Exploring the Rich Public Art of Harris County, Texas

Houston and its surrounding area of Harris County, Texas, are home to a variety of public transportation options, from METRO services to highways and transit hubs. The Houston TranStar Consortium is a unique partnership between the city of Houston, Harris County, METRO, and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) that provides coordinated emergency management and transportation services. This was made possible by the momentum and generous support of the Downtown Houston Management District and Harris County District One. The Automobile Assistance Program (MAP) is a collaboration between the Harris County Sheriff's Department, METRO, TxDOT, the Houston Automobile Dealers Association, and Cingular Wireless Telephone Company. The Army, Salvation Army, Harris County Highway Authority, amateur radio volunteers, American Red Cross, and local governments all come together to coordinate a quick and effective response.

The benefits of the Houston TranStar are well documented and quantified by the Texas Transportation Institute A&M, the transportation research arm of Texas A&M University. In addition to providing efficient transportation services, Harris County is also home to a number of public art pieces. Chief Jimoh Buraimoh, a Nigerian painter and artist, installed artwork as part of Commissioner Ellis' efforts to disseminate public works of art throughout Harris County. The artist was selected from among her colleagues through a competition created in collaboration with the University of Houston Downtown (UHD), and a committee of Houston art experts chose the work of art. Houston TranStar has also collaborated with the Harris County Flood Control District Flood Warning System to develop a highway flood warning system that alerts travelers to areas where flood risk is high during rains. Visitors to Alexander Deussen Park are greeted with a functional piece of public art designed and created by Texan artist David Adickes.

Located in the Harris County District Attorney's office in downtown Houston is the Lady of Justice statue, portrayed with her eyes covered, wielding the scales of justice and a sword. Houston is one of the few cities in the country with resident companies in the main disciplines of performing arts such as opera, musical theater, symphony, and ballet. Established in 1993, Houston TranStar is recognized worldwide for managing the transportation system of Southeast Texas and serving as the primary coordination center for state, county, and local agencies when responding to incidents and emergencies. It has also established a multimedia partnership with major media outlets in Houston. The El Franco Lee statue is another example of public art located in Harris County. Sculpted by artist Chas Fagan, it is the centerpiece of the El Franco Lee Service Plaza which surrounds the Harris County Jury Assembly building at 1201 Congress Street.

It was made possible by TotalEnergies and Harris County District One. By presenting a serene figure (a local adolescent) in a moment of quiet introspection, this artwork invites viewers to delve deeper into the complexities and challenges of mental well-being.

Nathaniel Hickert
Nathaniel Hickert

Devoted pop culture aficionado. Wannabe pop culture fanatic. Infuriatingly humble social media advocate. Subtly charming web junkie. Typical travel enthusiast.

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