Stark Cultural Venues encourages community to join educational efforts

Published 9:04 am Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Special to the Leader

The Stark Foundation has served for over 50 years with a mission to improve the quality of life in Orange and surrounding communities through education, health and human services, arts and culture, and community enhancement.  Through the operation of its venues – Stark Museum of Art, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, The W.H. Stark House and Frances Ann Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts – The Stark Foundation contributes historical, artistic and cultural resources to the area.

Memberships at Stark Cultural Venues are a great way for patrons to play an important role in supporting the educational programs that are offered at each of the Venues. All year long, the StarkMuseum of Art, The W.H. Stark House, and Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center provide one-of-a-kind educational programs to students and adults from Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana.

Stark Cultural Venues provides educational programs enjoyed by patrons of all ages. These programs are able to help fill the summer learning gap and offer opportunities to engage non-traditional learners through fun and interactive educational activities. The Stark Museum of Art offers multiple learning experiences through programs such as, SMA Playdates, Doodle Days, CREATE! Workshops and Summer Art Quest. In addition to these offerings, teacher workshops and school outreach programs are also provided throughout the year at the Stark Museum of Art.

In support of the Stark Foundation’s mission, The W.H. Stark House offers free guided tours for students in 7th – 12th grade. School tours are free for students, teachers, and required chaperones. All school tours at The W.H. Stark House and Shangri La Gardens are eligible for reimbursement for the costs of bus transportation. In addition to the standard group tour, lesson plans aligned with state and national standards offer educators the opportunity to teach these standards outside the boundaries of the normal classroom. Other educational programs of The W.H. Stark House include, Scout programs, National History Day in Texas and presentations for community groups or in-service training.

Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center also provides a plethora of educational programs in addition to the natural learning experience of strolling through the gardens and discovering the sights and sounds of the natural world in its own habitat. Shangri La Gardens’ education offerings include Wild Wednesdays family programs, Up Close With Nature, Saturday Adventure Series, Summer Reading Programs, EcoRangers Summer Camps and much more. Shangri La Gardens also provides outdoor science education programming for students throughout Orange County and surrounding regions involving an excursion along Adams Bayou, spying wildlife at the bird blind, or planting in the Children’s Garden. For more information about any of the educational programs listed above, visit

To express an appreciation and thank you for supporting the educational mission of Stark Cultural Venues, all members receive special benefits throughout the year, listed below.

  • Free admission for one year to The W.H. Stark House, and Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center.
  • Invitations to Members’ Only exhibition previews, events, and store sales.
  • Discounts on select classes, lectures, educational programs, and special events.
  • 10% discount at the Star and Crescent Moon Cafe and on retail purchases at Museum Store, Shangri La Garden Store and The W.H. Stark House.
  • Monthly e-mail newsletter including updates for exhibitions, events, classes, and news about the Stark Cultural Venues.
  • Free admission and/or additional benefits at nearly 300 gardens throughout North America and the Cayman Islands through the American Horticultural Society’s Reciprocal Admissions Program.

In addition to these ongoing benefits, between now and January 2, 2017, all new membership purchases will receive a 10 percent discount on any level of membership. There are three easy ways that patrons can join Stark Cultural Venues and become a member, including:

  • Contact Brandon Aldrich, Membership Coordinator at 221.6656
  • Join in person at The W.H. Stark House or Shangri La Gardens
  • Sign up online at org/membership and use coupon code during checkout to apply discount: newmembersave10

For more information about membership levels and benefits, visit,