Exploring Public Art Initiatives in Harris County

Harris County is embracing public art initiatives such as larger-than-life murals and mini-murals as a way to honor heroes of social justice, promote tourism, and connect neighborhoods.

Exploring Public Art Initiatives in Harris County

Harris County, Texas is home to a variety of public art initiatives that are transforming the area and inspiring social and environmental change. From larger-than-life murals to mini-murals, the county is embracing art as a way to honor heroes of social justice, promote tourism, and connect neighborhoods. The Bigger Change Project is a collaboration between Central Houston, Inc., Street Art for Mankind, TotalEnergies, and Harris County District 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis. The project was funded in part by TotalEnergies and conceived by Ellis, who organized an art walk in downtown Houston that resulted in Big Art.

This initiative includes nine larger-than-real life works that will be presented in the city center this fall. Muralists from around the world, including three from Houston, painted a series of murals on nine downtown buildings with the goal of inspiring social and environmental change. In addition to larger murals, Harris County is also home to mini-murals. UP Art Studio has recruited artists to create more than 315 outdoor mini-murals at street level in Houston. These works of art often honor national and local heroes of social justice who have paved the way for social change.

For example, a minimural in Houston Heights depicting Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and three other women who served in court became a crossroads where her admirers left flowers and other memorials. Los Quileses have created mini-murals in other cities in Texas and are expanding to work with cities to develop and execute comprehensive public art plans. One such example is the Goce mural, which was painted by artist Sylvia Blanco on Little York Road in Westfield. The mural depicts the sun and the moon with an image of pink on the other side. The objective of the mural is to raise awareness about the importance of education for people from different backgrounds, both regionally and nationally. Houston is now home to more than 1,000 murals and art installations according to the Houston Wall Map.

After a minimural portrait of Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai was disfigured (and later cleaned) in the nearby Oak Forest neighborhood, a resident placed her home security camera in the minimural to prevent further acts of vandalism. Chief Jimoh Buraimoh, a Nigerian painter and artist, installed artwork as part of Commissioner Ellis's efforts to place public art throughout Harris County. After the mural received much acclaim, they plunged into the world of mini-murals and quickly gained approval from Houston Public Works to use utility cabinets as canvases. Stay up to date on what's happening in Harris County by signing up to receive information about upcoming events, news, data releases and more. Over the past decade, cities across the country have adopted this once-illegal art form to promote tourism, transform and connect neighborhoods, provide public spaces for artists, encourage civic pride and provoke conversations.

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