Photo: Marc Newsome
Troy Stanley, Urban-Over-Growth-Spring, 2014, Winston’s on Washington, 5111 Washington.
Funding Source: City of Houston General Services Department and the Parking Management Division
Nine unique Art Parking Meters, which are functional City of Houston parking meters transformed into sculptures by local artists, are installed along Washington Avenue and in the Warehouse District. This innovative placemaking project came about in response to Houstonians’ increasing demand for public parking in our city’s expanding districts. The Art Parking Meter project is a solution to Houston’s parking problems that adds a fun and unique twist to the city’s mechanical and solar-powered parking meters, furthers Civic Art + Design’s placemaking mission, and showcases artwork by local artists.
The Art Parking Meter project began with a Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) open call for local artists to propose creative ideas for parking meter sculptures that could withstand time, weather, and natural outdoor wear-and-tear. Artists were selected based upon the merits of their proposals by a panel of representatives from the City of Houston and local art professionals. In 2013, four Houston artists were selected to create six Art Parking Meters for the Warehouse District: David Medina, Devon Christopher Moore, Ketria Scott, and Anthony Thompson Shumate. In 2014, one Houston artist, Troy Stanley, was selected to create three Art Parking Meters for the Washington Corridor.
The 2013 and 2014 Art Parking Meters were proudly unveiled by Mayor Annise D. Parker, and are now among the newest additions to the City of Houston Art Collection.
David Medina, Untitled, 2013, 1300 Sterrett.
David Medina’s Untitled Art Parking Meter utilizes cast-bronze found and discarded objects collected at the installation site, inviting viewers to serendipitously engage with his sculpture.
My Art Parking Meter involves recreating the parking meter base out of cast bronze using found objects as the foundation. Using the process Robert Rauschenberg introduced for his Combines, I walked the installation area and collected discarded items. The discarded and found objects were taken back to my studio, where I integrated them into the design of the parking meter pole. My intention is for the parking meter to have a composed and harmonious look, but also keeping the whimsical nature and context that using found, discarded objects can imply. As a work of public art, it is my intention that the residents and visitors to the area will interact with the art via the serendipity of realizing what the parking meter is made of. The final piece has the effect of being almost like an artifact, the objects acting as symbols or signs of life in the area. - David Medina
About David Medina
David Medina is a Houston-based sculptor who works in a variety of media, from bronze to cast resin. Medina received his BFA from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and MFA in Sculpture from the University of Houston. After graduate school, Medina assisted the late public sculptor Luis Jimenez at his studio in Hondo, New Mexico, and now serves as studio assistant to Joseph Havel. In addition, Medina is the head instructor of foundry process classes at the prestigious Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Among local and regional exhibitions, Medina’s work was shown at the Williams Tower Gallery.
Devon Christopher Moore, Auto Totem, 2013, 1300 Nance.
Inspired by parking meter and auto industry history, Devon Christopher Moore adorned his Auto Totem Art Parking Meter with an assemblage of vintage auto parts to illustrate Houston history’s resilience.
The first ‘Park-O-Meter’ was erected in 1935. The auto industry that changed America continues to play a major role in Houston’s energy economics today. My Art Parking Meter adorns the existing head and base of a parking meter with an assemblage of vintage auto parts. I combine rust and chrome to convey a sense of surface history within a contemporary design. My focus is to create a modern art piece with a design sensitivity that steers away from the obvious Outsider Art aesthetic. My materials are not solely appropriate due to their initial intended purpose: they physically represent our history and deserve a new format to display their strength and resistance to time and nature’s elements. My meter literally illustrates the long term relationship between our home town and the auto industry. – Devon Christopher Moore
About Devon Christopher Moore
Devon Christopher Moore is a mixed media artist based in the Houston Heights and is the owner of DCM Art Services, which handles artwork for city collections and commercial galleries throughout the U.S. Moore’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Nicole Longnecker Gallery in Houston and Wagner Sousa Gallery in Galveston, among others.
TIME MACHINE #1
Ketria Scott, Time Machine #1, 2013, 1400 Nance.
Ketria Scott playfully transformed her Art Parking Meter into an acorn-dispensing gumball machine with her sculpture, Time Machine #1.
My style is contemporary and inspired by the Surrealist and Arte Povera movements. I am influenced by the artists Tony Cragg, Joe Havel, Joseph Cornell and Andy Goldsworthy. I like to combine organic forms and man-made devices/materials. Most of my pieces find their completion in bronze. I like to combine objects to create unexpected artifacts that point to an unexplainable occurrence – a strange piece of unknown history or a pointer to some sort of transformation that makes one wonder how and why it existed. Basically, it’s a starting point for the viewer’s story. My concept for the parking meter project is quite simple, thought-provoking and playful: a parking meter + gumball machine that dispenses acorns. – Ketria Scott
About Ketria Scott
Ketria Scott is a Houston-based sculptor and foundry specialist. She has been awarded a number of public art commissions, including a sculptural fountain in downtown Houston’s historic Market Square. Scott is co-owner of Ken King Foundry, known statewide for working with the region’s most well-known artists.
LIGHTLY METERED (WIND SWEPT METERS)
Anthony Thompson Shumate, Lightly Metered (Wind Swept Meters), 2013, three meters at 1200 Sterrett.
Anthony Thompson Shumate explores implied movement, engaging his viewers in visual folly, with this three-piece Art Parking Meter series Wind Swept Meters.
My concept is to activate the parking meter and make it something more by adding implied movement. I have removed the “pole” that holds the meter and replaced it with “tethers” or chains. This is intended to engage the viewer with a visual folly, making the meter a playful moment. Its composition recalls the movement of a balloon or other self-levitating object that needed to be tethered to the ground. The viewer may subconsciously interpret the chain as being moveable, which gives the meter a false sense of weightlessness. – Anthony Thompson Shumate
About Anthony Thompson Shumate
Anthony Thompson Shumate has worked on a number of civic art projects in Texas. He is a Houston-based artist who earned his BFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and MFA from University of Houston. Shumate has annual exhibitions in Houston while juggling his public art projects.
Troy Stanley, Urban-Over-Growth-Spring, 2014, Winston’s on Washington, 5111 Washington.
Troy Stanley, Urban-Over-Growth-Summer, 2014, The Salvation Army Thrift Store, 2208 Washington.
Troy Stanley, Urban-Over-Growth-Fall, 2014, Darkhorse Tavern, 2207 Washington.
Artist and Washington Corridor resident Troy Stanley was selected by a panel of City of Houston, Washington Parking Benefit District Advisory Board and local art professionals to create three Art Parking Meters for Houston’s Washington Corridor.
Stanley’s Art Parking Meter series titled Urban-Over-Growth encapsulates the city parking meters with sculptural cut-steel structures, each with a unique flora design. A light fixture inside the sculptures, aided by mirror vinyl wrap, illuminates the cut-steel flora designs that are projected onto the surfaces surrounding the meters. Each of Stanley’s Urban-Over-Growth meters is unique and represents Houston’s typical three-season weather: spring, summer and fall. Stanley’s Art Parking Meter sculptures are installed along Washington Avenue, which consists primarily of bars, restaurants, boutiques and residential establishments.
Stanley’s Art Parking Meters are the first in the nation to marry parking meters with electricity-powered art. (The city parking meters are typically solar-powered.) To accommodate Stanley’s electric design, three local businesses donate their private power sources: Winston’s on Washington, The Salvation Army Thrift Store (Washington Avenue), and Darkhorse Tavern. This collaboration between the City of Houston, local businesses, and Houston artists makes the electric Art Parking Meters a truly unique undertaking. In addition, the Washington Parking Benefit District program, which manages Washington Corridor’s curb-space, has pledged to return a portion of the net meter revenue to the district for future improvements.
Addressing the City of Houston’s solar parking meters as artistic objects provided a unique opportunity to engage the public both on an aesthetically pleasing level as well as a conceptual level. Given the location of the meters on Washington, one had to define the area in which these meters would be used by the public, the surrounding infrastructure, and the perspective of the landscape.
One aspect that defined this locale was the time of day during which the meters would be used. Washington Avenue had steadily redefined itself over the last few years as a hub of restaurants, commerce and nightlife entertainment. Many of these businesses had either been long established or had repurposed existing structures into new functions. The result was a hybrid of old and new, history and progress, night and day. Typically, these meters were used in the evening hours as people unwound over long work weeks, taking up an outing at a restaurant or sharing drinks until the late evening.
The neighborhoods surrounding the corridor saw a surge of growth in both residential and business establishments. Warehouses were replaced with multi-story townhomes or larger luxury apartments. The corridor became an urban oasis. The natural landscape that once ran wild on larger plots had been pruned, replanted, redefined. At one location, one can see an old tree overtaking a parking lot, and a short distance away, rows of hedges pruned to linear perfection. The juxtaposition of control and neglect is in a state of flux, and the neighborhood continues to redefine itself.
How does one utilize a parking meter to address this ever-changing perspective? My work typically explored the space between what was perceived of as life and what was recognized as objects. These works shifted the view of these parking meters in a way that both questioned the relationship of nature to this urban environment, and addressed the night and day ebb and flow of the corridor. My “shells” for the meters utilized faux topiary foliage and powder-coating paint to redefine the meters as topiary hedges. The shapes of these new “hedges” emphasized geometry over organic and attempted to push aesthetically the tropes of urban gardening. During the day, these unique un-plant-like shapes catch the viewers’ eye as urban anomalies; at night, their glowing green foliage directs people parking their cars to the parking meter kiosks. - Troy Stanley
About Troy Stanley
Troy Stanley is a sculpture and mixed media artist based in Houston, Texas. Upon receiving his degree in sculpture from the University of Houston in 2005, Stanley began his professional career with a solo exhibition at Lawndale Art Center in Houston. In 2007, he attended the prestigious residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, shortly after attending the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center Residency in Nebraska. He is also the recipient of a Houston Arts Alliance Emerging Artist Grant and has been on the short list for the international residency at Artpace in San Antonio, Texas. Also through Houston Arts Alliance, Stanley created an Art Recycling Truck titled Forest for the Trees and transformed a PODS® Container into an interactive, moveable installation.
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