Spreading Knowledge – and 3D Illusions

Innovative augmented reality mural unveiled in North Houston District

September 21, 2021 – Houston, TX — With a smartphone in hand, anyone can experience the cool “augmented reality” magic of Houston’s first commissioned public art AR mural. 

Spreading Knowledge, a huge new mural by Houston artist Dual, brightens up the Harris County Aldine Branch Library located near I-45 North and West Road. The installation is the first in the North Houston District’s new public art program, being planned and produced by UP Art Studio, a local civic art firm. The District successfully applied for an AARP Community Challenge Grant to fund the project and create their AR vision; AARP works to make public places more welcoming and walkable for older Houstonians and people of all ages and abilities.

Celebration & Media Event: 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021 – 11 AM | 11331 Airline Dr, Houston, TX 77037

  • Explanation of mural and a demonstration of AR feature
  • Invited librarians and library representatives, AARP representatives
  • Group photo with donor appreciation plaque; installation of plaque
  • Interview, photo, and video opportunities with UP Art Studio, North Houston District, AARP and library representatives

The 9’ high by 40’ wide mural creatively interprets the word KNOWLEDGE – which resonates with the library’s mission.  Aldine Branch Library serves thousands of nearby residents including children and youths who attend Bussey Elementary School, Stovall Middle School and Aldine High School – all on the same block nearby.

“The mural art brightens the library and this whole block of Airline, and the augmented reality takes it to another level,” said Carl Smith, Aldine Branch Library Manager.

“Thanks to AARP and our partners, we are delighted to further enhance the Airline Corridor’s appeal,” said Greg Simpson, president of North Houston District. 

How the Augmented Reality works
Visitors scan a QR code by the mural with their smartphone. This allows them to launch the AR experience from their Facebook or Instagram account. While holding a smartphone facing the mural, at various angles, the visitor sees a vibrant sequence of inspirational phrases bursting with colors and moving elements — flying books, birds, butterflies, colored ribbons. 

The original mural imagery was created by Dual.  The augmented reality component was developed separately by Dream Syndicate, a Philadelphia firm that specializes in AR projects and has national AR mural experience.

About the new Public Art Program

North Houston District engaged UP Art Studio, a local civic art firm, to produce a “Public Art and Placemaking Opportunities Report” earlier this year. It lays out a road map for a new public art program designed to boost the area’s appeal; to make it attractive as a place to work, live, and do business; and to demonstrate investment that enhances residents’ sense of security and future promise.

Spreading Knowledge is the first project to implement our public art and placemaking plan for North Houston District, and we’re looking forward to doing many more with them,” said Elia Quiles, a principal of UP Art Studio. The District is seeking partners, co-funders, and additional grant opportunities to fund and collaboratively create an ongoing series of public art projects.

About the North Houston District            

North Houston District is a business improvement district that leverages public and private partnerships to improve the area. Its services include beautification, transportation/mobility, public safety, recreational development, marketing, strategic planning and development. Minutes from Bush IAH, the District’s 12-square-mile service area has 20 million square feet of office, retail and industrial properties. It is home to more than 3,800 businesses, 68,000 employees and 118,500 residents. The District was created in 1991 by the Texas Legislature. 

About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members, including more than 2.2 million in Texas, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability, and personal fulfillment.

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.