Arts & Culture

Houston Fire Department Unveils Its First Mini Mural

The popularity of the colorful traffic light signal cabinets around town is spreading like, pardon the pun, wildfire.

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Houston firefighter Miguel Garcia was passing through the intersection of South Post Oak and Tidewater when he noticed a brightly-painted traffic signal cabinet on the corner. Then he got an idea.

"So we did a little research, got in touch with UP Art Studio, and got in touch with Noah," Garcia explained during Tuesday's unveiling at Houston Fire Department Station 59 in Southwest Houston. "And we told them what we had in mind and that it would be pretty cool for us to get our traffic box in front of our station painted."

It's part of the Mini Mural project organized by UP Art Studio. Curator and founder Noah Quiles said they'd never been approached by the fire department about getting a mural. So he reached out to the city.

"The firefighters wanted to fund it themselves," Quiles said. "And I said, ‘Absolutely not. Not with the work that you guys do for our community and the service that you do.'"

Houston District K Councilmember Larry Green has been instrumental in the success of the Mini Murals, which have popped up at dozens of intersections around Southwest Houston since last June. When Quiles came to him with this latest request, he didn't want to turn it down.

"When we were approached to do this particular project, we definitely wanted to make sure that it didn't have to come out of the firefighters' pocket and that the city could take up the expense. So we were pleased to do it," Green said at the even on Tuesday.

They recruited muralist Adam Socie, also known as Pilot FX, and the creative process began. The artist and firefighters met up beforehand to talk about how they wanted the box to look, making sure to include the station's logo. The result is a tough-looking cartoon bulldog emerging from black smoke and wearing a firefighter hat that says "59 Houston."

"Pretty much, it's putting pride in the community and putting pride in the area we work in," Garcia said. "You've got good firemen that are actually proud of serving the community around us."

The popularity is already beginning to grow. Quiles said they've gotten requests from other fire stations in the area, including a tribute to Houston's "Fallen Four," who lost their lives battling a hotel fire in 2013.

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