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The Trail of Art in the Houston Heights

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"Harbinger" 2016 by Patrick Renner

"Harbinger" 2016 by Patrick Renner

The Trail of Art in Houston, Texas

People in Houston, Texas, get to see many spectacular sculptures installed as public art in numerous locations. From downtown to outlying areas, residents and visitors are exposed to both realistic and abstract pieces of public art. The sculptures come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.

Even people who never set foot inside of a museum can enjoy the commitment to the arts, which individuals, businesses, foundations, and even our municipalities help to support. Some of these public art pieces are displayed for a limited time. Such was the case with the Trail of Art on Heights Boulevard.

It is a beautiful wide boulevard and a great addition to the entire area of the well-established Houston Heights. Many residents use the tree-shaded paths to exercise and walk their pets. This article is about the third sculpture exhibit of its kind promoted by Redbud Gallery. The Trail of Art ran from March 15th to December 15th, 2016.

My husband and I have enjoyed both of the other temporary exhibits. One of them was titled True North, and the other was called True South. Many of these artists chosen to have their sculptures on exhibit are well-known locally and, in many cases, are lauded nationally and internationally as well.

Harbinger by Patrick Renner

Patrick Renner first became known to my husband and me as an artist because of the beautiful sculpture titled Funnel Tunnel. It was installed along Montrose Boulevard and was a wondrous construction using colored slats of wood much like those seen in the sculpture pictured above. The 180-foot-long Funnel Tunnel wound its way through the trees and was a huge crowd-pleaser.

When we first saw this sculpture on Heights Boulevard, we instantly recognized it as a Patrick Renner sculpture. Patrick is a fourth-generation Houstonian who got his start at Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He ultimately got his Master's Degree in art and lives and works here in Houston. The Sharpstown International School students of art are lucky to have him as a teacher. Patrick Renner often likes to incorporate found objects into his artwork.

“Yellow Tree” by Kelley Devine

“Yellow Tree” by Kelley Devine

Yellow Tree by Kelley Devine

Kelley Devine is one of the eight artists who also had a sculpture on display. It is appropriately titled Yellow Tree and was constructed in 2016.

This Houston artist has a Bachelor of Arts degree that she puts to good use. Her work has been shown in many cities all across America, from New York to Los Angeles.

Kelley not only makes art but has been a co-founder of several viable companies ranging from bottled water to industrial coatings and even a lifestyle magazine. She is obviously a high-energy, busy lady!

“Achieving New Heights” by Ariane Roesch

“Achieving New Heights” by Ariane Roesch

Achieving New Heights by Ariane Roesch

Another busy lady artist is Ariane Roesch. She has her Master's Degree in Fine Art and is versatile in using many different mediums. These range from photography to ink drawings and soft sculptures to light installations. Her sculpture along the Trail of Art is titled Achieving New Heights and was created in 2016.

This slightly twisted ladder form sculpture is constructed of metal and has chrome paint. It also has some solar lights, which keep it illuminated, particularly at night. The dimensions are 120 x 24 x 8 inches.

Ariane’s art has been shown nationally as well as internationally. One thing that I learned in doing some research about her is that she likes to play the ukulele. One of the projects she got to do partnering with the Houston Arts Alliance and the City of Houston is interesting. She was one of six artists that were chosen to paint one of six recycling trucks. I think that is great! Perhaps seeing the one she painted and others will encourage more people to recycle items that can be repurposed.

Ariane Roesch is the office manager and assistant director at the Gallery Sonja Roesch. Sonja Roesch is her mother, who originated the gallery in Germany. Since 1996, the gallery has been located in Houston. Sculptural artists like Mac Whitney have had their work shown there. These are just a few of the things that keep this local Houston artist busy.

Bashing Block by Alex Larsen

Alex Larsen has the sculpture titled Bashing Block created in 2016.

He has had many exhibitions all throughout Texas, as well as some in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Larsen has also had his works shown in Maryland. He graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Quite often, Alex Larsen has worked in collaboration with other artists in doing different art projects. One such pairing was with him taking the photographs and artist Alex Dijulio creating sculptures of found objects in urban settings. The resulting photos were meant to be shown in galleries and not viewed as sculptures where they were actually created.

Another pairing of purposes was working with Patrick Renner when they created a float for Houston’s 2015 Thanksgiving Day Parade. A bespeckled Ben Franklin appeared ready to feast upon a turkey dinner with utensils at hand. The funny thing was that a turkey was circling around his head on a roller coaster. Whoever said that art could not be fun!

What does his Bashing Block mean to you? Is it a pair of boxing gloves? Is it a couple of heads close together, whispering disparaging secrets to one another?

Flower Power by Keith Crane and Chris Silkwood

Flower Power is the name of this next piece created in 2016 by Keith Crane in collaboration with Chris Silkwood. It is located in the 1300 block of Heights Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77007.

Keith Crane and his wife live in the Houston Heights, and he is a metal artist. He has even designed furniture in his home using various types of metal.

Chris Silkwood has been a past President of the Houston Heights Association. He is the co-curator of this Trail of Art sculpture show along with Gus Kopriva, the owner of the Redbud Gallery. She is a glass mosaic artist whose work is in collections in the United States as well as abroad. Her studio and gallery are located at Winter Street Studios here in Houston.

Chris has often collaborated with other artists in the making of art, as can easily be viewed in this Flower Power sculpture. The combination of her colorful mosaic tiles in the petals of this flower sculpture accentuates the rest of the apparent flower sculpture with the twisted metal stem. Some of her work is figurative and can be easily recognized for what it represents, as in this case. Other times it can be abstract.

Stroll in the Park by Robbie Barber

Robbie Barber constructed this next sculpture in 2010, and it is titled Stroll in the Park. It reminds me of a baby carriage but also of a travel trailer as my parents pulled behind their station wagon when I was a child.

Robbie was influenced by memories of travels through the back roads and the countryside of our beautiful nation.

Sometimes the scenery that caught his eye would contain buildings or other items in disrepair. He also likes the old toys of bygone days. I have also seen similar things when traveling in rural America. Old rusted farm equipment abandoned in fields with weeds growing around it is not atypical.

Sometimes the only thing indicating that a home once stood in a location is a stone chimney remnant. In some cases, a derelict house has a sagging roof, and the boards of the home have not seen a paintbrush in decades. Apparently, Robbie Barber tries to recapture the old and worn patinas of age in his creations.

Matriarch by Kaneem Smith

Kaneem Smith is a well-known fiber artist and sculptor who lectures part-time at the University of Houston Downtown. Her exhibits have been shown in the United States and overseas.

Her choice of fibers is often simple burlap and cotton. The recycling of fabrics and repurposing them into forms of art is also of interest to her. She is the daughter of sculptor George Smith and shares a studio with him. Her voluminous Matriarch sculpture created in 2016 must be seen from all sides for maximum effect. On breezy days the multi-hued fabric would undoubtedly be billowing in the wind.

I am not sure what Kaneem had in mind when creating Matriarch. Is it supposed to be a colossal muumuu-type dress as found in Hawaii? Perhaps it is a child’s pretend home where they are playing under some old sheets? It also reminds me of an under-inflated hot air balloon. What do you think?

Humanity 3072 by David Graeve

David Graeve has his master’s degree in art and is an artist known to many people because of his various scaled balloon sculptures. Some are tiny, and others can be huge . . . even eight feet in diameter! They have been shown in many places in our country as well as internationally.

I first saw his balloon sculptures suspended from the old live oak trees in downtown Houston’s Discovery Green Park. They had all kinds of photographs of children’s faces on them.

David Graeve’s balloon sculptures often try and carry a social activist message of one sort or another. He grew up in Minnesota with parents who were very much into activism regarding social issues.

Now . . . truth be told . . . I missed seeing this tree when passing by in our car because I was looking for something more substantial and on the ground. So my husband and I went back and spotted this tree adorned with little shining disks. Upon close inspection, they seemed to have various faces etched into them. Are there 3,072 of them? I did not count. His title of Humanity 3072 would suggest that there might be that many on the tree.

Art-making is not about telling the truth but making the truth felt

— Christian Boltanski


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 15, 2020:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

Each of these sculptures is so different. Thanks for giving voice to your opinion and which one you would personally like to have.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 14, 2020:

Harbinger is wacky, the ladder I could definitely see kids or teens climbing on it, and the Humanity 3072 I would love to have myself!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 05, 2020:

Hi Heidi,

Yes, there are still some things that can be enjoyed during this pandemic if people are careful. I am glad you liked these.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 05, 2020:

Hi Liz,

There is a new sculpture exhibit on Heights Blvd. that I will be photographing sometime soon. It, like all the others, is on view for nine months. The annual event is so much fun! There is now another sculpture exhibit (another temporary one) on another street here in Houston. It is the first such one, and I want to also take photos of that.

As soon as I get the transfer of posts accomplished, we will venture out of the house to see things like this. Some people walk and stroll through Heights Blvd., but it is never crowded, and it would be easy to keep a distance between people.

Take care, and thanks for your loyal reading and commenting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 04, 2020:

Hi Bill,

Yes, Houston does celebrate the arts! I love it! Thanks for your visit and comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 04, 2020:

Hi Bill,

Glad you liked these sculptures and solved your mystery. Ha! Many famous people have come from Katy, Texas.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 04, 2020:

Hi Pamela,

The sculpture you chose is a colorful one. Thanks for your comment. Wishing for you a beautiful weekend also.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on April 04, 2020:

Good thing you can still enjoy these public art works in spite of the virus crisis! These are very cool. Thanks for sharing when we can't visit there in person. Be well!

Liz Westwood from UK on April 04, 2020:

This is a great showcase of sculptures in Houston. I really appreciate the biographical details you have added. I am amazed at how much easy access there is to sculptures in Houston.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on April 04, 2020:

What an interesting collection of artwork. Houston really does a great job with the arts. I wish they did something like this up in our area. Thanks for sharing this, Peggy, have a great day.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 04, 2020:

I love them all and I would love that stroll.

I solved the mystery...Clint Black was from Katy,Texas. For whatever reason, Katy stuck in my gray matter because of that. lol

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 04, 2020:

There are sure a large number of talented artist that create beutiful display for Houston residents.I liked all of them but I chose "Flower Power" for the numerous colors of that beautiful display.

Have a nice weekend, Peggy.