New Civic Art Program comes to life in 5 Corners District

September 21, 2021 – Houston, TX — For decades, the Five Corners area in southwest Houston was in need of a boost. In 2015 the late great Council Member Larry Green pioneered a public art program, which is now expanding dynamically in a part of town that many might not think of first as a haven for public art.

Now, a robust civic art program is being integrated into other efforts to uplift the quality of this diverse community. The artwork is arising thanks to coordinated initiatives and funding by the area’s two tax increment reinvestment zones, endorsed by the Five Corners District.

Already in production, the colorful public artworks created by local Houston artists will begin to be installed on roadways and trails. The artworks were recommendations in two “Placemaking Opportunities Reports” delivered by UP Art Studio, which were commissioned by TIRZ 9 and TIRZ 25 over the past two years. The firm is also managing project delivery. (See project conceptual images and district map that follow.)

The two entities planning and funding the civic art program are:

South Post Oak Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone(TIRZ 9) 

Hiram Clarke/Ft Bend Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ 25)

The Five Corner Management District will provide maintenance services for these projects. 

“There’s a great quote by Edgar Degas, ‘Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.’ It is my hope that this collection of art will convey how much we care about our residents and the community we all live in. Civic art has a unique ability to enhance our moods, strengthen our culture and beautify our lives. You can never have enough it,” said Vice Mayor Pro-Tem, Martha Castex-Tatum.

“These new art installations are part of a holistic approach to improvement and beautification in the Five Corners area,” said Tandelyn Weaver, chairwoman for TIRZ 9. “They’re an exciting new way that we’re working to promote a positive sense of place for the people who live, work, and visit this area of Houston.” Coordinated improvements in the area include environmental design, infrastructure, transportation facilities, crime and public safety initiatives, and economic development. 

“Beautification, civic art, public space enhancement, and cultural amenities – these all serve as key placemaking tools. They help us improve the area economically, make it feel safer, and just generally improve local pride of place and quality of life,” said Theadore R. Andrews, chairman for TIRZ 25.

“We are thrilled that new art projects are beautifying the Five Corners Improvement District, one art installation at a time,” said Homer Clark, chairman for Five Corners.

Media Opportunity: Photography and video of projects in progress can be arranged starting Thursday, Sept. 17. Interviews with local artists working at the site also can be scheduled. Contact UP Art Studio for exact sites, and available times and dates. Projects underway include:

  • Bridge cap murals

Description: A bridge crossing Sims Bayou will be enhanced with colorful flowers and bright colors

Location: Bridge east of W. Orem @ Chimney Rock

Artist: Sylvia Blanco

Design by: Anat Ronen

  • Trailhead and columns murals 

Description: Vibrant flowers will uplift the trailheads and support columns at this section of the Sims Bayou Hike and Bike Trail

Location: S. Post Oak @ Sims Bayou trail

Artist: Erick Calvillo

Design by: Anat Ronen

  • Also currently underway are the Highway 90 Gateways managed by engineering firm Huitt-Zollars

Description: Among other gateway improvements, underpass columns are being painted in district colors.  At night, the columns will be illuminated, with colored lights on the underside of the highway.

Location: US Highway 90 / S Main @ Hiram Clarke, S Post Oak, Chimney Rock, Hillcroft, Fondren

UP Art Studio role: Design; Sub-consultant on painting and lighting

Other public art projects approved by the TIRZ boards, to be installed in the coming months, include:

  • Art Banners – artworks created on banners installed on streetlight poles at key sites
  • Sidewalk Poetry – Titled “Letters to HOU”, this initiative includes inspirational quotes and poems imprinted in new sidewalks. This project was inspired by the Public Art Saint Paul (PASP) Sidewalk Poetry Program originated by Marcus Young, former PASP City Artist.

Three new Mini Murals were also painted this summer, with at least 6 more coming soon. A public art tour map will also be available in the coming month.

Other projects undergoing a feasibility analysis include an Art Park – a new creative “people place” enlivened with painted columns, sculptures, and mural installations, as well as a large-scale water tower.

The public art projects will connect members of the community and foster people’s pride in their neighborhoods.

All of the public art projects are approved and facilitated by City of Houston, Public Works Department and Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. UP Art Studio is providing comprehensive professional services for planning and project delivery management. 

TIRZ 9 & TIRZ 25 operate under a tri-party agreement with the 5 Corners Management District. The District was created in 2007 to enhance the physical, social, and economic well-being of the community.

Interview Opportunities:

Please contact UP Art Studio to arrange interviews

  • UP Art Studio – Elia & Noah Quiles: Project stories about the artists, artworks, and challenges of implementation
  • Artists: Sylvia Blanco, Erick Calvillo
  • District K: Martha Castex-Tatum, Vice Mayor Pro Tem, Council Member
  • TIRZ 9: Tandelyn Weaver, Chairwoman of the Board
  • TIRZ 25: Theadore R. Andrews, Chairman of the Board
  • 5 Corners District: Homer Clark, Chairman

About UP Art Studio

UP Art Studio is a consulting firm whose mission is “Civic Pride through Civic Art.”  Principals Noah Quiles and Elia Quiles are a husband-and-wife team who curate, create, manage, and implement public art plans and projects. They are passionate about harnessing the power of art and placemaking—and the creativity of artists—to uplift people, neighborhoods, and underserved areas. The firm is currently creating and implementing Public Art Plans for major districts of Houston and for small and mid-size cities around Texas.

  1. Conceptual Rendering, bridge caps east of W. Orem at Chimney Rock.

Photos of the work in progress, artist Sylvia Blanco with Vice Mayor Pro Tem Martha Castex-Tatum 9/16/2021

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  • Conceptual Rendering, columns at S Post Oak @ Sims Bayou Hike & Bike Trail
  • Conceptual Rendering, trailheads at S Post Oak @ Sims Bayou Hike & Bike Trail
  • National examples of Sidewalk Poetry, a project type to be installed in TIRZ 9 & TIRZ 25
  • National examples of Art Banners, a project type to be installed in TIRZ 9 & TIRZ 25
  • Renderings for TIRZ 25 Gateways project
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