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Carter Ernst Dog Sculpture in Houston’s “True North” Exhibit

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Carter Ernst sculpture titled “Pointing North.”

Carter Ernst sculpture titled “Pointing North.”

Who is Carter Ernst?

This University of Houston graduate with a BFA in painting and her Master of Fine Arts in sculpture has created a supersized fiberglass dog sculpture covered in all sorts of various fabrics and mediums, much like a patchwork quilt.

Carter Ernst loves to use faux fabrics in her creations, which include not only sculptures but paintings, ceramics, and the creation of mosaics, often replicating in her unique artistic way things found in nature.

The title of her sculpture is “Pointing North,” created in 2014. Her dog’s head is indeed pointing to the north!

This sculpture joins the other seven distinctive sculptures in this temporary exhibit on Heights Boulevard in Houston, which was on display until November 4th of 2014.

Carter Ernst’s exhibits and works have been on display at the Nave Museum in Victoria, Texas, Redbud Gallery in Houston, and the Art Car Museum in Houston, among other places.

Carter Ernst sculpture titled “Pointing North.”

Carter Ernst sculpture titled “Pointing North.”

“True North” Sculpture Exhibit

A total of eight local Houston artist’s work, many of them whose works are internationally recognized were on exhibit on this well-loved and well utilized Heights Boulevard in Houston, Texas. That exhibit lasted until about November 4, 2014, at which time the works, if sold, went to their new owners.

The price tag for the Ernst creation “Pointing North” was $9,500.

In addition to Carter Ernst, the other artists who had sculptures in the “True North” exhibit include the following:

  • Lee Littlefield
  • Dan Havel
  • Dean Ruck
  • Ed Wilson
  • Patrick Medrano
  • Steve Murphy and
  • Paul Kittelson.

The location where the “True North” exhibit was shown was on Heights Blvd., Houston, Texas, just north of Interstate 10.

One of the grand houses along Heights Boulevard

One of the grand houses along Heights Boulevard

Houston Heights

The Houston Heights is a historic area with original homes dating back to the early 1900s and is only a mere 4 miles northwest of bustling downtown Houston.

With young professionals choosing to live near the downtown area, real estate prices have skyrocketed. Older homes are being renovated, and the Houston Heights Association is trying to keep the demolishing of landmarks to a minimum.

The Heights, as it is commonly known here, has a significant number of professional artists who call this area home. The unique character of the Heights makes it a draw for those who appreciate not only art but architecture as well as unique boutiques and restaurants.

Gazebo on Heights Boulevard

Gazebo on Heights Boulevard

MECA in Houston and Carter Ernst

Carter Ernst teaches sculpture at the Houston Community College central campus. She also works with a nonprofit organization called MECA that provides underserved children and adults in our community with arts and programming, such as folk dancing as well as ballet. The teaching of musical instruments such as piano, guitar, violin, and drums, drawing and painting, and much more takes place.

The MECA acronym stands for Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts. Many of these individuals would never have had the opportunity for exposure to the arts, and its wide-reaching benefits were it not for this program. After school programs as well as summer programs help not only students with tutoring and mentoring, but the community at large as well.

Carter Ernst specializes in teaching mosaic arts at MECA. This nonprofit agency relies upon the many donors of not only money but also time to make it the success that it has become.

Collaboration with artists like Carter Ernst and others can improve and make a significant difference in people’s lives.

Ernst & Kittelson Public Art Sculpture

Carter Ernst has teamed up and collaborated with fellow artist Paul Kittelson on many public art projects around Houston. Anyone flying in or out of Houston Hobby Airport has probably seen the Kittelson & Ernst sizeable stainless steel sculpture, which looks like a giant birds nest nestled in between 3 tree trunks. It is titled TAKE-OFF and has been on location since 2010.

Ernst & Kittelson sculpture at Houston Hobby Airport Source: By Hourick (talk). Hourick at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Ernst & Kittelson sculpture at Houston Hobby Airport Source: By Hourick (talk). Hourick at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Spark Parks and Carter Ernst

Other public art projects in which Carter Ernst participates are the Spark Parks. They are community-based parks at public schools in Houston. All of them have an art component, and student art becomes a part of the painted works and sculptures with oversight of professional artists.

When school is not in session, the community at large can utilize the walking trails, picnic tables, and playground equipment at these nicely decorated parks with beautiful outdoor spaces.

A few of the Spark Parks and Houston schools in which Carter Ernst has participated:

  • Garden Oaks Elementary Spark Park
  • Brock Elementary Spark Park
  • Douglas Spark Park
  • Emerson Elementary School
  • Dodson Elementary

Carter Ernst has been a part of these and numerous other public art projects.

Art cars spotted in the Houston Heights

Art cars spotted in the Houston Heights

Art Cars

Carter Ernst is also into the Houston Art Car scene in a big way! She has created quite a few art cars and has used such things as acrylic paints and collections of mica on some. One of her art cars titled VA-VOOM Vinyl was decorated with vinyl shower curtains using the means of collage in its creation. Most of her art cars take up to 2 years to complete.

People drive down from all around the United States to be in the largest art car parade in the world. If you have never seen this art car parade, you will want to watch the video below.

Heights Boulevard

You might have enjoyed a closer look at Ernst’s remarkable canine work of art, as well as the other sculptures on display, had you visited the Heights in Houston, Texas, when this “True North” exhibit was on display. At least you can get an idea of what it was like by seeing the photos I took and which are in this post.

My hubby and I certainly enjoyed our time exploring this beautiful boulevard. It has trees, benches, a walking and jogging trail, gazebo, World War II Memorial, and more.

Across the street from it is a fantastic children’s fenced-in playground called Donovan Park. Also facing Heights Boulevard is Marmion Park and August Antiques. The antique store has a wide array of items from the past and well worth a visit.

Temporary “True North” sculpture exhibits and ones like it just add to the enjoyment of this beautiful part of town!



This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peggy Woods