Sugar Land - Missouri City Edition | September 2021

Art across thearea Over the past ve years, the city of Sugar Land has grown its public art program. Now, Missouri City leaders hope to do the same.

commission help us with prioritization of what we’re going to do rst and how we’re going to tackle it.” For one project in Sugar Land, Gray said the city partnered with two national mental health nonprots whose message, “It’s OK to not be OK,” will be displayed on four murals in the city. One mural at Brazos River Park is set to be dedicated on Sept. 8, after press time. Another mural at Memorial Park will be installed sometime in September. The murals will have QR codes that take visitors to free mental health services on the city’s website. “Public art can do so much for a community,” Gray said. Benets of public art Gray said the benets of a city having a public art program are numerous. “Art’s like a ngerprint, and it really makes a place unique,” she said. “It demonstrates that a city values innovation and creativity, and also the quality of life for the people that live in the city.” Sugar Land artist Charles Beyl said he was inspired by the city’s diversity and scenery for his mural “Sugar Land Fun,” located at the Imperial Park Recreation Center. As a children’s book illustrator, he said he hopes his cartoonish mural featuring local landmarks brings happiness to those who see it. “[Public art] really helps to unite the community,” Beyl said. “It gives people a sense of belonging, especially when they can use public art as a sense of, ‘Oh, this is my home. I love seeing this mural; I love seeing this sculpture.’” Both cities said their public art funding comes from hotel occupancy tax revenue, and in Sugar Land, additional funding is from the Sugar Land 4B Corp.—which is sales tax revenue. In scal year 2021-22, Missouri City’s public art budget is set at $50,000, while the city of Sugar Land’s is set at $250,000. “A public art program can be as cost eective or as expensive as you want it to be,” Mangum said. One place Missouri City hopes to add art that celebrates the history of the community is at Freedom Tree Park. A concept plan to develop land near the park includes a place for public art, Mangum said. “We have no idea what it will look like ... but we do have a spot for something that will help tell the story of Missouri City,” he said. The value of public art has the potential to have economic eects on a city by bringing in tourists or residents

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that will guide the future of art in the city, Parks & Recreation Director Jason Mangum said. “We’re really excited to nd out what they come up with… to see where they decide to focus,” he said. “Is it going to be on public sculptures? Is it going to be on murals? Is it going to be a combination of all of this?” While Missouri City’s public art program is just ramping up, the city of Sugar Land is on year ve of its public art plan that was drafted in 2016, said Suzanne Fernandez Gray, Sugar Land’s cultural arts manager. In the last year, no new art projects were installed in Sugar Land due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the cultural arts manager position being vacant for two years, Gray said. However, new arts projects are coming in the next 18 months, said Gray, who has been with the city since January. “The vision for the [public art] plan is to have public art that will beautify Sugar Land, strengthen community gathering places and build the city’s reputation as an arts and culture Missouri City’s public art collection includes three sculptures, a painting and a temporary art exhibit in the Visitors Center. Taft McWhorter was one of two artists behind Missouri City’s “Pursue your Passion” sculpture—a 20-foot-tall piece on Independence Boulevard between FM 1092 and 5th Street. “Art draws people together and creates community and conversations that lead to healthiness,” McWhorter said. “I thinkof art almost likemedicine for the soul.” Mangum said because art is personal, it is something a lot of people have opinions on, which is why it was important to create an arts and culture commission to lead the Art in Public Places Program. Thecommission,whichwas sworn in during the Aug. 2 City Council meeting, is composed of four community representatives, two art professionals and a curator with two open positions for design professionals. In addition to forming the public art plan, Magnum said the committee will decide when new art will be brought to the city. The commission met for the rst time Sept. 1. “We recognize that we can’t do it all at once,” Mangum said. “So, we’re really going to let this newly formed destination,” she said. Growing the program

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SOURCES: CITY OF SUGAR LAND, CITY OF MISSOURI CITYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

THE CITY OF SUGAR LAND IS IN THE PROCESS OF EVALUATING ITS ART COLLECTION AND THE PLACEMENT OF SOME PIECES. THIS MAP REFLECTS THE MOST RECENT INFORMATION AVAILABLE.

THE SEEKERS

PURSUE YOUR PASSION

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Twelve artists, including Taft McWhorter, have work in this art exhibition at the Missouri City Community Center.

McWhorter’s 2019 sculpture stands 20-foot-tall and contains positive messaging.

3 SUGAR LAND FUN

ANNETTE WILLIAMSONWISE BRIDGE

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Located in the Imperial Park Recreation Center, this mural by Charles Beyl is full of Sugar Land landmarks.

Located on Main Street near Hwy. 6, each panel of the bridge shows a dierent part of Sugar Land history.

5 SWEET TRANSFORMATION

CULTIVATE

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A trac box by Joy Chandler features monarch butteries, which are native to Sugar Land.

Installed in recognition of Sugar Land’s 60th anniversary, Cultivate’s colors represent the city’s agricultural roots.

for events, Mangum said. But he said tourism revenue is not the goal of the program right now. “While that would be a fantastic result of this, that’s not really the intent,” Mangum said. “The intent is making Missouri City a beautiful place to live, a great place to live, and to highlight the unique history and culture of Missouri City through art.”

When it comes to Missouri City’s public art program, Mangum said the possibilities are endless. “We’re at the infancy stages, and we’re excited to see where it’s going,” Mangum said.

For more information, visit communityimpact.com .

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SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • SEPTEMBER 2021

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