Art Valet: Take a sculpture stroll down Heights Boulevard

David Adickes' We Love Houston at 1800 Heights Blvd. Photo by Kolanowski Studio

As reported in The Leader just a few weeks ago, True North, the annual sculpture project that runs the length of Heights Boulevard from the 400 to 1800 block, launched in March.

What makes a place a destination? Heights Boulevard has been the focal point of the neighborhood since the late 19th century when it was founded. Today, the tree-lined street still is the focal point for residents and visitors. Bike paths, multiple parks, seating areas and a walking trail always seem to invite the traveler to slow down, enjoy nature.

The True North sculpture project really makes Heights Boulevard a destination.

However you choose to traverse the boulevard, to view these eight sculptures, take your time. The curators for True North have a knack for bringing in the most imaginative sculptures. Some are head-scratchers, but all will definitely bring out the photographer in everyone.

Here are some highlights and the most likely sculptures you’ll find me gazing at slack-jawed.

At 400 Heights Blvd. is Heights resident Cary Reeder’s “Treeodesic Dome.” It’s a brightly colored, triangularly hand-cut translucent vinyl on vinyl panels attached to a galvanized steel, geodesic structure. It is inspired by the tree-filled Heights and an ode to the crepe myrtle.

Natural daylight casts the sculpture’s colorful shadows upon the interior and surrounding terrain, and the work is illuminated at night by solar lighting.

“I love this media because it mimics stained glass, interacting with light and creating spontaneous color mixtures,” Reeder said. “My work offers the viewer a moment into a fragile, jarring, changing and hopeful space filled with color and light.”

Moseying along to the 600 block is San Antonio artist Danville Chadbourne’s anthropological triptych installation of stoneware and stone based upon his interpretation of cultural artifacts. Next, find Austin artist Jamie Spinello’s enchanting aluminum sculpture “Allochory,” which is a representation of the triadic seed pod of the red yucca. It sits among other existing native Texas species in the 800 block.

Then you get to the surreal, towering, steel and paint sculpture “Stacked Pillows,” created by Lubbock's William Cannings in the 900 block. The news release described them as evoking images of glorious slumber. That may be, but I see lines of people waiting to snap a selfie in front of the three high-stacked pillows. Defying the laws of nature, too, I might add.

Next up in the 1200 block, from the man who brought us a giant head of cabbage in the last edition of True North, Houston's Bill Peck, is a bright, timely themed steel and paint sculpture titled “Searching for Balance.” A snapshot of the complexity of a family’s daily life is depicted through the medium of a beloved childhood playground apparatus, the seesaw.

The 1300 block features a work by Houston's Anthony Suber that is a mathematically designed steel frame and patinaed wood sculpture. "Ancestor," a cardinal mask and human form, is the artist’s vision of an ancestor seeing him through the lens of this beautiful, colorful bird. This piece is amazing.

Julia Ousley of Dallas has the 1600 block. Her sculpture depicts a cityscape and multitudes of human forms. The thought-provoking “Onward and Upward” is made of CorTen steel. The human forms are at the top of this piece. It is mesmerizing.

Last and certainly not least in the 1800 block is "Three Colorful Friendly Trees," a cast concrete sculpture from 94-year-old Texas art icon David Adickes.

By the way, you can purchase these sculptures!

The Houston Heights Association is the nonprofit sponsor for True North.

More information about True North and the 2021 lineup of artists can be found at True North is on Facebook and Instagram @TrueNorthHeightsBlvd.

Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at for additional highlights and artist’s stories.

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