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67-foot mobile greets convention-goers, Avenida Houston visitors

Houston • Nov. 21, 2016

Commissioned artwork gives George R. Brown pleasing new aesthetic

Artist Ed Wilson, above, is flanked from left to right by HFC's Christine West, Houston Art Alliance's Sara Kellner and lighting designer Christina Gianelli.

HOUSTON -- Ed Wilson’s Soaring In The Clouds, an artwork commissioned by Houston First Corporation for the redesigned lobby of the George R. Brown Convention Center, was dedicated November 10 by dignitaries representing Houston First and the local arts community.

A 67-foot mobile of bird and cloud forms made of perforated stainless steel, Soaring In the Clouds is suspended from the ceiling and dramatically lit by changing LED theater lights. More than 200 individual forms, each molded and shaped by hand using a pneumatic press designed by the artist, hang from cables on the ceiling and move with the airflow in the building.

“When Houston First set out to create a new, long-term plan for the George R. Brown, public art was an integral part of that re-envisioning effort,” said David Mincberg, chairman of Houston First, a local-government corporation that operates the downtown convention center. “The goal was to incorporate dramatic pieces of art that would help bring character and life to this building and the Avenida Houston district that surrounds the convention center.”

Last spring, Wilson was awarded $830,000 to produce a large-scale work of art as part of the convention center’s major renovation.  

“We believe the vibrant sculpture Ed Wilson has created will be visible from the entire Avenida Houston campus and will invite people into this building like never before,” Mincberg added. “Aesthetics like these will improve the convention-goer’s experience and attract art lovers from throughout a region that now numbers 6.5 million people. That’s a big built-in audience. ”

Other Avenida Houston developments  include creating a new façade for the George R. Brown, converting the traffic boulevard in front of the building into a pedestrian-friendly outdoor space, adding interactive exterior art pieces, and adding a series of five new restaurants. Each work area  is expected to be completed by January, in time for Houston to host Super Bowl LI.

About Houston First Corporation
Houston First Corporation operates the city's finest convention and arts facilities to position Houston as a world-class destination. Houston First owns Hilton Americas-Houston and manages 11 city-owned buildings, plazas and parking facilities. Properties include the George R. Brown Convention Center, Miller Outdoor Theatre, Wortham Center and Jones Hall. For more information, log on to HoustonFirst.com.