Exclusively for Everyone
Public Art of the University of Houston System (Public Art UHS) engages academic and global communities in an open forum to promote dialogue about visual arts and its relevance to contemporary life. Through robust programing and a significant collection of publicly-accessible works by critically-important artists, it enriches the cultural and intellectual character of the University of Houston System, and reflects and connects its uniquely diverse audiences.
In 1966, the University of Houston Board of Regents voted to establish a policy that would dedicate one percent of the construction costs of all future building projects to acquire works of art. At the time, UH was undergoing an unprecedented construction boom, and the public art program was conceived to greatly enhance campus life as well as the prestige of the University at a local, regional and international level. In 1969, the state of Texas ratified the necessary legal framework for enabling the funding of public art from construction projects (currently not to exceed one percent of construction budgets). UH then became the first public university in Texas to formally adopt a percent for an art program.
Public Art UHS’s reach has grown along with the UH System. More than fifty years after its establishment, its programs and collection now span the four component universities of the UH System—University of Houston, University of Houston-Downtown, University of Houston-Clear Lake, and University of Houston-Victoria—as well as additional instructional sites in Sugar Land (UH), Pearland (UHCL), and Katy (UH/UHV), helping to make art accessible to millions of Texans. Its collection has matured into one of the most impressive public art collections in the country, with nearly 700 objects on view. The scope of these projects has increased dramatically over time, and Public Art UHS continues to expand its collection through commissions, site-specific installations, temporary public art projects, purchases and gifts.
María C. Gaztambide, Ph.D. serves as director and chief curator and Michael Guidry serves as curator of the Public Art UHS Collection.