Founder of Pan Dulce HTX Commissioned to Create Mural for New Denver Harbor Multi-Service Center

by Jessica Fuentes April 28, 2022

The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) and the Houston Health Department (HHD) have selected local artist David Maldonado to create a mural for the renovated Denver Harbor Multi-Service Center in the city’s Pleasantville neighborhood (just southeast of the Greater Fifth Ward).

A photograph of artist David Maldonado painting a mural with a can of spray paint.

Houston artist David Maldonado. Image courtesy of The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

The new center is scheduled to be completed in July 2022 and will provide social services such as educational and technology resources, access to a community garden and food pantry, and services for senior citizens. In preparation for the mural, Mr. Maldonado is hosting community meetings to gather input and feedback from local residents.

This mural commission is just one of many arts opportunities supported by MOCA. In February of this year, MOCA announced an open call with a budget of $430,000 for public art works at the new North Belt Public Safety Complex. Last month, a deadline passed for five public art commissions for the new international terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. 

In a press release announcing the commission, Mayor Sylvester Turner said, “The Denver Harbor community is significant to our city, and so is its history. The many partners involved in the development of this project agree that a community-centric artwork, which allows the story of Denver Harbor to be told, is essential for the success of these murals. We look forward to seeing artist David Maldonado engage with the residents of Denver Harbor and debut an original artwork that truly represents the community.”

Mr. Maldonado is a muralist, musician, and founder of Pan Dulce HTX, an organization devoted to creating opportunities for conversation and celebration through music, art, and culture. He was chosen for this opportunity by a selection panel led by the Houston Arts Alliance and composed of arts professionals and representatives from the City and the community. Panelists included Denver Harbor resident and host of All Real Radio Deniz Lopez, visual artists Venessa Monokian and Blake Bermel(aka Mez Data), community representative and Denver Harbor business owner Rene Porras, and Houston Health Department representative Roy Villarreal.

Last year, Mr. Maldonado was selected to paint a mural at a Houston Walmart as part of the company’s Together Somos Más initiative, which commissioned artists in Chicago, Miami, and Houston to create community murals. Recently, the artist was chosen to develop a Houston-specific logo for season nineteen of Bravo’s Top Chef, which was filmed in the city.

Of his mural plan, Mr. Maldonado stated: “For the large-scale mural at the entrance, my overall vision is to incorporate imagery that symbolizes and reflects the many different resources that the Multi-Service Center offers within. For example, floral patterns can represent the community garden. The center’s program areas of health and fitness, education, financial well-being, and community gatherings all offer major themes to be explored. This creative process will extend to the two smaller murals and to the bench at the entrance as well.”

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