Press Releases

Press Releases

Mayor’s Workplace Push Release 3 Females-Led Artwork Commissions Coming to Landmark Alief Community Middle Alief

Mayor’s Workplace Push Release

3 Females-Led Artwork Commissions Coming to Landmark Alief Community Middle

Alief Swarm by Bennie Flores Ansell

September 28, 2021 — The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) is pleased to announce 3 public art commissions that will be shown in the landmark Alief Community Heart scheduled to be open in the Spring of 2022. Two interior and a solitary exterior commissioned general public artworks will debut with the facility opening and will be additional to the City’s Civic Artwork Assortment.  Each individual was made by Houston-spot artists Bennie Flores Ansell, Falon Mihalic, and Red Thread Collective – Rakhee Jain Desai, Ami Mehta, and Sneha Bhavsar.

The new $54-million mixed-applied center will accommodate 3 Metropolis of Houston services under just one roof, creating a civic heart at the heart of a redeveloped 38-acre active city athletics park.  A new paradigm for offering City expert services, the 70,000 sf 3-story LEED-licensed, award-winning building is the first of its kind, created to leverage resources between the Houston Overall health, Houston Parks and Recreation, and Houston Public Library departments for the gain of the Alief Full Community with particular emphasis on group engagement, id, and civic wellbeing.  In the occasion of purely natural disasters and emergencies, this facility will also provide as resilience hub or lily pad.

“Every single of the community artists chosen to produce artworks for this point out-of-the-artwork facility emphasize the strength of Houston’s resourceful local community,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The a few commissioned community artworks that will be displayed at the Alief Community Center will not only increase the Alief Total Group, but will also inspire its residents and make the full city very pleased.”

MOCA released the opportunity to artists residing in the Better Houston Spot and, with enter from District F Council Member Tiffany Thomas, oversaw a selection process which emphasized neighborhood representation. A choice panel of City division, community, and art world representatives was assembled to evaluation 9 finalists proposals, three for just about every artwork web page, from 76 original applicants. Panelists included Xandra Eden, Executive Director, Diverseworks Gordon Greenleaf, Artist and Alief Community Member and artist and arts educator Divya Murthy John Middleton, Assistant Director, Houston General public Library and Lisa Johnson, Division Supervisor, General Companies Department.

Each individual of the 3 commissioned artworks - Folding Stories (Red Thread Collective), Alief Swarm (Bennie Flores Ansell), and Windbloom (Falon Mihalic) - will engage the Alief community to take part in the completion of fee patterns in advance of fabrication.

Folding Stories, a suspended sculpture, welcomes visitors to the Center while celebrating the toughness of diversity in Alief and will seek writing samples from Alief ISD pupils and civic teams. Alief Swarm also seeks direct connection with residents and will feature 1,000 shoe-inspired butterflies established from photographs of shoes captured by the artist. Embedded in the urban parkscape, Windbloom will give form to the site’s ephemeral ecological characteristics and fortify the new community centre as a place for reflection, connection, and discovery.

Each public art commission is planned for completion in the Spring of 2022.

About MOCA
The City of Houston Mayor’s Workplace of Cultural Affairs guides the City’s cultural investments with guidelines and initiatives that grow obtain to arts and cultural applications in the group, entice visitors and leverage personal expense.

To master much more about the City’s cultural plans take a look at  www.houstontx.gov/culturalaffairs and observe us on Facebook and Instagram @HoustonMOCA.

Folding Tales by The Red Thread Collective

Art Photo 2

The community of Alief is a multicultural tapestry woven from many intriguing stories of solid woman pioneers, of leaders embracing change, and of immigrant family members comprehensive of aspiration and perseverance. “Folding Tales,” strives to honor these struggles and successes by developing a few multifaceted sculptures with hand-painted, culturally encouraged textiles. These textiles will provide as a visible narrative of Alief’s extraordinary journey to turning into a single of the most ethnically assorted neighborhoods in the US. Having inspiration from the founding feminine postmaster, Alief Magee, the artists will obtain prepared letters from people. Excerpts from these letters will be superimposed on the cloth facets, making certain the sculptures resonate with phrases of wisdom and hope right from the people of Alief.

As South Asian female artists and prolonged-time Houstonians, Rakhee Jain Desai, Ami Mehta, and Sneha Bhavsar (The Purple Collective) think in the intrinsic worth that each and every numerous individual contributes to a thriving community. “Folding Stories” will produce a assumed-provoking and intimate resourceful knowledge that will encourage the residents of Alief to assemble, discover, and improve from one yet another more ensuring that the Alief Neighborhood Centre serves as a welcoming and inclusive place that will be embraced by current and foreseeable future generations.

Alief Swarm by Bennie Flores Ansell

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Alief Swarm will generate an uplifting experience and offer a changeover room to all. A swarm is the phrase for a huge team of bees emigrating to start out a colony in a different place. Like bees, any team of persons can be deemed a swarm emigrating and doing work with each other, fiercely toward a objective. The seed that Dr. Paul Quillian planted for a youth centre in Alief 60 years ago, is now developing into this breathtaking facility.

Neighborhood Involvement and possession is a significant component of this artwork that will be suspended from the ceiling room of the East Entrance and atrium. Composed of around a thousand of what look to be butterflies, on closer inspection the viewer will see that they are in actuality sneakers.  Houston-primarily based visual artist Bennie Flores Ansell will obtain the 1,000 shoe products and interact local community groups and on the internet voting to pick out the sneakers that will be utilised to develop the unique laser slice printed dichroic plexiglass she-butterflies that connect this indoor piece to the outside butterfly yard.

Windbloom by Falon Mihalic

Art Photo 3

Windbloom is an overhead sculpture, like an umbrella, meant to be knowledgeable up shut from underneath as a vibrant shading machine or from a distance as a supersized flower map. Viewable from the new Alief Community Center front porch, it is at the scale of the larger sized landscape and nestled in just the butterfly backyard. Impressed by the indigenous web site ecology as an open coastal prairie, it creates a colorful map of the site’s prevailing winds with “petals” of colorful resin. Manufactured of painted carbon metal, polycarbonate resin panels, and tailored attachments, all factors of the sculpture are envisioned as “plant-like” with the structural supports having on the kind of plant tendrils and the attachment plates modeled just after a flower calyx (the plant component amongst flower petals and leaves). Interdisciplinary artist Falon Mihalic will invite the group to interact with the operate each as a result of firsthand experience of the piece and by the group engagement wind map diagrams housed in the general public library.

MOCA contracts with Houston Arts Alliance Civic Artwork + Style and design team, funded by the City’s Civic Art Ordinance, to fee and get lasting artworks for the Town of Houston Civic Artwork Assortment which are appreciated by more than 64 million men and women each and every calendar year.

Artist Biographies 

Bennie Flores Ansell is a Houston based mostly visible artist. Flores Ansell is at this time a Professor in the Artwork Division of the Houston Community Higher education. She done her MFA in Images at the University of Houston and an undergraduate degree in Pictures from the University of South Florida. Flores Ansell was born in 1967 in Manila, Philippines and moved with her spouse and children to the United States that same 12 months. Flores Ansell was awarded a Fellowship at the Houston Middle for Pictures and the National Graduate Seminar at the American Images Institute at New York College in 1999. In 2000, she was picked from the fellows of the prior a long time to return to NYU to examine the shifts taking place in pictures, exclusively the effects of electronic imaging. Flores Ansell’s perform has been exhibited at The International Centre for Photography, NYC Seattle Artwork Museum and The San Diego Museum of Art as section of the Only Pores and skin Deep Exhibition curated by Coco Fusco and Brian Wallis. Her do the job was also included in the group exhibit Inside Outside the house: Texas Women of all ages Photographers curated by Anne Tucker and Clint Wilour. She has shown her operate internationally at Competition De La Luz, a 65-images festival in Argentina, Uno Art Gallery in Stuttgart, Germany and in a web page-specific installation at the Daegu Pictures Biennale in South Korea. In 2017, she was commissioned by Institute of Modern day Art in Boston to structure an interactive general public piece titled “Fish Out of Water” for the educational space Artwork Lab based on migrations of people to the United States. Very last summer season, her perform was section of the Confluencias group demonstrate at Patricia Conde Galeria in Mexico Metropolis.

Falon Mihalic is an interdisciplinary artist based mostly in Houston whose projects involve web site-dependent installations, mild artwork, and long-lasting public art commissions. Functioning across painting, sculpture, interactive public artwork, and landscape layout, she works by using coloration, gentle, and place to investigate the human link to purely natural techniques. Falon has a Grasp of Landscape Architecture diploma from the Rhode Island College of Structure and a B.A. in Purely natural Sciences from New College of Florida. Falon’s recent task, Weather Pulse, is a weather-responsive parametric sculpture sited in Houston’s Emancipation Park. Climate Pulse is powered by 2400 programmed LED lights that pulse and alter colour in reaction to ambient temperature and humidity degrees. Her get the job done has been exhibited in galleries and public spaces in Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Providence, and Boston. Falon owns and directs Falon Land Studio LLC.

Red Thread Collective  
Rakhee Jain Desai is a multidisciplinary artist whose do the job creates dialogue about the immigrant identity, assimilation practical experience and belonging. Her current body of perform utilizes the generations-old, wax-resist textile method, Batik. The mixture of Batik, an Eastern craft, with usually Western mediums (encaustic, oils and acrylics) is a signature approach that aptly communicates her South Asian American identity. Born in Canada, elevated in Houston, Texas and acquiring lived in Asia for a decade, Rakhee’s Indian heritage and world wide lens are obvious by means of her decision of palette and use of symbolism.

Ami Mehta studied and practiced architecture for far more than 12 decades ahead of creating the changeover to entire-time visible artist. She attracts from this architecture qualifications to construct dynamic compositions in her do the job, balancing the constraints of a demanding structure such as a grid, with natural mark-creating that provides many gestural textures such as scratches and drips. Ami operates in charcoal, oil pastel, ink, and acrylic, and her exclusive shade palette stems from her Indian cultural history, the 15 decades she put in escalating up in the Middle East, and her subsequent world travels. In her new function, Ami is intrigued in merging particular areas of the South Asian diaspora’s ethnic sensibilities with their American aesthetics.

Sneha Bhavsar is a blended-media visual artist. She is pushed to check out the tactile top quality of the surface as properly as its visible attributes. Her portfolio showcases a numerous assortment of art and modern day craft drawn from artistic cultural procedures all around the earth. Sneha incorporates standard folks-art methods this kind of as weaving, embroidery and hand block printing to lots of of her performs. Numerous of Sneha’s numerous art pieces also integrate recyclables this kind of as eggshells and thread. Sneha is a self-taught artist from California and presently resides in Houston, Texas. She started her career in Public Health and fitness whilst continuing to adhere to her interest in art schooling.