Murals with a Message: See Latest Works by Local Artists in Midtown Houston

Amidst a global pandemic
and a national lens focused on social justice issues, Midtown Houstonhas partnered with UP Art Studio to create relevant, unconventional mini murals in the district. The two organizations commissioned local artists Renee Victor and Armando Castelan to create works that confront prevailing issues in the world today with hopes of sparking important conversations that inspire healing and change.

Victor’s work is on display at San Jacinto and Gray St. and is titled “Not Today Corona” signaling that Houstonians are resilient, caring of others, and committed to pulling through these unprecedented times together. In usual UP Art fashion, the mural is displayed on a traffic box, fusing the worlds of art and urban infrastructure to meet commuters and explorers wherever they are.

“I chose yellow as the base color as we need to stay optimistic during this time and to add some visual cheer. It’s meant to be a playful yet sobering reminder to follow health guidelines to beat COVID,” said Victor.

Armando Castelan’s mini mural captures the country’s current reckoning with racism and features paintings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Colin Kaepernick, and Breonna Taylor. It also includes representation of children from different backgrounds to capture what a truly inclusive community might look like.

“I thought it was important that the artists selected used this opportunity to create work that was relevant and important to them,” said Cynthia Alvarado, Operations Manager at the Midtown Management District. “I believe that art should bring joy, and enhance the community in a meaningful way. I also believe that art should evoke change and inspire us all to reflect on how we can contribute to making the world a better place, starting with our own neighborhood.”

Castelan’s mural is located at Austin and Gray St. and is titled BLM, an acronym for Black Lives Matter.

UP Art Studio’s award-winning Mini Murals project takes traffic signal control cabinets and converts them into works of art. They have more than 300 mini murals currently on display. Click here to learn more.

Midtown Houston is a state-designated Cultural Arts and Entertainment District. Click here for more information on the district.