HOUSTON ARTIST TARA CONLEY CELEBRATES HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT’S COMMUNITY COMMITMENT
May 5, 2015
HOUSTON, TX (May 5, 2015) — On Tuesday, May 5, civic leaders and community members celebrated Houston artist Tara Conley’s permanent installation of 35 sculptures at the South Gessner Division Police Station. Commissioned by Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) in partnership with the City of Houston, this permanent installation is the newest addition to Houston’s art collection.
Houston Chief of Police Charles A. McClelland, Jr. and City Council Member Larry Green were both on hand to talk about the important work of the Houston Police Department and its community involvement.
“As the city’s local arts agency, Houston Arts Alliance is committed to creative placemaking across the city—with public art appearing in the most unexpected places,” stated HAA President + CEO Jonathon Glus. “We are very pleased with Tara’s installation in its aesthetic beauty as well as how it symbolically reflects the dedication of the officers housed at the station.”
“In learning about the patience, tolerance and vigilance police officers must exercise to do their job well, I was inspired to create sculptures that would transform their workspace in unexpected ways and encourage them in their day-to-day tasks,” explains artist Tara Conley.
The towering 18-foot stainless steel outdoor sculpture at the front entrance of the station is entitled We Are in the Business of Changing the World, SS. Its abstract, honeycomb design illustrates the relationship between police officers and the Houston community. Inside, the public lobby holds the second major work, We Are in the Business of Changing the World, SG, also of a honeycomb design, but composed of steel and colored glass, referencing the diverse communities within District 17.
In addition, You Have the Right to Remain Silent is a series of 33 sculptural, hand-written inspirational phrases cast in bronze that are installed in throughout the station. These phrases range from “Strength and Honor,” to “It’s We, Not They”, and “You Can’t Spill Milk in One Place,” but all are tied to HPD’s core philosophy: “Order through law; justice through mercy.”
“For over 15 years I’ve collected phrases I’ve heard people say aloud,” explains the artist. “I chose phrases from my collection that will shed light on the role of police within the community. Wise, reflective and witty, each phrase casts a shadow on the wall like the echo of a voice once heard and collectively they establish a work environment that is both introspective and challenging.”
Conley’s proposal was selected for this commission through a rigorous, peer panel review process. Funding for this civic art project was derived through the 1.75% civic art allocation from the eligible Capital Improvement Program (CIP)—in this case, the construction of the new South Gessner Division police station.