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Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) is the local nonprofit arts and culture agency that enhances the city’s quality of life through advancing and investing in the arts and diverse cultural programming. The work of HAA encourages Houston’s development and shapes its global reputation by fostering tourism and supporting and promoting the city’s creative economy.

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Creating public spaces for civic and cultural use requires artists, designers, architects, and the community to collaborate. By actively fostering these partnerships, both public and private, HAA’s Civic Art + Design program initiates, manages, and maintains public artworks throughout Houston. It serves a vital role as catalyst for change that generates a culturally relevant and rich environment for residents and visitors alike.

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Houston Arts Alliance’s Folklife + Civic Engagement program identifies and honors the artistic and cultural traditions of the city’s tremendously diverse and various communities and works to address the needs of all residents through engagement, citizen-driven initiatives, and equitable community outcomes. The Folklife program has been in existence since 2010. The addition of Civic Engagement to its portfolio was enacted through an HAA bylaws change in 2016.

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Grants are a fundamental means of promoting excellence in the creative sector. On behalf of the City of Houston, HAA awards approximately 225 grants annually to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations and individual artists through a competitive grant allocation process.

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As the designated, nonprofit local arts and culture agency, Houston Arts Alliance provides a public forum for arts and culture issues that our relevant to our community. Throughout the year, Houston Arts Alliance hosts conversations and panel discussions that are free and open to the public. HAA also periodically convenes the arts and culture field for special opportunities important to the sector.

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Monday, July 31, 2017
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HAA AWARDS GEORGE R. BROWN CONVENTION CENTER INTERIOR COMMISSION HOUSTON ARTIST ED WILSON


March 9, 2015

HOUSTON, TX (March 9, 2015) – Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) announced that Houston artist Ed Wilson has been awarded the commission to create an interior artwork for the George R. Brown (GRB) Convention Center. The commission includes $830,000 to produce a large-scale work of art as part of the major renovation of the GRB.

“We are delighted to announce that Ed Wilson has been awarded this important commission,” said Jonathon Glus, President + CEO of Houston Arts Alliance. “Ed’s proposal is a 60-foot hanging sculpture, a mobile of stainless steel bird and cloud forms. The way the piece will capture both natural and dramatic lighting will let visitors know that they have entered a very special space as a welcome to the conferences and conventions that lie ahead.”

Glus added, “This artwork will be one of the most visible aspects of the renovation of the George R. Brown. Being lit behind a glass window, the sculpture will be seen throughout the convention district.”

In November, 2014, HAA temporarily halted the review process of artists’ proposals to reevaluate its review process and its own policies and procedures. Once the Executive Committee of HAA reendorsed its policies and procedures, HAA expedited the review process for the GRB interior artwork by inviting the seven semi-finalists from the initial process to re-submit their projects.

Marc Melcher, Chairman of the Board of Houston Arts Alliance, said “We took a few weeks to ensure that our policies and procedures are tight and that the process was followed for this important commission. In fact, they were, and with a re-endorsement by the executive committee, we were able to move swiftly to complete the process and deliver this proposal from Ed Wilson to Houston First. We are very pleased to offer this size of commission and level of prominence to one of Houston’s longtime artists, with deep roots in our community.” 

Gilbert Vicario said about Ed Wilson’s proposal: “It was great to see evidence of the artist's hand in a work of such monumental scale. Wilson's sensitive use of materials creates an elegant counterpoint to the modernist architecture of the Convention Center. Formally It has the perceptual qualities of a vertical landscape painting that one could associate with the Asian scroll painting tradition while firmly anchored to a strong regional quality that is very Houston. I felt that the work has an artistic integrity that is rare in public art commissions.”

This commission is the result of HAA’s standard process in commissioning new works, which includes:

  • An expert panel (comprised of artists, arts professionals and facility stakeholders) that reviews the qualifications of artists under consideration
  • A second meeting of the panel to review proposals from a short of list of artists originally selected by the panel for more in-depth consideration
  • Recommendations from the panel (taking into consideration aesthetics, appropriateness of the proposal to the site, technical considerations, and conservation) to the Civic Art Committee of HAA
  • A review by the Civic Art Committee of the panel’s recommendations, affirming that the artwork is appropriate for the location and verifying that all policies and procedures have been followed
  • HAA’s Executive Committee’s review and approval of the Civic Art Committee’s recommendation
  • Acceptance by the commissioning City department. In this case, acceptance of the proposed artwork was by Houston First. 

Upon accepting the commission, Ed Wilson said, “It’s time to get to work.”

For more information about Houston Arts Alliance, visit houstonartsalliance.com.

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