If you’ve driven, biked, walked, or jogged up Heights Boulevard recently, you’ve probably noticed a new batch of sculptures. It’s TRUE NORTH 2020 and it might be TRUE NORTH’s most colorful installation yet. A collection of eight contemporary works by prominent artists from across the Lone Star State, these sculptures are evidence that the arts are indeed thriving in Houston.
If you haven’t visited TRUE NORTH 2020 yet, you should. Start on the south end of Heights Boulevard and head, of course, due north. Here’s what you’ll see:
First is LOCULUS, a giant metal sculpture by Houston artist Jack Massing. A metal wrench serves as a wind vane, with a suspended No. 1 Repair Air pencil. Geographic coordinates and the pencil’s tip point to the sculpture’s (and the viewer’s) exact location on earth, which happens to be in the 400 block of Heights Boulevard.
In the 600 block, you’ll find Dodecahedron by Vincent Fink, also from Houston. This 12-sided polyhedron has pentagonal faces of translucent acrylic glass with paintings of celestial imagery, specimens, and geometric orbital patterns. The sculpture also features solar-powered lighting so be sure to swing by at dusk, too.
Continue up to the 800 block of Heights and you’ll come upon a cloud formation, driving rain, and a vulnerable cityscape below. This is Jack Gron’s Hard Rain, the sculptor’s interpretation of Houston’s flooding issues. The aluminum and colorfully painted mild steel sculpture stands 10-feet tall.
In the 900 block is Houston artist Bill Davenport’s deliciously delightful Big Cabbage. Weighing in at 5,000 pounds, the cruciferous specimen has been sculpted with layer upon layer of polymer concrete and painted the perfect “cabbage green.”
Corpus Christi artist Leticia Bajuyo’s sculptural contribution to TRUE NORTH graces the 1200 block of Heights Boulevard. Forces of Nature: Blue Skies, Slinkys, and Hurricanes is constructed of steel, blue PEX tubing, and artificial grass. This work was inspired by diagrams of hurricane development, perfectly maintained lawns, and the ever-popular and iconic toy, the Slinky.
On History is a compelling nine-foot-tall abstract work by Houston’s Joseph Havel. Standing on a stack of books and seemingly grasping for the sky, this sculpture is fittingly installed in the 1300 block of the boulevard near The Heights Library. As Havel says, “In reaching forward it is important to acknowledge history.”
Continue North to the 1600 block and you’ll find a collaborative sculpture by Dallas artists Sherry Owens and Art Shirer. Created from discarded cuttings of the sinewy crape myrtle beautifully sculpted together with minimal hardware, Carbon Sink represents a depository for the greenhouse gases that affect our environment.
Conceived before the Austin artist’s untimely passing, Bob “Daddy-O” Wade’s colorful El Gallo Monument features pigs and piglets paying homage to a towering rooster. The sculpture was inspired by Wade’s childhood fascination with “roadside stuff” discovered during long trips on old Texas highways. Standing in the 1800 block of Heights Boulevard, El Gallo Monument was realized posthumously by Wade’s long-time friend and collaborator, Will Larson. This is Wade’s last work of art.
TRUE NORTH's mission is to organize an outdoor public exhibition on the esplanade of Heights Boulevard—representative of regional works of contemporary art—for the enjoyment of our community and visitors and to advance the understanding and appreciation of art.
All works are offered for sale by the artists who have agreed to donate 20 percent back to TRUE NORTH for future sculpture projects. TRUE NORTH’s nonprofit sponsor/partner is the Houston Heights Association. Follow True North at @truenorthheightsblvd on Instagram or like them on Facebook @TrueNorthHeightsBlvd. Or contact the organization at [email protected].