The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) recently announced the selection of two local artists whose work will become an integral part of the new Sunnyside Health and Multi-Service Center.
Creative concepts from Houston-based visual artists Jesse Lott and Irene Antonia Diane Reece were selected out of more than 92 artists and artists groups for commissioning and will debut with the opening of the new facility.
“Our city’s multi-service centers provide social services for communities in Houston and address the needs and well-being of multiple generations – from our elders to our young mothers and their children,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Having artwork that captures the unique character of our local communities and the richness of our histories and cultures will make our multi-service centers feel like an extension of home.”
Houston renowned artist, a long-time Fifth Ward resident, and recently named Texas State three-dimensional artist for 2022, Jesse Lott, will create The Dreamcatcher, a sculpture to be installed on the exterior of the center. The community will have a hand in deciding key elements of this work.
“The voices of local residents will help guide the central imagery of the sculpture—whether it’s a sun, a family, or another element that encompasses the spirit of Sunnyside,” said Lott. “The community will also be engaged to source materials that are authentic to the neighborhood for incorporation into The Dreamcatcher.”
Native Houstonian, contemporary artist, and visual activist Reece will produce That Sunnyside Pride, a collection of original photographs to be featured in the interior public entrance of the center. Reece plans to invite the community to be a part of the photography selection process to ensure historical and present-day attributes of Sunnyside are represented.
“It’s important that this body of work showcases every aspect of [Sunnyside’s] authenticity,” said Reece. “I want to include and uplift the community’s multi-generational voices by featuring the families, community leaders, and historical sites that makeup Sunnyside.”
The Sunnyside Health and Multi-Service Center art project was made possible through the City of Houston’s Civic Art Program, managed by MOCA, which provides exciting opportunities for Houstonians and visitors to engage with art in public spaces. Under contract and in partnership with MOCA, Houston Arts Alliance administers these city-funded public opportunities to acquire, manage and conserve the City of Houston’s public art pieces.
MOCA congratulated these visionary artists as they embark on their projects and thanked all applicants for their dedication to the arts in Houston.
“We are more than excited to see art commissions developed for the City by such accomplished artists and are embracing this work as a tremendous opportunity to support intergenerational collaboration and to encourage community engagement for the sake of art,” said MOCA director Necole Irvin. “Both artists will bring to our collection artworks imbued with qualities and characteristics unique to Sunnyside, borne from their working closely with residents from the neighborhood.”
Operated by the Houston Health Department, the Center will provide social services, including educational and technology resources, access to healthy nutrition, senior services, and more.
The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs guides the City’s cultural investments with policies and initiatives that expand access to arts and cultural programs in the community, attract visitors and leverage private investment. To learn more about the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, please visit them at www.houstontx.gov/culturalaffairs.