New Texas Contemporary Art Gallery: H-E-B

by Paula Newton June 27, 2018

The San Antonio-based grocery store chain H-E-B, which has hundreds of stores throughout Texas, is beginning a new program in its upcoming Houston area stores, reports the Houston Chronicle. With the help of the Weingarten Art Group, the store is selecting art projects by Texas artists meant to be reflective the neighborhood it serves.

The first is in its new Bellaire store. San Antonio artist Ansen Seale’s “Blue By You,” referring to nearby bayous, will greet customers as they enter and exit the store. Commissions have not been awarded for upcoming projects, but it seems that H-E-B president Scott McClelland is giving it thought. The Chronicle quotes him musing on the Heights store set to open in January, “…because the Heights is kind of quirky, the art there will be very quirky and will create a big conversation.”

To read the full Chronicle article with images of the first project, go here.


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Buddy, the friendly grocery bag June 27, 2018 - 12:14

An interesting idea: democratize the public’s access to art while de-democratizing the surrounding neighborhoods by accelerating gentrification through development. Quirky indeed.

Selena R June 27, 2018 - 16:13

Yeah, also what are they paying the artist? How much is the “consultant” getting?

Houston Banks June 27, 2018 - 18:16

Love the range that Scott and Leah are able to come together and agree on. Ansen is a good San Antonio based artist, funny WAG couldn’t find a Houstonian?

Charles Adams June 28, 2018 - 11:35

New businesses come to my gallery constantly hoping to decorate with free art in exchange for exposure. I nicely explain that artists need sales just like the flooring people. Some listen and buy art, some don’t. Please let us all know if this is a paid commission. As “hip” as H-E-B is I would hope that they are hip enough to know how to do the right thing.

Jacqueline McGilvray July 1, 2018 - 09:40

Congrats to Ansen. This may be the first formal program, but H-E-B has done similar initiatives throughout San Antonio in recent years- murals at various locations, Chuck Ramirez prints at the South Flores Market, a Vincent Valdez video installation at Nogalitos store when it opened.

Ginny Camfield July 1, 2018 - 16:11

It’s not HEB’s first foray into art in their stores. The Houston Central Market opened with two large tile works by Malou Flato on the wall opposite the checkout counters. In the early days there were cases of drinks and other bulky items placed under them, and often price signs taped to the tiles. My husband would routinely go to the manager of the store to request that they be moved, later removing the signs himself. Finally we wrote to the central management of the stores, and that helped. Since the major remodeling a year ago, those walls were moved out and redesigned, and I’m happy to say the artworks are center on the wall with no debris underneath! Kudos to the store for adding good artwork to contribute to a good shopping experience.

Michael July 2, 2018 - 09:42

HEB opened a new store in Huntsville (TX) last fall. They approached me about getting SHSU art students to design a mural for the entrance of the new store–a mural that expressed “what was important to Huntsville.” The idea evolved and instead of a mural, my Museum and Gallery Practices students curated a selection of student work to hang on the wall. Now we have a wall of rotating student work in the entrance to HEB that promotes what our students are doing and the exhibitions at our downtown student Satellite Gallery.

Clifford July 5, 2018 - 13:20

You are all not reading this correctly I think, the art community of Texas knows that HEB has been a supporter of the arts, but this article states that they are working with a consultant. A well connected consultant -in the money world not the art world- that seems to have a certain strong hold on art opportunities in the state. The question we should have is why are major institutions hiring this one firm to handle art (HEB aside because it is their money), specifically the University of Houston.

Armendariz July 10, 2018 - 10:45

I love how productive this consulting group is! They even handled the project at Sam Houston park with Havel Ruck!! YEAH

Oliver Franklin July 12, 2018 - 11:20

I love my HEB!


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