By Christina Autry
With a February 14th kickoff ceremony, the Spring Branch Management District will be celebrating our first public art installations and honoring the artists who have brought these imaginative 3-D pieces to our neighborhood.
The ceremony will be held at 1:00 PM at the newly renovated shopping center by Braun Enterprises located at 8141 Long Point Road. Public officials, artists, business owners, and community members are all encouraged to attend this event.
These seven installations, dubbed “Art on Long Point,” have been placed along Long Point Road between Gessner and Wirt. They will be rotated with new pieces every nine months, a project that currently does not have an end date. All artwork will be available to the public for purchase from the contributing artists.
“These public displays provide much-needed support to artists by showcasing local talent and the truly unique and imaginative pieces they create,” says Gus Kopriva of Redbud Gallery. Artists of Redbud Gallery are the creatives behind these pieces. The gallery has been operating in the Houston Heights since 1999, displaying a wide variety of media as well as participating in projects both locally and internationally.
“We’re putting temporary sculptures on major boulevards around the city,” says Kopriva. In 2014-2017, Redbud Gallery facilitated the creation of the “Heights Blvd Sculpture Project,” art installations placed along Heights Blvd median and running trail. Projects such as these were the inspiration for the Long Point art installations.
The art pieces are fashioned in a contemporary, whimsical style. For example, Haden Park will feature an oversized, old-fashioned baby buggy morphed with an RV, created by Baylor Professor Robbie Barber. Randall Mosman produced the “Stilt House,” which is positioned at the busy intersection of Gessner and Long Point. A map of the artwork locations along with descriptions and artist information can be found at: SBMD.org/LPRart.
“I applaud the district for having the foresight and courage to do this. I’m convinced that public art uplifts and strengthens neighborhoods. It lifts spirits, the economy, and brings a smile to people’s faces. It makes the world a better place,” says Kopriva.
The shopping center hosting the kickoff event will feature an art piece of its own: a sculpture of a large metal dog, in a patchwork of colors and textures. “This is the first project I know of in Houston where art installations are placed in both public and private properties,” says Kopriva.
This 60,000 square foot shopping center is currently under construction, though businesses have started opening up within the complex. “We expect our facelift to the building to be complete in about 6 months, which includes upgrades to the front and back of the building, electrical and sprinklers, widening the sidewalks, among other improvements,” says director of construction Gordon Jones.
Houston businesses such as Soul Tribes Yoga, Slowpokes Coffee, and a new pizza restaurant by Kevin Floyd are among the tenants Braun has signed for this exciting new facility. Space is still available in the shopping center, though Jones says that discussions are underway with potential leasers. Feel free to check out the businesses who have already opened their doors during the art kickoff event.
“On behalf of the management district I want to thank Curator Gus Kopriva, with Redbud Gallery for bringing this wonderful project to us for the Spring Branch community,” says Patricia Maddox, Chairwoman of the Board of Spring Branch Management District.
“It is our hope that this art will present opportunities for everyone to engage in conversation and create even more excitement in this fantastic community known as Spring Branch,” says Maddox. “We are so privileged to have world renown artists represented in these pieces and it is our hope that this art will inspire young and old in our community.”
“People are excited about Spring Branch and want to be here,” says Jones. “We see the developing Spring Branch neighborhood as an exciting opportunity, and a good investment.” With an array of developments on all fronts within the Spring Branch District, the “Art on Long Point Road” will surely give residents and business owners one more reason to smile.