Houston-based Artist Kill Joy Selected for Montrose Library Public Art Commission

by Jessica Fuentes May 21, 2023

Late last year, the Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) launched a call for artists to create a public art work for the City’s new Montrose Library. Earlier this week, MOCA announced that Kill Joy, a Filipino-American artist, has been selected for the opportunity.

A photograph of artist Kill Joy wearing a red bandana that covers her nose and mouth.

Kill Joy

Born in West Texas, Kill Joy explores mythology from around the world and studies ancient symbols. Her research is infused in her art practice, which includes printmaking, mural painting, book making, and puppetry. Currently based in Houston, Kill Joy has created other murals in the city, including one at Trebly Park and one at METRO’s Kashmere Bus Operating Facility, as part of the Arts in Transit program.. 

A mural painted by artist Kill Joy on the outside of a bus facility.

Kill Joy’s mural at Houston METRO’s Kashmere Bus Operating Facility.

A photograph of a mural by Kill Joy on an interior wall. The mural depicts a stylized painting of tall grass blowing in the wind.

Kill Joy’s mural at Trebly Park.

The site-specific public art commission that Kill Joy will create includes a mural, sculpture, and light piece, and will draw inspiration from the history of the Montrose neighborhood. The City has budgeted $85,000 to cover costs, including artist fees, design, engineering, permitting, insurance costs, lighting, travel, fabrication, materials, and more. The new library which is being built at 1001 California Street, will replace the current library, which is a half mile south of the new location at 4001 Montrose Boulevard.

A digital rendering of the new Montrose Library in Houston.

Rendering of the exterior of the Montrose Library. Courtesy of the Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

In a press release, Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner remarked, “The artwork being the centerpiece of the new Montrose library location highlights the Houston Public Library’s commitment to storytelling in all forms and mediums, as well as the City’s commitment to sharing uplifting experiences through art and it’s great to see another dynamic mural be added to the City’s Civic Art Collection.”

Artist Kill Joy added, “Libraries are sacred. They are a gathering space that imprints local stories and connects people to global, and even intergalactic worlds. Libraries are a celebration of community building, and I am very honored to contribute to these time-honored sanctuaries of learning, community, democracy and imagination.”

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