Friday, February 27, 2015

In with the Old! Antique & Art Show Comes to Cowtown this Week

In with the Old!
     Revised for 2015 from the original on Jan. 1, 2010

“He uses his old inkpot and his old brush, but he paints new things.”
                                    -- translated from a Japanese scroll hanging in my laundry room

It’s a lot easier to start something new than to re-make something old. That’s why there are so many new churches…so many new houses…new gizmos…new nations…new beginnings. This blog will tell the story of taking a well-loved decades-old antique show in Fort Worth, Texas and re-making it into a shining star for the future.

You have to be a pretty good antique show to throw open your doors for 52 years. The founding family of the show, Dolly and Rip Johnson and their daughter, “JJ” Frambes, nurtured this show as a small, prestigious, high-quality Americana show at Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, where Rip Johnson was the General Manager for many years.

From what I know of their feisty spirits, I think that the Johnson family would cheer on the changes that I have made to their show, along with the help of the unsinkable Cissy Thompson, Associate Show Director, and my family, my friends, the dealers, the show staff, the media and just about anyone else who would listen to me.

F. David Gibson offered in "Art Dept." 2015
The first change was to re-name the show to reflect the presence of the fabulous ART that was always the secret strength of the show. That first year we moved the show to a larger exhibit hall at Will Rogers, growing from 45 to 75 dealers, and welcomed antiques and art of all eras and styles, from Pilgrim Century to Mid-Century Modern. At that first show for me in 2010, there were art and antiques from France, England and Italy. There was American Colonial and Spanish Colonial. And Garden, Industrial, Retro, Textiles and Jewelry, as well the top-quality American primitives and western antiques for which the show had been loved all those years by a strong regional audience.    

Over the last six years, much has changed, but the things that have stayed the same are the quality and sense of adventure of both the exhibitors and the customers. To have a spunky, excited audience, you have to offer spunky, exciting exhibits. Mid-Century Modern and art are now the largest categories in the show, but right next to them you’ll find crusty and rusty and re-purposed and glitzy and glamour and authenticity and character of all styles and eras.

We put in the shoe leather and miles to seek our exhibitors from many places and from many levels of the antiques and art world. That means that the Fort Worth Show is uniquely created for DFW with a range of merchandise and merchants who are never together under one roof again. 

We have had annual themes from flowers to stars to re-purposing to "mixing it up." A few years ago we celebrated the 175th anniversary of Texas, everyone singing happy birthday to Texas across the show. We have featured special exhibits from a trunk that traveled on the Mayflower to a 1960s "Gold Nugget" Ford Mustang for the show's 50th golden anniversary to a visit from our friends at the incomparable Uncommon Objects in Austin, TX. Now we produce a fashion show with merchandise from the exhibitors, paraded down the aisles by Fort Worth super star models. 
Over the last years, we have hosted Benefit Booths for important and dedicated non-profit organizations in Fort Worth and Dallas. And we like Happy Hour Parties!

At 150 exhibitors in 2015, we see the birth of the new “Art Dept.” with art from early through contemporary artists. We're amping up the art. Thank you to the artists and dealers and gallery owners and the museum community and everyone who has helped chart this new direction. Thank you to my parents for raising children with art. With a little help from our friends and family, and with a lot of luck and pluck, we evolve.

Why Me?

I first exhibited at the show in 1998 as Hot Tamale Antiques. It was difficult to get into. JJ was tough. She vetted every dealer for authenticity and quality. I just barely made the cut. About 2004 I started writing press releases for JJ and, simply because JJ Frambes was so much fun to work with, I gradually became more and more involved with promoting the show. 

Since 1998 I have also served as the Staff Writer for the magnificent Marburger Farm Antique Show in Round Top, Texas. This January I wrote my 68th Marburger Farm press release, chronicling the cow pasture that became a blockbuster international antique show.

Before 1998 I was a Presbyterian pastor in New York City. While some ministers yearned to start shiny new churches, my passion was to re-develop old churches and to bring them into a new sense of mission and purpose, building on the best of their history and traditions and memories. I was lucky enough to serve two such churches over 19 years, the West-Park Presbyterian Church on the Upper West Side and the Jan Hus Presbyterian Church on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  I can tell you a thing or two about antique plumbing, ancient boilers and how to help an old community find new life and end up dancing in the aisles on Easter Sunday.

I first learned about antique show promotion by organizing benefit shows for the church in New York City, with the help of the Stella Show Management Company. The Stella team is, in my view, the best antique show promotion company in the world. Once again, I got lucky.

And now I find myself in the position of owning a 52 year old antique and art show in the town where I grew up. Or perhaps it owns me.

Why Antiques?

On this winter day, there are wars and the threats of terror, climate, disease, and the parking fee at Will Rogers Memorial Center. On top of all that, there are ads in every direction that scream “out with the old and buy something new, new, new.” Yet still, I got lucky.

Why? Because I get to spend my energies in the community of those who buy, sell, live with and love antiques and all things vintage. We are those who would rather re-imagine and re-make the old than lust after the new. We are the lovers and re-purposers of the material culture of the past.

On the Christmas Eve of the year that our family bought the Antique & Art Show, we had a severe snowstorm in North Texas. In our old farmhouse on the prairie, the Orr-Harters were snowed-in. We could not get to the mall, even if we wanted to. We could not even go to my sister’s party where there was shrimp and tenderloin, which we definitely wanted to.

Still, we were lucky. Our home was warm and the snowy landscape cast a light into the house that helped me to see our old things in a new way. Except for our computers and TVs, the Orr-Harter family lives only with antiques. From any spot in the house, I can see our history in the stories of each chair. At last count, we have 53 chairs, indoors and out, and I can remember where each one came from. We use them all, except for the 2 Danish Modern ones in the store-room that came from Tom’s mother. We have saved those for our young architect son.

On Christmas Eve, I sat by the fireplace in the rocker that we bought at a roadside flea market in Maine and carried home in a Honda Civic. I saw the mission oak settee that the future architect son bought so proudly at an upstate New York auction for $25, theoretically for his tree house. Our 10 year old daughter sat in one of the old chairs around the kitchen table. Tom and I were sitting in those kitchen chairs when we decided to try to conceive this very child.   

In case you think we have only ample seating, on Christmas Eve I also studied each piece of vintage art on the walls--- the scene of trees and cows that hung over the sofa in my grandparents’ home, the metal Wonder Bread sign that I gave to mother and that she re-gifted to me, the big primitive painting of a cowboy playing a harmonica on his horse in starlight. I lugged it all over America before accepting that no one would buy it. So there it is in our kitchen; it reminds me of my still-harmonica-playing father. There is a hooked rug of an exuberant butterfly hanging on the living room wall and a seven foot tall bottle tree in the bedroom. With a collection of old cobalt blue Pepto-Bismol bottles, it is a memorial to a friend. When I wake up each morning, I see a 1950s poster of a cowboy on a bronc and a painting of trees that once read faintly on the back, “painted in exchange for lunch and overalls.” Under the painting stands a table made by Tom's ancestor in the 1830s. These things inspire me to seize the day.

I got lucky. I have the love of a sweet and healthy family and of friends and dogs who put up with me.  And it all happens in a home where antiques are used every day, for both utility and for memory, for practicality and for comfort and joy. What I realized about antiques that Christmas Eve is that the comfort and joy that they bring us are in fact very practical and necessary. We have created a new nest out of old things. This comforts us. Bring on the snow. 

That’s more than enough about me.  
Let us hear how you love and live with antiques and why.

Whatever your style, you will find it at the
52nd Annual Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art
This week, Thursday, Friday & Saturday March 5,6,7, 2015
150 Top Exhibitors of Art & Antiques of all Styles, Eras and Prices.

Bring a couple of friends and you can even get a parking refund!
Details at

Enjoy these Fort Worth Show Photos by Doug Stanley

 See you soon at the Fort Worth Show
Thurs, Fri, Sat  March 5,6,7, 2015


The Amon Carter Museum Comes to the Fort Worth Show - Benefit Booth 2

Amon Carter Museum of American Art:
Art for the Purpose of Creating Community  

Stacy Fuller, Carter Museum
“We are using an art museum to build community between generations and between different audiences,” said Stacy Fuller, Director of Community Engagement at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Director of Community Engagement? Isn’t that an amazing title? Isn’t that an amazing mission for an institution founded in Fort Worth in 1961 as a permanently free museum for the public to enjoy and appreciate American art?

The Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art welcomes the Amon Carter Museum as one of our two Benefit Booths at the March 5,6,7, 2015 Show---which will soon be here. The other Benefit Booth is for The Art Station.

Things to know about the Amon Carter Museum, the shining star of Fort Worth:

---The Amon Carter Museum provides free admission year round, as well as free admission for all special exhibits and for all community programs. During the current construction, the museum is open free full time—use the Lancaster Ave. entrance.

---Community programs at the Carter range from school tours for children to docent visits to share art with Senior Citizen Centers all across Fort Worth and more. 

The “Sharing the Past through Art” program reaches out to citizens with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers to use art in order to spur memory and connectedness. Stacy told me about the day that Alzheimer’s participants were visiting the museum and looking at artwork when an elementary school tour came through the same gallery. An Alzheimer’s patient who had not used words in years suddenly greeted the school kids warmly and asked if they were enjoying the art. “The Sharing the Past program,” Stacy goes on, “uses art as a starting point to help people remember and talk about their pasts. It might be a painting of a cat or a dog, and it may take several months, but the art helps people connect with their memories and with each other.”

To find out more about “Sharing the Past through Art” and all the other free community programs sponsored by the Amon Carter Museum, contact
or see   Some Community Programs are on a short break and will re-start at the conclusion of the spring construction project.

In the meantime, the museum is coming to the
Fort Worth Show! 
Amon Carter Gift Shop
You can meet the museum staff and volunteers in person at their Benefit Booth at the Fort Worth Show March 5,6,7, 2015. The Museum Gift Store has dug to the back of the storage room to bring out posters, books, gifts, notecards and more for good deals in their Fort Worth Show booth. In addition, you’ll have first and only dibs on vintage furniture decoupaged with posters of art from the museum’s wide collection of American art. There will be a “Georgia O’Keeffe dining table” as well as other smaller examples of “art furniture.” All booth proceeds benefit the Amon Carter Museum.

To emphasize the free admission and free programs of the Amon Carter, some art posters will be free to visitors at the Fort Worth Show, while supplies last.  

Another thing to know about the Amon Carter Museum:
The art is broad!

Amon Carter himself started with what is arguably the world’s best collection of Remingtons and Russells. But since the 1960s the museum’s collection grew broadly to include American photography, modernism, 19th c. American masterpieces, “Outsider Art” and many other American forms. Today the collection includes over 200,000 objects and a research library with 140,000 items. 
"Tactile" of William Harnett's
 Attention, Company! allows
 visitors with eyesight
 impairment to feel the art.

My current favorite painting in the Amon Carter is Winslow Homer’s “Crossing the Pasture” from 1872. The caption on the wall near the painting talks about the two brothers walking across a pasture as speaking to the re-bonding and healing of America after the Civil War.   

Perhaps like most people in Fort Worth, I have a personal memory of the Amon Carter Museum. When I was in High School (PHS), our English teacher sent us to the museum to look at an exhibit of Eliot Porter’s nature photography. “Look at it until it speaks to you.” I did and it did.

Later that year, on the week of High School graduation in the wee hours, my friends and I gathered on the front steps of the Amon Carter, a perch designed by architect Philip Johnson, to look over the museum’s sculptural mesquite tree and beyond to the sun coming up over Fort Worth.  

Museum Hours: Tues-Sat. 10a-5p   Sun. noon-5p 
Admission: Free!
3501 Camp Bowie Blvd—Use Lancaster Ave. entrance through late spring 2015.
The Amon Carter Museum is Barrier-Free.  

Special Exhibits:
May 23-Aug. 23, 2015 a visit from Samuel F.B Morse’s painting “Gallery of the Louvre”
June 6, 2015-June 5, 2016 Texas Folk Art, including Outsider Art
July 7-Sept. 13, 2015 Indigenous Beauty: Masterworks of American Indian Art from the Diker Collection  

Monday, February 23, 2015

Fort Worth Show - Come with a Friend

On this iced-in day for DFW, enjoy this about the Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art March 5,6,7, 2015

Tip: Come with a friend.

In selling at antique shows for 25 years, I have done a lot of people watching. I see pairs of people who attend antiques shows together. It may be a couple. It may be sisters. It may be old friends. It may be a date. It may be an interior designer with a special client. It may be best friends. It may be an “antiquing friend.”

Sometimes I see mother-daughter teams shopping together and frequently I see mother and daughter-in-laws. One Thanksgiving weekend, far from my Fort Worth family, I went to an antique show in a Maryland farmer’s field with my mother-in-law Ginny. She bought a necklace with a pendant made out of a vintage silver fork. She loved oddball things like that. Today I cherish that memory of being with her on that beautiful day in that farmer’s field and one of her granddaughters cherishes that funny necklace.


More and more, I see multiple generations at shows---a grandmother and granddaughter, an aunt and a niece. I have realized that those who come to a show in pairs have a different show experience—and it meets different needs---than for those who come with a larger group or who crave to come alone. More on those two shopping styles later.

Two is small enough to stay together, small enough to come in one vehicle and even small enough to have less competition for the same antique that both may covet. It’s a second opinion. It’s also a relationship-nurturing scale. Two can experience their time together as valuable to them. They not only invest in antiques. They invest in time together.
I think of Beverly and Sarah, a mother-daughter team who simply would not go to a show without each other. This is part of what they do together. They each have their own households and their own styles, but they spend time together at antique shows. Sometimes they spur each other on toward a purchase and sometimes they hold each back. They value one another’s opinion. They value one another.

I think of former co-workers Kenneth and Caroline. They love to shop together. They each listen to what the other would like to have. While one is not looking, they each will whisper, “Hold that, I’ll get it for their Christmas present.” Many presents later, this is a strong friendship. They enjoy the company of beautiful things together. They would have it no other way.

I think of Aimee and Dudley, a young couple with children. They leave the children with a sitter and meander through antique shows to experience an environment together that inspires them to go home and nurture their nest. They shop for antiques and vintage items for their children. The children are in their minds, but this is their time together to gain perspective on their lives. They are not at work, not at the computer, not watching TV. They are moving through an extraordinarily beautiful space together, gaining inspiration for enhancing their own home. I envy them. My husband would rather nap in the car!
I think of mother-daughter Marty and Laura. They live in different cities. They meet at antique shows. The mother buys jewelry—she already has a full house. With the mother’s encouragement, the daughter carefully selects something wonderful that she plans to carry from home to home throughout her life. Someday, when she needs it most, she will look at an antique in her home and it will bring her mother’s presence to her.

Two is a strong number. Two is fun. Two goes a long way.

Who would you like to spend a delightful day with? Call them. Forward this blog to them. Meet them at the 52nd Annual Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, March 5,6,7, 2015.

Find a Show Discount Coupon at

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fort Worth Show Art Dept. Full and Overflowing!

Circular Reasoning, F. David Gibson
Our new "Art Dept." for the March 5,6,7, 2015 Fort Worth Show has sold out with 20 new gallery booths of antique and contemporary art and artists, plus an overflow of over a dozen additional art booths spread across the show. Special thanks to Ann Williams for working on gallery booth outreach. 

Here's the lineup:
Artists Offering their own Work:
1. Ronald Watson, Fort Worth

2. Philip Bechtel, MD, Fort Worth

3. Maureen Brouillette, Dallas

4. Susan Fuquay, Arlington

5. F. David Gibson, Fort Worth

6. Mary Gregory Studio, Clyde, TX

7. Jodie King, Houston

8. Bliss & Whimsy, Heber Springs, AR

9. Jo Hyman, Dripping Springs, TX

10. David Farrell, AIA, Dallas

11. Brad Boyett, Austin TX  

Galleries and Art Exhibitors:

12. Michelle Billette Design, New York   Works on paper by Jacob Semiatin 1960s-70s

13. Carter Bowden, Fort Worth   Fort Worth Circle Artists and Potter Dick Lincoln

14. Weiler House Fine Art, Fort Worth   Antique & Contemporary

15. Atrium Gallery, UNTHSC, Fort Worth   Contemporary

16. Adobe Western Art Gallery, Fort Worth    Early and Contemporary Western

17. Rainone Galleries, Arlington  Early Texas

18. Uncommon Objects, Austin   Antique Art and maybe even just possibly Assemblage Works by Steve Wiman

19. Jeff Huddleston  Modern, Folk Art, Texas Art

20. Alan Barnes Fine Art, Dallas   19th-20th c.  

Other Galleries with Antique, Vintage and Contemporary Art Across the Show:

Kelleher Fine Art, San Francisco   European paintings 18th-20th c. 
Stephen Watson, Fayetteville, TX   Large Format Abstracts
Bolinsky Fine Art, High Point, NC   Russian 20th c. art and religious statuary
Andrew Church, Texas   Early Texas and Modernism

Bertha Harris, Shreveport, LA   Southern Folk Art
William E. Johnson Fine Art, Dallas   Old Masters
Echo Antiques & Art, Johnson City   Contemporary Assemblage Art and Sculpture 
Lee Casbeer Fine Art, Johnson City   Contemporary Texas Art
A. Smith Gallery, Johnson City    Contemporary photography
Gordon Harrison Fine Art, El Dorado, KS  Works on Paper and Oils by Graham Harmon, TX 1940s-70s
Adele Kerr & Co., New Braunfels, TX  Mid-Century abstracts and prints
TexFun Collectibles, Springtown, TX   Early photography
Olson Fine Art & Antiques, Arauda, CO    Mid-Century abstracts and landscapes

Put it on your calendar-- March 5,6,7---and tell a friend. See you at the show!
Ronnie Weeks, Assemblage,
 Echo Antiques & Art, Johnson City, TX

Graham Harmon, oil 1970s, Harrison Fine Art, El Dorado, KS

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Benefit Booth 1: The Art Station - Healing through Art

"Everyone Needs Art." These are the words of therapist Jane Avila who, with her family, has been quietly working in a 1920s Fire Station for ten years to help clients cope with serious life challenges. Jane and a team of five therapists meet with over 75 clients per week at The Art Station, using art as a tool for communication and self-awareness. 

These are very special clients. They have cancer or other diseases. They are abuse survivors. They are suicide survivors. They are seniors or teens or children who have difficulty talking about a crisis or a behavioral problem in their lives. They struggle with depression or addiction. They are veterans who, as Jane puts it, "are so guarded that they cannot use words to describe their needs." 

When talk alone is not enough, art therapy helps human beings heal. "Our focus is not on the end result of a piece of art," says Peggy Marshall, below right, CEO of the Art Station. "We emphasize the process of working with art alongside an art therapist. The art creates a visual language for people to deal with a crisis in their lives. It opens up the talking and helps to create a vision for the future." Tools are simple: paper, glue, paint, brushes, re-cycled string, fabric, cartons and boxes. The issues are complex.

The Art Station works with clients regardless of ability to pay for services. "We have a sliding scale and no one is turned away for lack of money," says Avila. That's where Peggy Marshall and a growing base of community supporters come in: to raise awareness and financial support for the expanding work of The Art Station.  

The Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art welcomes The Art Station as one of our two Benefit Booths at the March 5,6,7, 2015 show. Their booth will be the one with all the color! The booth will display vintage doors painted with art to celebrate the Art Station's tenth anniversary theme: Opening Doors. The therapists at the Art Station have created sets of artful note cards for sale, as well as several of the giant folk art paintbrushes that you can see in the corner of this individual therapy room. Get there early to buy one of those!

On each of the three days of the show, The Art Station will invite show goers to "put their mark" on a spontaneous painting that will be created right there at the show and raffled off that day. A selection of antique & art donations from the community will round out offerings in the booth.
All booth proceeds will benefit The Art Station. 

In this former fire truck bay, above, now a beautiful, light-filled studio offers a place for group art therapy. Below left, the top shelf displays "art bras" by breast cancer clients. 
The broken and re-glued pot, below right, represents the process of one person's grief.  

Located on Fort Worth's South Side near the Medical Center, The Art Station opens its doors six days a week, year-in, year-out. Help those doors stay open by supporting this Fort Worth blessing, The Art Station --using the power of art to heal. 

For information about the Art Station's first Benefit Golf Tournament on May 11, 2015 and their "Public Figures/Private Artists" annual benefit on Oct. 22, 2015, see or meet them at the Fort Worth Show of Antiques & Art, which will soon be here! 

Stay tuned for news on our second 2015 Benefit Booth,
 the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.     


We heard you!
The Fort Worth Show is blasting into 2015 with a 3 Day Show & it's Weeks away:
Thurs, Fri and Sat March 5,6,7 so that all you Spring Breakers
can shop on Thursday and Friday, open late both days.

(You might need to come Saturday too.)

The Fort Worth Show features 150 top exhibitors from across the nation with antiques, art and vintage furniture, fashion, jewelry, plus great design in lighting, rugs, textiles, re-purposed industrial, folk art, boots, accessories, silver, tribal and more. We'll have farmhouse to penthouse style, low, high and in between --- all eras, early to mid-century modern. Founded in 1963 and known throughout the US, the Fort Worth Show is the original antique & art show in the American West, only three days per year, only in Fort Worth!

Put it on your Schedule & Tell a Friend! March 5,6,7, 2015    

Show Hours, Happy Hour Party, Fashion Show
and more info at 
"The Fort Worth Show is my favorite event all year in Fort Worth."  ---- Local Realtor