13:07 PM

UHCL's public art is focus of celebration, artists' presentations

The University of Houston System-wide Public Art Committee has been attempting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its public art collections on all UH campuses, but closures due to COVID-19 caused numerous delays over the summer. However, nothing — not even a global pandemic — can keep the show from finally going on via Zoom on Sept. 29, 5-6 p.m.

University of Houston-Clear Lake Associate Professor of Art Jason Makepeace and Professor Emeritus of Art Nick J. de Vries will present their works of public art on the UH-Clear Lake campus in a virtual event entitled, “Live Artist Conversation.” The presentation will be moderated by College of Human Sciences and Humanities Interim Dean Samuel Gladden and Director of Cultural Arts Eric Despard.

“The great appeal of this event is to showcase the arts at UHCL by sharing our public art collection,” Gladden said. “This is a great venue for people to find out more about the arts at UHCL, so they can appreciate the work of these artists as well as the arts and culture at the university.”

Gladden will be speaking about the bronze sphere sculpture at the front entrance of the Bayou Building. The sculpture, called “Spiritus Mundi,” by Spanish artist Pablo Serrano, is the largest display of public art on campus. “I’ll be speaking about how ‘Spiritus Mundi’ is such an excellent piece to use to mark key moments in the university’s life,” he said. “Recently refurbished, it is at the center of our campus, just as art is at the heart of all we do.”

Makepeace’s sculpture, located outside the Arbor North building, is entitled “Moldable Subtractions,” and is inspired by his interest in kayaking. “As an avid kayaker, I find it interesting that the basic design of the canoe and kayak has not changed over thousands of years,” he said. “What’s changed is the process by which they’re crafted. The sculpture explores the relationship between new and old technology of the single-manned vessel and how craftsmanship maintains itself even when the base materials change.”

Inspired by his fascination of science and art, de Vries’ sculpture, entitled “Frisian Horses,” is in the courtyard area between Arbor Main and Arbor North. “Natural formations, both seen and unseen, as well as reactions to human behavior were the starting points of most of my past series of work,” he said. “The ‘Frisian Horses’ series embodies these concepts.”

Despard said he would be speaking about the cultural arts on campus, highlighting programs, partnerships and upcoming events. “We’re providing compelling arts experiences that cultivate creativity, innovation, intellectual inquiry, and deep reflection by embracing global perspectives of thought and culture,” he said. “In the near future, we’re looking forward to seeing everyone on our beautiful campus, where the cultural arts inspire intellectual discourse and enrich lives.”

For more information or to join this event, click the Zoom link.