The cool thing about public art is that when people happen upon it, it can feel like the day gets a lift. Think driving down Allen Parkway and catching a glimpse of the giant Henry Moore sculpture in Buffalo Bayou Park or the windows in downtown that have been transformed into art pieces.
Art truly is all around in Houston, and a new project asks Houstonians to take a closer look at something...smaller.
Dotted through The Heights and Montrose are a series of Little Galleries, an art installation project designed to increase Houstonians' exposure to art created by Houston artists and build community engagement. The tiny treasures are an initiative by Artists for Artists, a nonprofit organization that provides emergency relief, wellness programming and mental health support for Houston artists.
Each project features a piece of art inside Little Galleries' signature teal blue box.
"We have five boxes currently in rotation, and have plans for 20," said Megan Olivia Ebel, program director at Artists for Artists and curator of the project, tells CultureMap. "This is such a great way to bring art into communities that may not feel comfortable in a gallery or museum setting."
Having the artworks around the city also means they're free for people to stop and look at it. There's one at Heights Boulevard and 11th Street, outside the Lululemon and the MendCenter, both on Heights Boulevard, and one outside Axelrad at 1517 Alabama St. Another is in Bellaire on private property.
"These are museum quality art pieces," says Ebel. "I want Houstonians to know the work being done by these incredible artists."
Houstonians should look for those additional little galleries to be placed around the city over the next six months. The program provides stipends for the artists and supports Artists for Artists' creative wellness program. As Ebel looks to the future, she envisions having Little Galleries boxes all over the country, and developing an app with a map showing all the installations.
In the meantime, Houstonians can wander the city and know these little boxes are part of a much bigger idea.