Artists wanted to depict Astrodome

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Since its opening in 1965, the Astrodome has been depicted in film, song, books and in thousands of photos over the last 50 years. Now Houston Arts and Media wants to see fans artistic interpretation of the iconic building.

Houston Arts and Media is awarding prizes to those artists who can best depict the Astrodome in the “Our Astrodome Art Contest.”

The stadium has played a crucial role in sports, entertainment, engineering and the history of Houston. Artists should capture the spirit of the building and its importance to the cultural fabric of this city. The organization wants to see what the Astrodome means to fans.

The contest is open to artists in three groups: Elementary school, middle school and open. First-place winners in each category will receive a $100 gift card from Texas Art Supply. Second and third-place winners will receive certificates.

There is no fee for entering the contest. Detailed rules can be found at http://ourastrodome.org/art-contest.html. Deadline for entries is Feb. 26.

OurAstrodome.org is a project of Houston Arts and Media in keeping with its work to preserve the stories of Houston and Texas, and no story is bigger for Houston and Harris County than the Astrodome. When the dome opened in 1965, it came in the middle of the brightest decade of the United States manned space program, a series of breathlessly-watched events that inspired people around the globe.

The Houston-based space program and the engineering marvel that is the Astrodome gave the city a permanent spot on the world stage for the very first time. The image that Houston put forth was one of innovation, strength and can-do energy. For the first time, outsiders thought of Texas as a place beyond giant cattle herds and oil-spattered roughnecks.

To be sure, those important things are a vital part of Texas’ economic past and future, but it was the Space Age vision of the Astrodome that told the world that Houston and Texas was also a place for tomorrow. In the years after its opening, the dome was the top tourist attraction in the state, and today the Alamo and the Astrodome remain the two most recognizable buildings Texas holds.

Saving and repurposing the Astrodome is not about preserving the memories of aging Houstonians, though that, too, is vitally important because every person is a product of what has come before them. Texans must be able to tangibly touch their past in order to maintain the uniqueness and find guidance for their path ahead.

Most importantly, however, repurposing the dome is about breathing new life and usefulness into a potentially billion-dollar asset that is paid for and owned by the citizens of Harris County.

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