sculpture + heights blvd
Named for the compass bearing of Heights Boulevard, True North is a temporary outdoor public art installation on designated sites along the winding trails of that boulevard’s beautifully forested esplanade. Working in cooperation with the City of Houston Parks and Recreation and Public Works Departments and the Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, True North is organized by an all-volunteer team, along with the Houston Heights Association—its nonprofit sponsor and the long-time benefactor of that historic boulevard’s esplanade. The team chooses a range of eight sculptures for each project—based on media, theme, color and visibility—and sculptures remain in place for a nine-month permitted period from March to December.
True North took root in 2013 when Gus Kopriva, owner of Redbud Gallery and devoted arts advocate, met with Chris Silkwood, an artist and former HHA President, and other community leaders to discuss his vision to expand the placement of public art pieces—representative of works by distinguished Texas artists—on sites throughout the City and particularly along the esplanade of Heights Boulevard. Kopriva says, “Art adds an economic value to the area through inward investment and tourism and fosters civic pride, confidence and quality of life.”
The all-volunteer members behind the sculpture project today are Donna Bennett, Gus Kopriva, Dean Ruck, Chris Silkwood and Kelly Simmons.
photo Kolanowski Studio
Suguru Hiraide, "Maneki Cat Altar"
True North’s mission is to organize and install a temporary public sculpture exhibition on the esplanade of Heights Boulevard – representative of works by prominent and emerging Texas artists – to advance the accessibility, understanding and enjoyment of contemporary art for the community and its visitors.
Sculptural Works Are
Offered For Sale
by the artists, who have generously agreed to donate 20% of any sales back to True North for future sculpture projects.
photo Gary Griffin
David Graeve "Humanity" 2016
Heights Boulevard, Houston Heights
Large enough in scale to be seen from passing vehicles and bicycles, with more intimate views along the winding trails of the esplanade, True North sculptures are seen by hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors to the Houston Heights. Heights Boulevard’s esplanade is a designated City park which runs right through the heart of the Houston Heights. Patterned after Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, the boulevard’s 60-foot-wide esplanade was the site of Houston’s first electrified streetcar system, ferrying Houston Heights residents the “considerable distance” of four miles to the big city. Fast forward and thanks to the Houston Heights Association and extensive community activism and fundraising over the years, the esplanade is now home to show-stopping architectural gardens, pavilions, old-growth treescapes and one of the most popular foot trails in the City.