Artistic Inspiration

Art in unexpected places: 35 new sculptures add artistic style to new southwest Houston police station

New sculptures add artistic style to southwest Houston police station

Tara Conley piece HAA at HPD station
Local artist Tara Conley created 35 sculptural works that have been installed in the South Gessner Division Police Station in southwest Houston. Photo by Marc Newsome
Tara Conley piece HAA at HPD station
This piece is just one of the eponymous "You Have the Right to Remain Silent" series that contains 33 bronze-cast sculptures installed throughout the station. Photo by Marc Newsome
HAA piece by Tara Conley at South Gessner HPD station
Conley's 18-foot-tall stainless steel sculpture, entitled "We Are in the Business of Changing the World, SS," lies just outside the front entrance of the station. Photo by Marc Newsome
Tara Conley piece HAA at HPD station
Another piece from Conley's "You Have the Right to Remain Silent" series of 33 sculptures. Photo by Marc Newsome
Tara Conley piece HAA at HPD station
Tara Conley piece HAA at HPD station
HAA piece by Tara Conley at South Gessner HPD station
Tara Conley piece HAA at HPD station

Houston Police Department station has gotten an artful look with a permanent installation of 35 new sculptures by Houston artist Tara Conley, commissioned by the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) in partnership with the City of Houston.

"In learning about the patience, tolerance and vigilance police officers must exercise to do their job well, I was inspired to create sculptures that would transform their workspace in unexpected ways and encourage them in their day-to-day tasks," Conley said in a statement.

"In learning about the patience, tolerance and vigilance police officers must exercise to do their job well, I was inspired to create sculptures that would transform their workspace in unexpected ways," Conley said.

An 18-foot-tall stainless steel sculpture, located outside the front entrance of the South Gessner Division Police Station, titled "We Are in the Business of Changing the World, SS," features an abstract honeycomb design illustrates the relationship between police officers and the local community.

Inside the public lobby another major work,  "We Are in the Business of Changing the World, SG," is also a honeycomb design but constructed of steel and colored glass, referring to the diverse communities that lie within District 17.

Conley's "You Have the Right to Remain Silent" series of 33 sculptural, hand-written inspirational phrases cast in bronze are also installed throughout the station. These phrases range from "Strength and Honor," to "It's We, Not They," and "If You Don't Like What You See, Change."

"For over 15 years, I've collected phrases I've heard people say aloud," Conley said. "I chose phrases from my collection that will shed light on the role of police within the community. Wise, reflective and witty, each phrase casts a shadow on the wall like the echo of a voice once heard and collectively they establish a work environment that is both introspective and challenging."

The artwork is on view at the station located at 8605 Westplace Drive. 

"As the city's local arts agency, Houston Arts Alliance is committed to creative placemaking across the city — with public art appearing in the most unexpected places," HAA president and CEO Jonathon Glus said in a statement. "We are very pleased with Tara's installation in its aesthetic beauty as well as how it symbolically reflects the dedication of the officers housed at the station."

This is the fourth time art commissions have been featured at an HPD facility, including works at the Houston Mounted Police Station, the Southeast Police Station and the Houston Police Officer Memorial, according to the HAA. Funding for the civic arts projects come from a 1.75 percent allocation from hotel and motel taxes collected.