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Stark Foundation continues tremendous commitment to the community

By Van Wade

The Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation seeks to continue the legacy of its founders through the programs of: The Stark Museum of Art, The W.H. Stark House, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, and Frances Ann Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts, as well as the Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation, a qualified scholarship program for public high school students in Orange County, Texas. Programming is designed to create, and build upon, an appreciation within the community for the fine arts, Stark family history, the performing arts, environmental stewardship, and public speaking.

The W.H. Stark House Tour is a walking tour through a 14,000 square foot, three-story home that stands much as it did at the turn of the 20th century, with fifteen rooms of original family furnishings, personal effects and decorative arts, including antique rugs, original textiles, silver, cut glass, and antique porcelain. Built in 1894, The W.H. Stark House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark by the Texas Historical Commission.

The Stark Museum of Art houses one of the nation’s most significant collections of American Western art and is located in the heart of downtown historic Orange, Texas. Paintings, sculpture, prints and rare books interpret the West from 19th century frontier artists to the 20th century artistic colonies in New Mexico and focus on the stunning land, dramatic people and diverse wildlife of the American West.

The Museum features artists such as Frederic Remington, John James Audubon, John Mix Stanley, and Charles Marion Russell. Also featured is a significant collection of American Indian objects, including baskets, pottery, clothing and jewelry.

Throughout history, the term “Shangri La” has represented a place of beauty, peace and enlightenment. In Orange, Texas, a modern Shangri La has been recreated with the best of nature, gardens and art. Visitors will enjoy more than 300 plant species, walks along nature trails, an excursion down Adams Bayou on an “Outpost Tour” and see thousands of nesting birds on Ruby Lake or view them from a state-of-the-art bird blind. The Children’s Garden is a delight for all ages, and the Cypress Gate at the Pond of the Blue Moon is a welcome retreat from the outside world. The combination of gardens and nature presents a serene oasis for retreat and renewal as well as an opportunity to explore, discover and learn.

he Lutcher Theater is a 1450-seat, world class performing arts facility and the prominent presenter of Broadway, national and international tours, award-winning stars, renowned dance and acclaimed children’s performances for southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.
Lutcher Incredible Kids Events is one of the largest performing arts series of national and international touring companies for children in a four-state area comprising Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

These venues, programs and activities provide the community and region with rich resources and opportunities for study and enjoyment of the arts, history and nature.