Public Art of the University of Houston System (Public Art UHS) is an ambitious program engaging academic and global communities in an open forum to promote dialogue about visual arts and its relevance to contemporary life. The distinguished publicly-accessible artworks enrich the cultural and intellectual character of the University of Houston System, and reflect and connect our 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.
Fifty years later, the collection has matured to be one of the most significant public art programs in the country. With deep roots in the advancement of knowledge, our collection is an epicenter where diverse communities and cutting-edge art converge. The collection continues to grow through commissions, temporary installations, acquisitions, gifts and cross-disciplinary education and outreach programming.
Hundreds of artworks are on view at the University of Houston, University of Houston at Sugar Land, University of Houston-Downtown, University of Houston-Clear Lake and University of Houston-Victoria. Works include those by Carlos Cruz-Diez, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Margo Sawyer, Alyson Shotz, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol.
María C. Gaztambide, Ph.D. serves as director and chief curator and Michael Guidry serves as curator of the Public Art UHS collection.