Art Car Parade isn’t the only opportunity for HISD students to showcase their creative chops on a city-wide level. On May 13, The Orange Show is hosting the Art Bike Festival, which will also hopefully see a record number of HISD student participants.