METRO Rededicates Art Installation by Renowned Artist Floyd Newsum
If you frequent the Third Ward neighborhood, chances are you've seen "The Tower" by Floyd Newsum, near the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Griggs Road. METRO hosted a rededication ceremony in August to celebrate the sculpture and reveal a new plaque, as well as a new location.
Attendees included METRO Chair Sanjay Ramabhadran, METRO President & CEO Tom Lambert, METRO board members, former State Rep. Garnet Coleman, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, State Rep. Jolanda Jones, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, and community members.
The art piece was initially commissioned by METRO and placed along the METRORail Purple Line in 2014. Following feedback from the community and Coleman, the sculpture was moved to a more prominent area near the intersection, and extra lighting was added to ensure the public can appreciate the piece at any time of day.
"Art deals with the human condition, and public art makes sure that people know that their community is something they can embrace," said Coleman. "This enhances our city, and it enhances our quality of life."
The installation is part of The Authority's commitment to urban design, which focuses on the look, feel and function of public spaces to shape quality of life in the Houston region.
"METRO's commissioning of 'The Tower' is an example of how public art can enhance the overall experience of public transportation and contribute to the identity of the transit system and the community it serves," said Ramabhadran.
METRO's Arts in Transit Program focuses on bringing character into transit spaces with imagery that reflects community identity and the region's unique diversity. The program takes a people-first approach, and in addition to commissioned sculptures near METRORail lines, METRO consistently collaborates with the community to create a vision for new and existing transit surroundings, such as bus shelters and other transit sites. In November 2022, the Authority joined the "Big Walls, Big Dreams" mural festival, offering large spaces at transit facilities that resulted in more than a dozen new murals.