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

Updated on March 3, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Carter Ernst sculpture titled “Pointing North.”
Carter Ernst sculpture titled “Pointing North.” | Source

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.” | Source

“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 | Source

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 | Source

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 | Source

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!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Carter Ernst sculpture titled “Pointing North.”Carter Ernst sculpture titled “Pointing North.”
Carter Ernst sculpture titled “Pointing North.”
Carter Ernst sculpture titled “Pointing North.” | Source
Carter Ernst sculpture titled “Pointing North.”
Carter Ernst sculpture titled “Pointing North.” | Source


© 2020 Peggy Woods


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    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for the compliment. I continually learn so much by reading your informative articles. It is a fantastic way to keep learning about things that we may never have known or get to visit in person. Kudos to HubPages for giving us this opportunity to share our thoughts.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love the dog sculpture. The art cars are interesting, too. I'm enjoying learning about Houston and Texas by reading your articles, Peggy.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Manatita,

      Yes, Carter Ernst involves herself in many community projects. Her art background is well utilized and put to useful purpose that also helps beautify our local environment.

    • manatita44 profile image


      5 months ago from london

      Her history is a nice one. She comes over as kind and benevolent. No wonder she likes dogs. Pointing North is awesome!

      I see that she is good at collaboration and community work. Praise be!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ruby,

      We do have a fantastic array of parks and public art in our city. It is fun sharing it with you and other readers of this post.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      5 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This was another interesting park. Houston has so many beautiful parks and talented people. I love the dog sculpture.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      There are many similar types of houses in the Houston Heights. As to keeping them heated, most of the time down here we have the opposite concern. That is keeping our homes cooled with air-conditioning. Costs are probably similar. Glad you liked the dog sculpture.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Pamela,

      Dog lovers were probably drawn to this sculpture as it was recognizable as such. I am glad you took the time to view the art car video. Those cars are fun to see. For those who do not wish to stand on the streets and see them in person each year at the art car parade, they also film it so that people can see it from the comfort of their homes. It is a big deal down here!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mary,

      We have a very active arts community in our area. It is so much fun seeing the creativity out on our streets, boulevards, etc. Thanks for your comment.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi FlourishAnyway,

      We see quite a few art cars in the Houston area that are on the streets. Obviously they pass the inspections each year, so are safe to drive. It is fun spotting them! We also have the Art Car Museum here in Houston.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      My God, that house is spectacular. Can you imagine trying to heat it in the winter if it was in, say, Michigan? No thank you, but it sure is nice to look at. And I love the dog, of course.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I really like the unique sculpture of the dog but I love dogs anyway. Everything about this story isl amazing. I enjoyed watching the art car video as those cars were so unique! It is nice that Carter is teaching. This is another wonderful thing that Houseton has to offer.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      5 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I like artists who are actively involved in their communities. That public art is very fascinating.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      5 months ago from USA

      I like the dog statue and that gorgeous Victorian house. I’m ready to move in. Years ago we had a couple of art cars around our city which is known for its art scene. They were really odd and tacky and made me question safety.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Sandy,

      I think that most dog lovers would appreciate the dog sculpture created by Carter Ernst.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      5 months ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Very interesting. Love the dog sculptor.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Kyler,

      I can understand your point. (Smile) Carter Ernst does much innovative art in our area.

    • Kyler J Falk profile image

      Kyler J Falk 

      5 months ago from Corona, CA

      A very interesting style on the dog, if I were walking by with just a glance I'd think it is a statue of a dog with mange, hahaha!


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