Skip to main content

True North 2020: Annual Heights Boulevard Sculpture Exhibit

I live in Houston and love writing reviews of the local restaurants and stores I visit with family and friends.

'El Gallo Monument' by the late Bob "Daddy-O" Wade

'El Gallo Monument' by the late Bob "Daddy-O" Wade

True North 2020

Living in Houston is so much fun for many reasons. A highlight for art lovers is the annual sculpture exhibit on Heights Boulevard. The dates of getting to see this year's sculptures runs from March 15th to December 15th. So there is still plenty of time to drive by this sixty-foot wide esplanade in the Houston Heights neighborhood to see these magnificent creations.

To enjoy them even more, park your vehicle and take the walking/jogging trail that runs the entire length of Heights Boulevard, where the installation of these sculptures is on view at different intervals. You will get your exercise while viewing these pieces of art up close.

1. 'Loculus' Sculpture by Jack Massing

Starting at the 400 blocks of Heights Boulevard, one comes across this eye-catching design of a wrench serving as a wind vane at the top of this four-sided towering sculpture. At the bottom of the cross-hatching design are geographic coordinates letting viewers know exactly where they are standing upon the earth.

The artist Jack Massing is a Houston Heights resident. He was born in New York but has lived in Houston for many decades. He was once a part of a collaboration with another artist by the name of Michael Galbreth. They were known as "The Art Guys" until the death of Michael Galbreth. From what I read, they exhibited in numerous places throughout the United States, China, and Europe. Their focus was to demystify art and intermix humor at the same time.

2. 'Dodecahedron' by Vincent Fink

The 600 block is where this twelve-sided polyhedron sculpture is on view. If I had learned that term in geometry, I had forgotten the meaning. This is what Wikipedia relates: " In geometry, a polyhedron (plural polyhedra or polyhedrons) is a three-dimensional shape with flat polygonal faces, straight edges, and sharp corners or vertices." The great pyramids are one example of polyhedrons.

In this case, Houston artist Vincent Fink, who enjoys the study of science and philosophy, painted imagery of things from outer space upon the five-sided pieces of acrylic glass.

3. 'Hard Rain' by Jack Gron

In the 800 blocks is the 'Hard Rain' sculpture by Jack Gron. Viewing this sculpture from different angles, with the cloud-like imagery at the top of this tall metal art installation, the naming of this piece is easy to understand. Most of us can relate to experiencing a driving rain that pelts the earth from a sideways angle.

Houston artist, Jack Gron, has experience working in blast furnaces when he was a young man growing up in Steubenville, Ohio. Many in his family worked in that steel-producing town. His art career is combined with working as a sculptor and teaching art in various institutions. He is known nationally and internationally for his work.

4. 'Big Cabbage' by Bill Davenport

You will find this round seven-foot diameter obvious-looking cabbage sculpture in the 900 blocks of Heights Boulevard. Artist Bill Davenport, who lives in Houston, likes to create giant-sized concrete vegetable sculptures. Some of them are permanent art installations at some of the farmer's markets around Houston.

Since childhood, he has converted trashed objects into art. He owns his own business, Bill's Junk Art Space, at 1125 East 11th Street in the Houston Heights, where he continues to fashion art from salvaged items. I have included an exterior photo of his store above for your interest. The outside of his place of business draws attention, and I am sure you would agree.

Bill Davenport has shown his art in exhibitions all across the United States. He has also curated shows and has been an editor, writer, and publisher for several art entities.

5. 'Forces of Nature: Blue Skies, Slinkys, and Hurricanes' by Leticia Bajuyo

Anyone who has ever played with a slinky toy should appreciate this trio of blue-colored sculptures in the 1200 block of Heights Boulevard. Inside of each circular piece is some artificial grass. People are invited to sit upon these pieces.

Supposedly, the artist Leticia R. Bajuyo who lives in Corpus Christi also thought of hurricane storms swirling around the center of an eye when she made these sculptures. The color blue signifies the other part mentioned in the title. You can read more about her credentials in the source reference below.

In case you never owned a slinky, you can see this classic toy in the video below.

6. 'On History' by Joseph Havel

Joseph Havel is a well-credentialed artist known nationally and internationally. He resides in Houston and is the Director of not only the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, but the Glassell School of Art, and a post-graduate and residency program known as The Core Program.

His nine-foot bronze sculpture appears to be made of torn bluejeans and shirts. The striking angular piece pointed skyward has a stack of books at its base. The 1300 blocks is where this unique sculpture is on view.

7. 'Carbon Sink' by Sherry Owens / Art Shirer

Both of these artists, Sherry Owens, and Art Shirer, have studios where they create art in Dallas, Texas. They have done many art collaborations over several decades, and this one in the Houston Heights is seen in the 1600 blocks area of Heights Boulevard.

No crape myrtle trees have been harmed in the making of this distinctive sculptural project. (Smile) Personally, I like it when crape myrtle trees are allowed to grow and attain their full height like other trees. However, many of them are trimmed when the trees are dormant. Supposedly, it encourages more blossoms on the new growth. Those discarded cuttings from crape myrtle trees were fashioned into this immense sculptural piece. The top was flat, but the sides show the sinewy growth patterns of the branches.

Read what the artist's intent was about this sculpture in the source link below.

8. 'El Gallo Monument' by Bob "Daddy-O" Wade

Last, but hardly least, is the whimsical sculptural assembly by the late Bob Wade. It is the last sculpture exhibit of his, but he died before the installation took place. Thanks to his wife, daughter, and an artist friend by the name of Will Larson, it now sits at Heights Boulevard and 18th Street in the Houston Heights.

Seeing this assembly of colorful pigs, piglets, and a giant rooster brings a smile to my face. If you have never seen a blue, red, yellow, or green pig—this is the place to view them!

For many years, I have admired the giant-sized cowboy boots that front Northstar Mall at the 410 freeway in San Antonio. You can see some of his creations in the video and read about more of the giant-sized folk art made by Bob Wade in the source link below.

Art-making is not about telling the truth but making the truth felt.

— Christian Boltanski


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