“Tree and Three Flowers” by noted artist and sculptor James Surls will be installed this weekend in the median on Kirby Drive south of Westheimer.
Commissioned by the Upper Kirby District as part of its Public Arts Initiative, the 38-foot high sculpture is intended to signify growth and potential, serve as a magnet for tourism and commercial patronage, inspire creativity and add to the community’s sense of place.
Formal dedication of “Surls on Kirby” will be Tuesday, April 8, at 10:15 a.m. at West Ave, 2800 Kirby Dr. Speakers at the dedication include Syd Bailey, chairman of the Upper Kirby District Foundation; Houston Mayor Annise Parker; artist James Surls and Houston City Council Member Ellen Cohen.
The project has been coordinated by the Upper Kirby District Foundation, a 50/50 public-private partnership that leverages TIRZ and Upper Kirby Management participation, as well as private donations.
Born in Terrell, Surls is a graduate of Sam Houston State Teachers College and the acclaimed Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. He creates sculptures of wood, steel or bronze that reflect his unique sensibility to natural forms. His work has been in many group and solo exhibitions in the U.S and around the world. He is proudest of these three: Visions at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1984; James Surls – In the Meadows and Beyond, Meadows Museum of Art, SMU, Dallas, Texas, 2003; and James Surls: The Splendora Years 1977-1997, University of Houston Blaffer Gallery, 2005.
Surls lived for 20 years in Splendora, near Houston, during which time he established Lawndale Art Center, an artists’ enclave. Previously, he taught at SMU from 1969 – 1976. In 1997, Surls moved to Carbondale, CO, near Aspen, where he maintains a studio and is active in the communities in the Roaring Fork Valley.