Yesterday, the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) announced that Joe O’Connell + Creative Machines was recently awarded the $1.34 million commission to create a major exterior artwork as part of the renovation of the George R. Brown (GRB) Convention Center. The Tucson-based group will create a massive kinetic sculpture within a fountain entitled Fountain of the Americas.
The announcement came only about five months later than the original timeline noted on the RFQ for the commission, but perhaps HAA was distracted by the disastrous hoopla surrounding Houston artist Ed Wilson’s GRB commission last year, or wanted to avoid the same mistakes and bad PR. In HAA’s press release, Jonathon Glus, president and CEO of HAA, was carefully quoted about the selection process and the timeline: “The design for Fountain of the Americas was chosen by a peer review panel from four finalists out of 94 submissions from HAA’s open call. Our Civic Art + Design program will work with O’Connell + Creative Machines over the next year in helping realize and install what promises to be a hallmark of public art and a signature work for Houston.”