Spindle by Henry Moore, 1979 Located on a prominent knoll in Eleanor Tinsley Park is British sculptor Henry Moore’s Spindle piece. The cast bronze abstract sculpture was originally part of the artist’s Spindle series placed in London’s Hyde Park. View the location.
The Gus S. Wortham Memorial Fountain Affectionately known as the “Dandelion,” the Gus S. Wortham Memorial Fountain’s brass starburst of pipes sprays joggers, cyclists, and dog walkers offering a cool respite from the Houston heat. The setting has been enhanced with a semi-circular grove of trees shading benches, site lighting, and open-air shelters surrounded by lush native perennial gardens. Please note that dogs are not permitted in the fountain. View the location.
Seven Wonders by Mel Chin, 1998 Flanking the park’s promenade and Preston Street Bridge, the 70-foot tall pillars highlight Houston’s history through the themes of agriculture, energy, manufacturing, medicine, philanthropy, technology and transportation. Each column is constructed of 150 individual children’s drawings, etched in stainless steel plate. View the location.
Monumental Moments by Anthony Shumate, 2015 Monumental Moments is a series of 6 four-foot-tall sculptures crafted from 4” high density polyethylene, a material used in marine dock bumpers. The single word thoughts – Explore, Pause, Reflect, Listen, Emerge, and Observe – are placed at ground-level in unexpected areas along the bayou-side asphalt Kinder Footpaths.
Lunar Cycle Lighting Designed by L’Observatoire and Stephen Korns, Buffalo Bayou’s signature lighting transitions from white to blue as the moon waxes and wanes.
Tolerance by Jaume Plensa, 2011 At the base of the Rosemont Bridge on Allen Parkway and Montrose are Plensa’s Tolerance sculptures. The human figures representing the world’s seven continents are composed of stainless steel alphabet letters from many languages. Resting on large boulders, the figures glow at night creating a constellation of beacons. View the location.
Passage Inachevé by Linnea Glatt and Francis Thompson, 1990 This 28’ x 28’ art piece is constructed of galvanized steel set in a concrete slab. It takes the form of a house but is completely open to the elements and viewing from all sides. The seating and visual images highlight issues of human rights, freedom of expression, and historic and contemporary concerns. View the location.
Stainless Steel Canoes by John Runnels Elegant stainless steel boat sculptures, created by Houston artist John Runnels, serve as bayou landmarks, welcoming visitors to the park’s major entryways. Text-based artwork etched into the structures throughout the park highlight Buffalo Bayou’s and Houston’s history.
Open Channel Flow by Matthew Geller, 2009 Open Channel Flow, a sculpture by New York-based artist Matthew Geller, features a public outdoor shower activated by a hand pump. The nearby Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark ensures that a steady flow of skaters and passersby will indulge in a refreshing spritz on Houston’s infamously humid afternoons. View the location.
Big Bubble by Dean Ruck, 1998 After reviewing Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s master plan for increasing aeration in the bayou, Dean Ruck conceived the Big Bubble and won a national competition for projects to be included in Sesquicentennial Park. Visitors can see (and hear) the “Big Bubble” by walking over to Preston Street Bridge and pressing a red, unlabeled button located on a pillar facing southeast. View the location.
James A. Baker Monument by Chas Fagan, 2010 Serving as our nation’s 61st Secretary of State, James A. Baker III led the U.S. in foreign affairs during a pivotal time in history – the end of the Cold War. Baker, a Marine Corps veteran and partner at the law firm Baker Botts, served in three presidential administrations as Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of State and twice as White House Chief of Staff. This statue by Chas Fagan was dedicated in October 2010. View the location.
George Bush Monument by Chas Fagan & Wei-li “Willy” Wang, 2004 The George Bush Monument, a tribute to the 41st American president, was unveiled to the public in 2004. The exhibit features an eight-foot bronze sculpture by Chas Fagan of the former president and a semicircular wall consisting of four bas-reliefs by Houston artist Wei-li “Willy” Wang that depict President Bush in various stages of his life—President Bush as a Navy pilot in World War II, as a Houston oilman and member of Congress, with Mikhail Gorbachev in managing the peaceful end of the Cold War, and with wife Barbara attending the Inaugural of their oldest son as 43rd president. View the location.
It Wasn’t a Dream, It was a Flood by John Runnels, 2014 Serving as a major entry point to the bayou at Crosby Outfall, this 20-foot stainless steel canoe sculpture by John Runnels is supported by two stainless steel trees. It resembles 10 other canoe sculptures located at various eastward bayou access points.
Down Periscope by Donald Lipski, 2015 Through Down Periscope, visitors can peer into the 87,500-square-foot Cistern, a former drinking water reservoir renovated by BBP. Housed in a jasmine-covered stainless steel arbor atop The Brown Foundation Lawn, Down Periscope can also be accessed online from anywhere in the world at houstonperiscope.com. View the location here.
The Houston Police Officers Memorial by Jesus Bautista Moroles The Houston Police Officers Memorial is a public recognition of the sacrifices made by police officers as they carry out their duties and, in particular, those who have died in the line of duty. It is the location of an annual procession and wreath-laying ceremony honoring them. The memorial is laid out in the form of a 120’ by 120’ Greek cross with a stepped pyramid in the middle. A reflecting pool is surrounded by pink granite slabs incised with the names of over one hundred fallen police officers. Officers voluntarily guard the monument all day and night. View the location.
Buffalo Bayou Partnership is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance
New Monuments for New Cities (February 20, 2019 to August 15, 2019) Buffalo Bayou was selected as the inaugural site for this collaborative public art project organized by the High Line Network. Each High Line Network participant invited five of its city’s artists or artist groups to create proposals in the form of posters for new monuments. The posters were displayed in the form of light boxes integrated into benches designed and created by TXRX, beckoning visitors to reflect and enter the discourse on the meaning of monuments. Following Buffalo Bayou’s presentation, the 25 artworks were displayed in Austin, Chicago and Toronto, and will be displayed in New York City. Participating Houston artists were: Regina Agu, Jamal Cyrus, Delilah Montoya and Jimmy Castillo, Phillip Pyle, and Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolis.
Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern: Spatial Chromointerference (May 12, 2018 to April 7, 2019) BBP presented a unique site-specific environment by world-renowned artist Carlos Cruz-Diez (1923-2019) in the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. Cruz-Diez conceived an ephemeral and participatory work integrated into the architecture of the urban space, the objective being to radically change the experience of color. Thirty-two projectors were placed in the Cistern to project moving lattices of light on the columns, interior walls, walkways and on cubes floating in the shallow pool of water on the Cistern floor. This aerial projection, reinforced by its reflection on the water, created a space where everything lost its materiality. Color became not merely a visual object to see but a space to be experienced.
Encounter: Meeting Points on Buffalo Bayou (April 7, 2019) As part of our East Sector outreach, BBP collaborated with students from the University of Houston Graphic Design and Creative Writing Programs to present a one-day event with site-specific, text-based installations at six locations along Buffalo Bayou’s East Sector. Using the sites as inspiration and vehicles for content, the students created large scale typographic/text based messages/stories that activate and animate. The installations expressed interpretations of the history, economy, resilience, culture and community values of the East Sector neighborhoods as they relate to the bayou and green spaces. Encounter won a 2019 SEGD Global Design Award in the Public Installation category.
Rain: Magdalena Fernández at the Houston Cistern (December 10, 2016 to June 25, 2017) BBP and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston co-presented the inaugural art installation in the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern and featured 2iPM009 from Venezuelan artist Magdalena Fernández’s video series Mobile Paintings. 2iPM009, an abstract video-projection piece, lasted 1 minute and 56 seconds in length and evoked a rain-soaked night. The soundtrack is an acoustic montage that Fernández has meticulously edited, of sounds made by members of the a cappella Slovenian choir Pertuum Jazzile, who snap their fingers, slap the palms of their hands against their legs, and stamp their heels on wood to evoke both the drumming and gentle patter of rain. With ingenuity and humor, the artist constructs a language that, though concrete and deeply rooted in Constructivism and its legacy, challenges and transcends those parameters.
WE ARE THE ASTEROID III (June 14,2019 to September 8, 2019) A conceptual artwork by Brooklyn-based artist Justin Brice Guariglia. One of a series, the repurposed highway sign, featured text by Rice University professor Timothy Morton. Instead of alerting viewers to road conditions, the solar-powered LED message board featured aphorisms in the form of poetry, metaphor and humor, calling attention to ecological issues and prompting conversations about today’s planetary crisis.
Confluence: A Journey in Five Movements (October 3, 2015)
The New York-based Processional Arts Workshop helped us celebrate the opening of Buffalo Bayou Park in 2015 with Confluence: A Journey in Five Movements, a magical nighttime procession. Beautiful illuminated lanterns, ranging from turtles and butterflies to canoes, art cars and running shoes, snaked their way along the park’s trails while colorful Magnolia floats glided down the bayou. More than 400 volunteers from throughout Houston participated in month-long workshops to create the lanterns.
Buffalo Bayou Invasive Plant Eradication Unit (2011) Originally commissioned by the Houston Arts Alliance and BBP, artist Mark Dion responded to a key challenge facing that city’s wetlands: the proliferation of non-native species. Dion’s mobile unit is not only a work of art, but also a working outpost that supports volunteers as they remove invasive plants that negatively impact biodiversity. Blurring the distinction between the truck’s status as artwork and a functional tool is, as Dion has stated, “how an artist today makes a consideration of the landscape.”
Deeper Dive with BBP: Public Art
BBP’s VP of External Affairs, Karen Farber, and Board Member and Public Art and Programming Committee Co-Chair Judy Nyquist walk you through the impactful, engaging, and thoughtful temporary and permanent public art along the 10-mile stretch of Buffalo Bayou from Shepherd Drive to the Port of Houston Turning Basin.
Confluence: An Artful Evening
Originally created for and presented at the 2011 Buffalo Bayou Partnership Gala