April 15, 2010
CONTACT: Molly Dannenmaier,
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Native Galvestonion Eugene Aubry Selected as Galveston Historical Foundation’s New Official Historic Homes Tour Artist
Galveston, TX Patrons of Galveston Historical Foundation’s 2010 Historic Homes Tour will see the houses not only through their own eyes but also through the eyes of an artist whose passion for this historic island city is almost unmatched.
For a press ready, downloadable version of this artwork, please double-click on the image. Archibald and Alice Campbell House, c. 1871, 1515 Broadway. A grand Italianate mansion never opened to the public before and still owned by Campbell family descendants.
Please double-click on the photo for a press-ready, downloadable version.
Native Galvestonion Eugene Aubry, Galveston Historical Foundation’s New Official Historic Homes Tour Artist.
Eugene Aubry grew up in a house at 17th Street and Avenue N ½ in Galveston. He and his three brothers played in Galveston’s historic homes and neighborhoods before they were considered historic. Aubry graduated in 1954 from the original Ball High School. He played guitar in local clubs to finance his education and get an architecture degree from the University of Houston. He has as intimate a knowledge of Galveston’s history as perhaps anyone in the nation.
Aubry’s passions are music, architecture and drawing.
For Historic Homes Tour patrons this year, Aubry has created a magnificent set of drawings and watercolors of all 10 houses on the tour. But Aubry, who visited each home early this year, says his hand-drawn works depict more than just the facades of the houses.
“I just sit there for sometimes as much as an hour,” Aubry said. “And it’s almost like the buildings talk to me. All of a sudden I can pick up on the personality of what my eye is seeing. And then, amazingly, my brain makes my hand put that on the paper.”
Computers and cameras cannot match the hand drawings, Aubry said.
“When you draw, your eyes see things that are transmitted through your brain to your hand, and you get emotion that you cannot get with a photograph,” Aubry said.
Aubry, who started his career in Houston, worked on many of the city’s greatest buildings as a partner in Morris Aubry Architects. He is widely known for designing the Wortham Theater Center. In 1986, he moved to Anna Maria Island in Florida and made his first major mark in the area by designing the Naples Philharmonic. The $23-million building helped jump-start development of Naples, which now is one of the wealthiest and most beautiful cities in Florida. He has designed libraries and other buildings across the country.
Aubry is a prolific artist who can draw a building in a few minutes or a few hours. He uses no straight-edges or other aids in creating remarkably detailed pictures. When he finished the black-and-white drawings of the homes tour houses, Aubry sat in the atrium of a building on Galveston’s historic Strand to do the water coloring of his house drawings.
Prints of Aubry’s drawings will be available during the homes tour. He will be available to sign the drawings on both Saturdays of the tour, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. , at 1403 Tremont (23rd Street). He will also be signing prints during a reception for the GHF special tour event, “First Impressions: A Stroll Through Galveston’s East End.” The reception is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Trube Castle, 17th and Sealy.
Aubry talks about Galveston’s architectural history in almost reverent tones.
“I think it’s very important that the people of this island--everybody from the rich to the poor to the kids- understand the heritage they have here,” Aubry said. “I know what it meant to me. I know where I came from and I know what my island is about. I know all the tragedies it’s been through.”
Galveston homes were built in many styles by people with many different tastes, Aubry said.
“People had fun building them,” he said.
“When you go into these houses, you’re going to experience what the real Galveston is,” Aubry said. “Galveston isn’t an air-conditioned home on the beach. If you go into these houses even on a hot day, they’re always cooler inside.
“Some people say you need to appreciate the ‘old days,’” Aubry said. “But they really were the ‘smart days’ in my mind.”
Aubry said he hopes people who go on this year’s Galveston Historic Homes Tour will take a deep breath along the way, relaxing and appreciating what went into creating historic Galveston.
“When you go into these houses, you can suddenly feel this serene kind of feeling and you kind of feel your patience come back,” Aubry said.
The old houses, even the smallest shotgun-style houses, were built with pride, precision and an eye for detail, he said.
“These houses are built in an intelligent way,” Aubry said.
The tour includes a house under restoration called the Green Revival Home, in which GHF is showcasing the best in historic preservation and new ‘green’ architecture and construction.
“This is a little one-story building that has 4-inch by 4-inch columns in every corner,” he said. “It has 4-inch by 6-inch beams that go into the corners and cross-brace the house like a truss. And on the sides of every window in the house is a 4-inch by 6-inch beam that goes from the bottom to the top plate.
“And everybody wonders how these buildings stand up!” he said. “All these buildings have very good bones and they’ll be here for a long, long time.
“The Galveston Historic Homes Tour will show people from whence they came,” he said.
The Green Revival House was severely damaged by Hurricane Ike. It was moved on Feb. 18 (2010) to its new location at 3101 Avenue Q, just four blocks from Galveston’s Seawall Boulevard.
The Historic Homes Tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekends of May 1, 2, 8 and 9.
For tickets and more information on all the special events being held in conjunction with this year’s Historic Homes Tour, go to www.galvestonhistory.org.