International artist C. Finley begins monumental mural to beautify downtown Houston
Downtown Houston will get a colorful splash of art with local inspiration, thanks to the work of an international artist.
WEDGE Group, a privately held Houston-based investment firm, announced the start of a monumental mural installation on the façade of the 1415 Louisiana parking garage in Downtown.
C. Finley, a visual artist based in New York and Rome, was commissioned to create a site-specific artwork for the nearly 30,000-square-foot space. Sky Dance celebrates Houston’s arts and culture and adds vibrant color and femininity to the Downtown landscape. Finley began the mural on Wednesday, March 21, with completion expected in mid-April.
“1415 Louisiana was originally designed as a twin tower, but a number of stalled projects over the years have left us with a massive blank wall,” said Gregory Armstrong, president and CEO of the WEDGE Group. “When I stumbled across Finley’s work in downtown Los Angeles, I was transfixed. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring colorful energy to Downtown while celebrating Houston’s arts scene.”
Finley’s art reflects her interests in color theory, geometry and women’s work. She is known for her activism through urban interventions. Previous projects include Wallpapered Dumpsters and the 2014/17 Whitney Houston Biennial: I’m Every Woman. She has shown internationally with exhibitions at Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna; Superchief Gallery, Los Angeles; Jenn Singer Gallery, New York; Context/Art, Miami; Scope, Miami and New York. Finley received her BFA from the Pratt Institute, New York and her MFA from California State University, Long Beach.
“I am honored and delighted to be creating a mural for the people of Houston,” said Finley. “Sky Dance celebrates the city and adds a pop of color and joie de vivre to Downtown Houston.”
Finley used portraits of three leaping dancers from Houston Ballet for this work, her largest public art commission to date and, at 230 feet wide and 130 feet tall, the largest mural ever realized in Houston. Captured mid-jeté en avant, the figures of soloist Mónica Gómez, first soloist Nozomi Iijima and first soloist Allison Miller are meant to evoke empowerment and joy.
“Houston’s arts community plays a primary role in making our city an international cultural destination,” said Jim Nelson, executive director of Houston Ballet. “Artistic projects like Sky Dance do so much to enhance Houston’s unique personality and Houston Ballet is thrilled to be a part of this celebratory project that beautifully captures our dancers and the dynamic spirit of our community. We look forward to this mural being on display for years to come as Houston Ballet continues its mission to bring people together through artistry and dance.”
The mural is being completed in partnership with the Houston Downtown Management District (Downtown District) and its Art Blocks initiative, which aims to repurpose and reenergize under-realized spaces through public art that is accessible to all.
“This brilliant collaboration with WEDGE and Houston Ballet infuses an unexpected pop of color and vibrancy into an office-centric part of Downtown,” said Bob Eury, executive director of the Downtown District. “Sky Dance will be a welcome addition to Downtown’s already extensive roster of public art, from large-scale sculptures to Instagrammable wall murals, making art accessible to even the casual passersby.”
For more information visit DowntownDistrict.org or DowntownHouston.org.