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Houston Art:  Buffalo Bayou Park

Houston Art: Buffalo Bayou Park

β€œHouston owes its very existence to Buffalo Bayou.”
— Former Mayor Annise D. Parker, City of Houston

In 1836 the Allen brothers founded the city of Houston on the banks of the Buffalo Bayou.  Over the ensuing decades, a sprawling city based on industry grew up around it and dumped its waste into it.  Trying to recover from this history of neglect, Houston has taken steps to improve its waters.  Buffalo Bayou Partnership, a non-profit organization, founded in 1986, has a vision to revitalize the park surrounding the bayou.  To help conserve the natural beauty of the landscape while making it more accessible to the community, and the public art throughout the park is just one of the many ways they're doing it.

Open Channel Flow - Matthew Geller, 2009

Open Channel Flow - Matthew Geller, 2009

An outdoor shower made in part from recycled pipe and controlled by a stainless steel hand pump, Open Channel Flow, grants visitors a refreshing reprieve from the Houston heat.  Lights on top of the piece notify people from miles away when it's in use.

It Wasn't A Dream, It Was a Flood - John Runnels 2014

It Wasn't A Dream, It Was a Flood - John Runnels 2014

John Runnels' sculpture, a stainless steel canoe atop of two weathered steel trees, serves as an entrance to the Crosby Outfall section of the bayou.  Runnels, a Houston based artist, designed the piece as a tribute to the devastation and enjoyment the water has provided to many Houstonians.  This piece is made more poignant as the city recovers from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.  Similar sculptures by the artist are placed around the park to denote bayou pathways.

Monumental Moments - Anthony Thompson Schumate, 2015

Monumental Moments - Anthony Thompson Schumate, 2015

Set in different locations on the Kinder Footpath, Monumental Moments,  a group of one-word reflections - Emerge, Explore, Listen, Pause, Reflect and Observe - are meant to "create a meditative call to action" for park-goers as they walk along. [3]

Spindle - Henry Moore, 1979

Spindle - Henry Moore, 1979

Inspired by the moment in Michelangelo's painting on the Sistine Chapel ceiling when God reaches out to touch Adam's finger, Large Spindle is part of a series of scultptures orginally located at Hyde Park in London.

Tolerance - Jaume Plensa, 2011

Tolerance - Jaume Plensa, 2011

In Jaume Plensa's Tolerance, the seven continents are represented by seven figures seated on stone and comprised of stainless steel alphabets in 10 different languages.

Buffalo Bayou Park is open, but certain sections are closed because of ongoing cleanup and restoration due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey.  Visit Buffalo Bayou Partnership for a full list of artwork, area closures, hours and locations.

 

References:

  1. Public Art, Buffalo Bayou Partnership
  2. Portrait of Houston:  It Wasn't a Dream, It Was a Flood, CODA:  Collaboration of Design + Art
  3. Monumental Moments - Verbs, Acts Studios
  4. Large Spindle Piece, Henry Moore Foundation
  5. Open Channel Flow, Matthew Geller
 
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