An Insider’s Guide to Outdoor Sculptures in Houston

Double Physichromie is located outside the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston. Image: Morris Malakoff/Image ©️ University of Houston System Public Art

Complete infrastructure from parks and even shopping malls, public art has intertwined with Houston’s urban design, contributing as a symbol of hometown pride and cultural appreciation. As one of many art forms across the city, carvings in stone, wood and other materials have become a centerpiece in the city’s diverse communities, with over 600 works of public art in the streets of Houston. While you may have come across a living work of art on your travels downtown or up high, take a look at these hidden outdoor sculptures that surreptitiously beautify the city.

Double Physichromy

3511, boul. Cullen

Although this piece may look like a mix of reds and blues, the color of this geometric sculpture does not actually exist. Through parallel lines of color that intersect on the plane, Double Physichromy explores the concept of additive color. Behind the abstract piece is Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez. The sculpture is located outside the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work and includes more than 2,000 aluminum pieces.

Giant Beatles statues

2202 Dallas Street

In the backyard of the 8th Wonder Brewery, music legends John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr come together for a thrilling artistic experience. The giant concrete statues stand a towering 36ft tall and were created by David Adickes, who is also credited with other works across the city, including a cello sculpture in the Theater District and the remarkable sign We Love Houston.

Move from place to place

4440, boul. bellaire

Placed at the heart of the Evelyn Rubenstein Memorial Garden is a 6,000 pound bronze sculpture depicting the tea scene in Alice in Wonderland. Houston artist Bridgette Mongeon combined traditional sculpting techniques with digital technology to bring the nine-foot figures to life. The coin was designed to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the novel and secretly features 150 details from the book; see if you can find them!

Fat Barbarian

7800-8150 Research Forest Dr

Mix of shapes and colored welded steel, Fat Barbarian is an abstract sculpture defined as a centerpiece of the Alden Bridge Village Center, a hub for restaurants, lounges and shops in The Woodlands. The 2,000-pound sculpture stands 15 feet tall and was created by artist Peter Reginato in 1998.

Fiesta Jarabe

Corner of Wheeler Street and Cullen Boulevard

Vibrant fiberglass brings the beauty of the Jarabe Tapatío, a traditional Mexican hat dance, to life at the University of Houston. Standing 10 feet tall, the sculpture was created by the late Luis Jiménez, a former UH professor who grew up in El Paso. Jiménez’s work has been influenced by Hispanic and Latino culture. There are five versions of the coin across the country, each featuring slight variations and unique colors.

The dreamer

Intersection of West Panther Creek and Woodlands Parkway

Relaxing under the shady trees and meditative skies of The Woodlands is The dreamer, a 17-foot-long bronze sculpture of a man half-submerged in the ground. The piece was installed in 1989 by David Phelps, a California native known for using his work to illustrate the connections between humanity, place and landscape.

owl sculpture

Located on Kelvin Drive, north of University Boulevard

ALuminous blue owls keep a watchful eye on Rice Village. Metal sculptor Nathan Marby from California was inspired to create this piece as a tribute to the Rice University owls. These origami-like sculptures took approximately 18 months to create and depict elements of surrealism, antiquity and contemporary life.