Louise Hopkins Underwood
If you’re looking for culture and excitement around Lubbock, then you’ll find it at The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts (LHUCA). This community arts center attracts over 48,000 people a year who appreciate visual and performing arts, literature and film in the South Plains region of West Texas – and it bears Louise Hopkins Underwood’s name because of her vision, her faith and her perseverance.
Born in Houston in 1919, Mrs. Underwood bounced between Texas and the Northeast before marrying Harris Faulkner Underwood II and settling down after World War II in Lubbock, where they raised six children.
Mrs. Underwood has always been extremely active within her community, but the arts have been her love and have become her legacy. She was a founding member of the Texas Alliance for Education and the Arts, and the Lubbock Cultural Arts Commission. Her involvement and encouragement have benefited individual artists, as well as LHUCA, the Texas Tech University Museum and College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Lubbock and three Lubbock theatre groups.
In 1997, Mrs. Underwood – with cofounder Neal Hanslik – conceptualized a single place for area artists to facilitate their work through education, exhibition and performance. They gathered information about arts centers, cultivated support and raised funds to turn the idea into a reality.
The LHUCA campus, covering 34,000 square feet – once an abandoned fire department administration building, a Borden’s warehouse, and a former garage and storage building— now provides below-cost professional offices to nonprofit organizations, inexpensive space for classes, exhibitions and meetings, a clay studio and a state-of-the-art theatre. First Friday Art Trails display regional visual artists’ work, often drawing more than 2,000 visitors.
Mrs. Underwood’s work in the arts has earned her many accolades, including the “Dynamic Force” award from Lubbock’s Arts Alliance, and “Champion of the Arts” award from the Texas Alliance for Education and the Arts. But her greatest reward has been her namesake Center – thanks to her own indomitable spirit and passion, a dream come true.