The Houston Endowment, a private foundation that supports the city’s arts, public parks, civic engagement, and pre-K through 12th-grade public education needs, moved into a new, custom-built building earlier this fall. The Foundation worked with Weingarten Art Group to curate works of art for the new space.
Formerly housed on the 64th floor of the JPMorgan Chase Tower in downtown Houston (the tallest building in Texas), at the end of September the Endowment moved to its new building at 3683 Willia Street, at the edge of Spotts Park, west of downtown. The headquarters’ neighborhood is bordered by Buffalo Bayou, Montrose, and the Heights.
Designed collaboratively by Kevin Daly Architects, PRODUCTORA, and TLS Landscape Architecture, the 31,718-square-foot building boasts flexible collaborative spaces and an array of eco-friendly features, including solar panels and geothermal HVAC. Additionally, the new building is the first hybrid steel and cross-laminated timber project in the city. While the building likely meets LEED platinum certification requirements, the Foundation has determined that the investment needed to pursue the certification will be better spent towards its overall mission.
Ann Stern, the president and CEO of the Houston Endowment, told Glasstire that though the organization had art on the walls of its past offices, its acquisition of new pieces marks the beginning of the organization’s permanent collection. To take on the important process of building a collection, the Foundation first assembled an advisory council, which consisted of a few board members, the Foundation’s arts program officer, and a former board member. The group then submitted requests for proposals to four local art advisors. Ultimately, Weingarten Art Group was the unanimous choice.
The advisory council’s goals for the collection were to feature Houston-based artists and/or artists who have a strong Houston connection, and to choose artworks that reflect the idea of Houston as a vibrant and diverse city. The process started with Lea Weingarten presenting the council with a slideshow of about one hundred works of art. From there, the council voted on their top twenty pieces and Ms. Weingarten started conversations with artists. The first two works acquired for the collection were by Rick Lowe, founder of Project Row Houses, an organization which the Foundation has supported for decades, and Jamal Cyrus.
The works hanging throughout the building incorporate themes important to the Foundation’s mission, such as community, resilience, culture, and nature. All of the works were created within the last five years, many were made this year, and a few, like Julia Barbosa-Landois’ piece, were created specifically with the Foundation in mind.
Ms. Stern told Glasstire that the Foundation does plan to expand the collection in the future, and starting in the first quarter of 2023 it will create a rotating gallery which will feature commissioned pieces by emerging local artists. For this, the Foundation will pay artists to create and display new work, and at the end of the exhibition the pieces will be returned to the artists who can then sell the work.
See below for a full list of artists and artworks included in the Houston Endowment’s newly formed permanent collection.
Disclosure: Glasstire is a grantee of the Houston Endowment.