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George is looking good...
George is looking good...
If you were in Houston at Quilt Market or Quilt Festival last year, this is what you saw.
Construction. Lots of it.
As part of the city's preparations for Super Bowl 2017 in January, the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston has been getting some major renovations. The changes coming are also part of a plan to reshape this part of downtown Houston as it is home to the Toyota Center, Minute Maid Ballpark and other cultural attractions and landmarks.
This was the view of the convention center on October 24, 2015.
It was a bit of a mess - the street in front of the Convention Center wasn't exactly vehicle-friendly.
A lot has changed in twelve months and as we get ready for Fall International Quilt Market 2016, we asked our friends at Quilts, Inc., about the progress. This is Ruth Polanco, the Show Director.
That's a Texas-style hard hat. Ruth recently visited George R. to check out the improvements and this is what she found:
- There is a new Main Concourse connecting all of the building's Halls along the front of the convention center. This will benefit Quilt Market and Festival most as attendees will no longer have to line up outside to purchase tickets, stand outside during bad weather or use the 2nd floor to navigate between the many halls that make up the GRB. Attendees will be able to access all entrances to the show floor using the concourse.
- There is a new Grand Lobby in Hall C rising 10 stories and showcasing a sculpture titled "Soaring in the Clouds" by artist Ed Wilson.
- New restrooms in the Concourse for Hall A and Hall E. (This one speaks for itself, right?)
- A new transit center along Rusk Avenue for shuttle buses and almost 1,000 new parking spaces - a very welcome addition near the convention center.
This is what the GRB looked like on Tuesday morning - this image is from a time-elapsed camera mounted outside the GRB, probably at the Hilton Americas next door. If you're at or near the Hilton - check out the big, beautiful Starbucks in the lobby near the exit to the GRB that opened the last day of Quilt Market last year.
Other improvements won't be finished in time for Market or Festival but will be completed by next year's shows - 2017.
- New restaurants along the front of the convention center that will be open to the public.
- Six lanes of roadway running the length of five city blocks are being converted into Avenida Plaza, a 99,000 square foot, pedestrian-friendly, outdoor space new pedestrian plaza with fountains along the front of the GRB. The space will be available for parties and events, but mostly it will benefit attendees to the GRB's conventions by providing an improved pedestrian space in front of the building, as well as better access to Discovery Green Park across the street.
- A new hotel - the Marriott Marquis. A fun fact - it will include a Texas-shaped lazy river and infinity pool.
This is what it is supposed to look like by Fall International Quilt Market 2017.
The Moda Party? Maybe. If the weather is nice.
Despite some of the challenges facing the industry, Quilt Market and Quilt Festival remain seriously cool, vibrant events. While Quilt Market is a wholesale trade show, more companies exhibiting at Quilt Market are present at Festival. (Moda will be there!)
Where else would you get to see over 1,600 quilts from around the world? For those of us who make quilts, it is an amazing chance to see what's possible - what can be made with fabric, thread and a little bit of batting. For exhibitors and shop owners, it is inspirational and maybe even a reminder that all of this matters. We might not all make quilts that will win a ribbon in Houston but we're still part of it all - we're still quilters.
Occasionally wet quilters.
This was the first day of Market last year - yes, I had fun playing with the dates on the time-elapsed camera. (It's October in Houston... it rains. The first year I went to Quilt Market, there was 10" of rain on Day 3. Animals were traveling in pairs.)
So three weeks. Yes, that's right. Fall International Quilt Market starts three weeks from tomorrow - Saturday, October 29. (Deep breaths... deep breaths.)
What is it you'd like to see from Quilt Market? What excites you most - new fabric? New books and patterns? New tools?
Yeah... I know. Everything!
Because Market is coming and because that means new fabric, I have to clean off the shelves in my office a wee bit. So we're going to have a little "Mystery Giveaway".
- Deadline - Midnight, Sunday, October 9
- Three winners.
- Prize - each winner will receive two mini bundles - each bundle is a Layer Cake.
Leave a comment telling me your favorite Moda designer - and why they're your favorite.