Lindley Fish Amphitheater

c. 2012-2015

The Lindley Fish Amphitheater is one of cornerstones of Smither Park. Designed, fabricated and installed by Nashville-based artist Matt Gifford, utilizing found and donated objects such as galvanized steel, street signs, picture frames, car hoods, satellite dishes, and broken mirrors, Gifford gave life to the otherwise mundane structure. Look closely and you may notice some references to both Houston and Gifford's hometown of Ottowa, Kansas. 

Gifford imagined the area as the head of a giant angler fish coming up and at us with its mouth wide open. He was quoted in a Houston Chronicle article by Molly Glentzer as saying that he remembered seeing J. Seward Johnson’s “The Awakening”, a sculpture that depicts a giant who appears to be emerging from the ground and liked the impression it made of something larger looming but his depiction of an angler fish is friendly. The fish has corrugated metal for scales, mirrors filling its throat with picture frames outlining it while the interior of the mouth is recycled wood and street signs. If a person stands in the center of the amphitheater and speaks, the sound will project far down the park where it can be heard quite distinctly.

The Amphitheater is used to host concerts, dance performances, movie nights, and many other community activities. Venture out to Smither Park on any Saturday (weather permitting) and enjoy impromptu concerts inside the Lindley Fish Amphitheater on the beautifully decorated Smither Park piano.

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Matt Gifford

Photo by Molly Glentzer