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Mayor’s Office Press Release

Ten New Art Commissions in the Works for Houston’s Airports

September 21, 2022 — HOUSTON – The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) is pleased to celebrate ongoing work which will bring ten new site-specific art commissions to both George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby Airports. The commissioned works, which will be added to the City’s Civic Art Collection, are sponsored by Houston Airports (HAS) on behalf of the City of Houston through MOCA’s Civic Art Program.

Artists submitted qualifications for consideration in the Summer of 2020. These opportunities, which prioritized economic support for artists and art organizations, were advanced to help meet the needs of artists, organizations, and small businesses heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Eligibility for the commission opportunity was extended beyond the Greater Houston Area to artists from or living in the state of Texas.

“At the height of the global pandemic, Houston considered multiple opportunities to support artists and artist teams within our creative economy,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Through their creative work, the artists we engaged for these commission opportunities can support even more small businesses as they fabricate and install the artwork. Local and international travelers can enjoy their work at Houston’s airports.”

The new commissions bring the City’s Civic Art Collection at Houston Airports to nearly 350 pieces, making it one of the largest public art programs in the aviation industry.

“These artworks are designed specifically to elevate the passenger experience at both Bush and Hobby airports,” said Mario Diaz, Director of Aviation for Houston Airports. “Having these talented Texas artists add color, beauty, and character to our terminals is a gift millions of travelers will enjoy year after year.”

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“Karankawa Sun Dream and the Truth Teller” by Cruz Ortiz.

A press conference announcing the artist selection was hosted at Bush Intercontinental Airport in December, and artists have been hard at work developing their artworks. The diverse range of accomplished artists and artist teams developing commissions includes:

  • Animalis Works (Dharmesh Patel), Austin, Texas
  • Colby DealHouston, Texas
  • Cruz OrtizSan Antonio, Texas
  • Input Output (Billy Baccam and Alex Ramos), Houston, Texas
  • Janavi Mahimtura FolmsbeeHouston, Texas
  • Melissa BorrellAustin, Texas
  • Peter HiteHouston, Texas
  • R&R&R (Ryan Takaba, Robert Diaz de Leon, and Ronny Eckels), San Antonio, Texas
  • William CanningsLubbock, Texas
  • Xavier SchipaniAustin, Texas

A panel of nationally recognized curators, local arts professionals, and community members were essential to the commissioning process for both of Houston’s award-winning airports.

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Installation of “Clouds” by William Cannings at Hobby Airport.

Thus far, two out of the ten commissions have been installed with the rest scheduled for installation by the end of October 2022. Both “Clouds” by artist William Cannings and “Karankawa Sun Dream and the Truth Teller” by artist Cruz Ortiz can now be seen by travelers departing from and arriving at Hobby Airport, the first airport in North America to earn a 5-star international rating.

Origin of Funding

Funds for the permanent works of public art at Houston Airports were allocated by a City of Houston ordinance which mandates that 1.75% of qualified and applicable Capital Improvement Project dollars be set aside for civic art. These funds are generated by the Houston Airport’s Enterprise Fund – a non-taxpayer, self-sustaining fund of the City. Under contract and in partnership with MOCA, Houston Arts Alliance administers these city-funded public opportunities to acquire and conserve the City of Houston’s public artworks.

About the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs

The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs guides the City’s cultural investments with policies and initiatives that expand access to arts and cultural programs in the community, attract visitors and leverage private investment. Learn more at www.houstontx.gov/culturalaffairs and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @HoustonMOCA.

About Houston Airports

Houston Airports is the City of Houston’s Department of Aviation. Comprised of George Bush Intercontinental Airport, IAH, William P. Hobby Airport, HOU, and Ellington Airport/Houston Spaceport, EFD, Houston Airports served 45 million passengers in 2021 and nearly 60 million in 2019. Houston Airports forms one of North America’s largest public airport systems and positions Houston as the international passenger and cargo gateway to the South-Central United States and as a primary gateway to Latin America. Houston’s Hobby Airport recently became the first 5-star airport in North America and Bush Airport maintained an exceptional 4-star rating for a fifth consecutive year.

About Houston Arts Alliance

Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) is a local arts and culture organization whose principal work is to implement the City of Houston’s vision, values, and goals for its arts grantmaking and civic art investments. HAA also executes privately funded special projects to meet the needs of the arts community, such as disaster preparation, research on the state of the arts in Houston, and temporary public art projects that energize neighborhoods. To learn more about HAA, visit www.houstonartsalliance.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @HoustonArtsAlliance.

For inquiries about this announcement or about the City of Houston’s Civic Art Program, please contact the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs: [email protected] or 832.393.1099.

Contact:

Mary Benton
Director of Communications
Office: 832.393.0830
Mobile: 713.208.6229
[email protected]

Brent Taylor
Public Information Officer/Deputy Press Secretary
Office: 832.393.0808
Mobile: 713.882.5090
[email protected]

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