Local Students, Veteran Public Artist Collaborate on Houston’s Latest Public Art Installation
HOUSTON – As part of a public art initiative commissioned by the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee, Skanska today unveiled its “Tree of Life” mural at the corner of Rusk and Travis Streets, the future site of Skanska’s Capitol Tower development.
“Tree of Life” is part of a four-site mural project spearheaded by Houston City Council Member Amanda Edwards in collaboration with the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee and site partners like Skanska. The murals enliven the city with public art while providing local youth the unique experience of creating large-scale urban art projects.
“I initiated the youth and community art mural project because I believe that art can uplift and empower artists and the surrounding community,” said Edwards. “In a time where access to arts education is declining and the need for empowerment is increasing, I thought it would be excellent to afford our youth the opportunity to become artists in connection with highly visible public art murals across Houston. Connecting the youth to public art using highly visible locations, such as the Skanska site, and a platform like the Super Bowl demonstrates to the youth that they are only limited by their own imaginations.”
Skanska’s Capitol Tower structure provided the “canvas” for “Tree of Life,” a colorful mural created by accomplished public artist Reginald Adams in collaboration with 25 students from KIPP CONNECT Middle School in Sharpstown, TX.
“We jumped at the chance to commemorate the big game by giving back to the City of Houston with this local art initiative,” said Matt Damborsky, executive vice president for Skanska USA Commercial Development in Houston. “Skanska is proud to play a role in bringing this colorful community art project to life in the heart of downtown Houston. We are very supportive of educational opportunities for youth, which made this mural project even more exciting for us.”
Adams and art faculty from KIPP worked with students in December 2016 through a series of workshops where they created designs using the universal geometry found in nature and seen in ancient architecture and art. These elaborate geometric shapes and patterns serve as the colorful blossoms on the mural’s tree.
Adams, who has a 20-year history of creating public art projects, said that providing youth the opportunity to create art for such a high visible site is particularly rewarding. “It’s unique for students to play a part in something so monumental and, together, hopefully we have created something that adds a splash of color to Houston’s urban core,” he said. “I thank the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee, Council Member Edwards and the team at Skanska for the opportunity to bring more public art to Downtown Houston.”
Skanska has another special connection with Houston’s upcoming celebration as the proud builder of NRG Stadium, where this year’s national championship game will be played.
When construction commences, Skanska’s Capitol Tower is planned as a 35-story, 750,000-square foot office tower located on a prime block in Downtown Houston. Reflecting Skanska’s commitment to sustainability, Capitol Tower is the only office development in Houston to achieve LEEDv4 Platinum pre-certification. Skanska’s other development projects underway in Houston include the LEED Platinum West Memorial Place I and II campus in the heart of the Energy Corridor with easy access to Terry Hershey Park hike and bike trails. Currently under development is Spring Crossing, a 3-phase, Class-A development with 850,000 square feet of office space near the Woodlands, providing an excellent alternative for tenants that want to be in the emerging North Houston submarket.