A number of people may have used their ample free time in the last few months to bike or drive on a tour of the area’s murals and mini-murals.
Thanks to a new digital map, www.houstonmuralmap.com, finding them is now that much easier.
According to a news release, the Houston Mural Map includes more than 500 murals and 250 mini-murals, the latter of which are painted on utility boxes near street intersections. The map also includes other significant public and street art installations in Houston.
UP Art Studio spearheaded the website, which shows the locations of murals sourced by the firm, along with its network of artists, community partners and volunteer mural hunters. UP Art Studio founders Noah and Elia Quiles started the mini-mural project to turn traffic signal control cabinets in Houston into art.
The murals included on the map are a snapshot as of this month. Elia Quiles said the site allows people to search by artist or by community. When visitors click a pin on the map, they will see photos of the murals and learn about both the mural and the artist, if known. Website visitors are encouraged to post their photos to social media with #HoustonMuralMap.
To create a do-it-yourself tour, visitors can cut and paste the sites of specific murals, from the Houston Mural Map, into a new map they create using My Maps. A saved set of directions from the map will set people out to view them by vehicle, bike or on foot.
The site also includes a form to submit additional murals and artist information for the map.
“These murals are the creative face of Houston – and they make our city streets so much more lively, colorful, human and uplifting,” Elia Quiles said.
Added Noah Quiles: “We’re excited to give the community this map, so that everyone can share our passion about murals.”
To create the online map, UP Art Studio worked with website developer Alex Barber, mural hunters El Muralcho, @colors_on_hou and @houstonmuralspot, and management districts including Greater East End Management District, Midtown Management District, Arts District Houston, and Greater Northside Management District.
Local artists who helped are the Hue Mural Festival, Amy Malkan, Anat Ronen, Armando Castelan, Donkeeboy, Sylvia Roman (Donkeemom), Jesse De Leon, Jessica Rice, Nicky Davis, Reginald Adams, Sebastien “MrD1987” Boileau and Shelbi Nicole.
The map is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance, with a Let Creativity Happen Digital Grant, 2020. The fiscal sponsor is Fresh Arts.
Mini-mural artist Jessica Padilla, the creator of several murals in the Heights, Garden Oaks and Oak Forest area, is a big fan of the virtual map.
“Having photos and locations of murals compiled into one website makes it so much easier for me to share my work with family and friends that I don’t live near enough to take myself,” she said. “Especially right now during the pandemic, taking the kids out for a drive to discover new, local art would be a fun activity.”