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“Houston” Sculpture by Mac Whitney Located in Houston, Texas

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

"Houston" sculpture by Mac Whitney

"Houston" sculpture by Mac Whitney

Steel Sculpture Titled "Houston"

The "Houston" sculpture created by artist Mac Whitney is located in Stude Park near Studemont street here in Houston, Texas. It is installed along the White Oak Bayou where there are hiking and biking trails that extend for 7.4 miles.

  • This sculpture consists of ¾ inch steel that stands about 50 feet tall by 25 feet wide at its widest dimension.
  • Its weight comes in around 50,000 pounds!
  • It is painted a vivid shade of red. At times it has been the target for graffiti but on the day of our visit, it was graffiti free. It would be wonderful if it could remain that way!

It is impressive from all angles, and it adds nicely to the other public art in Houston.

My hubby and I have noticed this imposing red sculpture for years as we have driven from downtown Houston to the western suburbs where we live. Until recently we have only seen glimpses of it from Interstate 10. Yesterday as we were leaving the downtown area we decided that we would take a detour off of the Interstate highway and see if we could get a closer look at this sculptural creation. It was a beautiful day outside with temperatures in the low 70's, and many people were using the park for play, picnicking and exercise.

Artist Mac Whitney

This striking sculpture titled "Houston" was commissioned in 1979 by the City of Houston. It was completed in 1981 and was installed on land next to a bayou in 1982.

Mac Whitney was born in Kansas and attended one year of schooling at the College of Emporia. He graduated with his bachelor of arts degree from the Kansas State Teachers College. From Kansas University he matriculated with his master's degree in fine arts in 1968.

Mac Whitney taught art in Illinois for one year and has lived in Texas since 1969. His art studio is in Ovilla, Texas which is a small incorporated town within the city limits of Dallas.

Mr. Whitney has had numerous one-person exhibits in Texas and beyond. His works of art grace numerous museums as well as public places. We are lucky to have one of his massive steel sculptures gracing a park here in Houston.

White Oak Bayou

The watershed of White Oak Bayou drains about 111 square miles of the northwestern parts of our metropolitan area. The bayou and its tributaries generally flow in a southeastern direction from the northwest. They eventually join up with Buffalo Bayou near downtown Houston.

Much of the Houston area is very flat. These natural bayous function as a drainage system. Generally speaking they keep our city from being flooded. Occasionally with heavy downpours they sometimes overflow their banks. The local news media keeps us apprised of the flood stage. This is particularly important for the residents who live near the banks of these bayous.

Stude Park and Community Center

There is a multi-use community center located in Stude Park. The sculpture is situated in the park behind the community center. When open for business the community center offers classes ranging from art to aerobics as well as after-school enrichment programs. The park includes an indoor gym as well as a swimming pool, sports fields and more.

Families were having fun watching their children play on the playground equipment located next to the community center on the day of our visit. A few picnic tables are available for use at this location which were also being utilized.

Bike racks are located in front of the community center where bicycles can be rented for use along the paved pathways. Access to the hiking and biking trails along the bayou is available from this site as well as numerous other places.

Stude Park Mural

The photos above show a mural that is affixed to the red-brick Stude Community Center building. Artist Marsha Dorsey Outlaw designed and children executed this mural. It was funded by other entities.

The mural is an artistic capture of the community center building as well as the surrounding area including the "Houston" sculpture. It also features vehicles along Interstate 10 with some of downtown Houston buildings in the background.

A bench next to the children's playground serves as another unique piece of art.

Location of the "Houston" Sculpture at Stude Community Center and Park

© 2018 Peggy Woods

Comments

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 21, 2019:

Hi Dale,

Assuredly, this Mac Whitney sculpture is big. The pieces would probably have been created elsewhere and were possibly only assembled (as in welded together) on the spot. I am guessing this was the case because I did not see it put into place.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on April 20, 2019:

I wonder if it is nerve-racking to do your first sculpture like this one? It's right out in public and it's BIG. I'd be a mess!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 31, 2018:

Hi Pamela,

It is wonderful that your stepdaughter and her family are enjoying their new home in Magnolia. There are many things to do in the nearby Houston area if they are interested.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 31, 2018:

Hi Jackie,

I am happy to be able to introduce you to this park and sculpture.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 31, 2018:

My stepdaughter moved to Magnolia a few months ago and loves it there, where she lives with her husband and daughter. I am going to tell her about this sculpture in case she is unaware. They are active and would probably visit. Thanks for an interesting view of something unique to Houston.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on May 30, 2018:

Have never seen any of these Peggy. So very interesting. Thanks for sharing so many things of interest there!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 28, 2018:

Hi Liz,

I think that public art in parks is so nice and probably does draw more interest from people in visiting those places.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 28, 2018:

Hi Linda,

It is fun noticing this sculpture from the freeway but seeing it up close was even more fun. We would never have known about the other art in the park or about the community center there had we not taken the time to see it better.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 28, 2018:

Hello Bronwen,

I'm happy to be able to introduce you to this sculpture created by Mac Whitney. I agree with you that some graffiti art is really good but should be limited to authorized areas.

Liz Westwood from UK on May 28, 2018:

I enjoyed reading this article. The nearest I can think that we have to this in the UK is The Angel of the North in Gateshead, near Newcastle. Recent figures showed that visitor numbers to sculpture parks in the UK have grown recently.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 27, 2018:

The sculpture has a very cheerful and vibrant colour. It must be lovely to see it as you drive along the freeway. The other art in the park looks interesting as well.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on May 27, 2018:

I have never heard of this sculpture before, nor of the artist who created it. Thank you for an interesting introduction. We have problems here, too, with graffiti. Some of them are very good, but it would mostly be so much better if the artists confined themselves to more acceptable ways of displaying their prowess.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 27, 2018:

Hi Adrienne Janet Farricelli,

I believe that you would find many things of interest should you ever decide to visit Houston. If my writings are an enticement then I must be doing a good job! Glad you found this piece of sculpture interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 27, 2018:

Hi again manatita44,

My husband and I were in Barcelona for the summer Olympics many years ago and stayed on the Island of Mallorca. We were flown back and forth for the different events but also got to do some touring. That Sagrada Familia is absolutely amazing! We loved Guell Park also. Gaudi's work is amazing to see.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 27, 2018:

Hi Nell Rose,

Glad you liked the look of this sculpture by Mac Whitney. He is obviously very talented!

Adrienne Farricelli on May 27, 2018:

Interesting piece of art thanks for sharing its history. I guess Texas must now go to my list of places to visit.

manatita44 from london on May 27, 2018:

Ah Peggy.

So you have been there? Awesome. They are still working on the Sagrada familia. Is that the name?

I visited Austin and liked it more. Houston was too hot. So sorry.

Nell Rose from England on May 27, 2018:

Its an interesting sculpture. As you said it has to be seen from all angles. some I like others I hate, lol! but I do like this one. really interesting!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 27, 2018:

Hello Nithya,

The Stude Park mural is also worth viewing as are the benches. We found the entire space in addition to the sculpture titled "Houston" to be well worth visiting. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 27, 2018:

Hi Ann,

Most sculptures need to be viewed from all angles. As tall as this one was it was interesting to view it looking up towards the sky as well as other angles. Glad you liked this.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 27, 2018:

Hi Bill,

It is definitely a powerful sculpture, I agree. Thanks for your visit.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 27, 2018:

The sculpture is amazing, love the Stude Park Mural. Great photos and information, thank you for sharing.

Ann Carr from SW England on May 27, 2018:

What a great sculpture, Peggy! I love this sort of thing, modern or older. It's great that you've taken photos from all angles as I think one needs to see such work 'in the round' as it's designed to be looked at in this way. You also see the many angles and perspectives created by such a structure.

It looks like a lovely park and a great community space.

Great sculpture and a great read; thanks, Peggy!

Ann

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 27, 2018:

I like it....minimalist...stark....powerful!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 27, 2018:

Hi Mary,

It would take a long time to discover all that there is to see and do in Houston. I'll be showing more in the articles to come. Glad you like this!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 27, 2018:

A stunning piece of art. I wish I knew of this when we went to Houston but I think I have another reason to visit. You have portrayed Houston very well.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 27, 2018:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

It is sad when works of art are defaced with graffiti or some other type of messaging. I envision different things when looking at this sculpture depending upon which view. In the photo at the top I can see a dog sitting. That is the beauty of abstract art. Everyone can interpret it in their own manner.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 27, 2018:

Hi manatita44,

Perhaps you did not drive past on Interstate 10 or perhaps you were looking in the other direction towards downtown if you did pass it. This sculpture is located on the north side of the highway and has been in that location since 1982. I can see your reference to a modern day Gaudi after visiting some of his creations in Barcelona.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 27, 2018:

I wonder what possesses people to deface another person’s creative work? Such a sad thing that they’d do that even if they aren’t a fan. My daughter could probably tell me what meaning she sees in this sculpture.

manatita44 from london on May 27, 2018:

He seems gifted. A kind of modern day Gaudi. I spent two weeks there with my sister about 4 years ago. I don't remember it. Excellent! Vibrant colour!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 26, 2018:

Hi Frank,

We noticed this sculpture from the freeway for many years as we passed by. But to really appreciate it a person should see it up close and walk around it as we finally did. Happy to be able to show it to you and others via my photos.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 26, 2018:

Hi Louise,

It truly is an amazing sculpture when seen up close. Perhaps someday if you travel to Houston you will be able to see it and many other pieces of public art in our city.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on May 26, 2018:

what an amazing piece of art.. giving us our tower that leans... it's majestic and I'm sure everyone who sees it first hand would stand in awe... thank you for sharing this art... Peggy

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on May 26, 2018:

That sculpture looks amazing. I'd love to go and see this.