City of Houston ready to commission artists for painting mini-murals around town

HOUSTON – Calling all artists! The City of Houston has an opportunity just for you.

Houston wants to clean up utility boxes at intersections, so they are commissioning mini-murals for 38 boxes across town.

“I think the goal is just to keep reaching communities where we haven’t seen them yet especially, and then communities that are deprived of public art,” Up Art Studio‘s Elia Quiles expressed. Her gallery is in partnership with the city to help judge the fine art competition.

It’s all part of a beautification project for the Bayou City.

“We are one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country, and to see artwork that has a reflection of all these people coming from all over the world, I think would be a great addition to the creative element of the city,” Houston artist Reginald Adams shared. Adams was commissioned by the city earlier this year to paint four large murals for the Super Bowl.

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Another benefit of this mini-mural program is that it actually helps cut down on gang graffiti and eye-sore spots around town. Houston now has over 170 new original artworks in neighborhoods throughout the city that have been funded by the mayor and city council, as well as private sponsors.

“With school being out right now, there’s definitely an increase of vandalism,” Quiles noted. “But we’re happy to report that with the measures that we take to protect the boxes, generally we’re able to restore ’em very easily.”

And this art is really making a difference.

“When artists within a city can get a chance to express themselves, I think it just elevates the cultural vibrancy of that particular city,” Adams said. “To go and see children’s artwork in downtown Houston– all this vibrant color in the midst of this kind of gray, concrete jungle– is really exciting. And then now to see that that artwork has helped spawn some development around that space has been really exciting.”

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Artists have until August 11 to submit an application to be part of this project.

Each selected artist will receive $750 inclusive of all work including, but not limited to, design proposals, artist fees, design, and production of an original mini mural on a traffic signal control cabinet. Artists will also be provided with a $250 stipend for materials.
Sanding, priming and clear coating of the cabinets will be provided by UP Art Studio. Commissioned artists’ work will be included on the Mini Murals website and City of Houston website. Completion of the project must be verified by the Mini Murals team before funds are disbursed. Additionally, artist must provide UP Art Studio an invoice and W-9.

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Payment to the artist will be made following completion of the mini mural and an approval by the sponsor. This will typically take between 4 – 6 weeks, depending on when work is completed in the billing cycle. The supply stipend of $250 may be requested 3 days before painting of the Mini Mural commences.

As Adams put it, “We have a great arts community, but I think they’re so many blank walls that could serve as canvasses for these artists to help beautify these spaces.”