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New Downtown Art Installation Adds Color to the Typical Workday

20 Square Feet is an installation of large-scale art works located downtown in the Continental Center at 1600 Smith Street. 


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An exhibit, featuring 19 pieces of art that are all at least 20 square feet in size, is gracing the concourse level at 1600 Smith Street. Pieces created by local Houston and Austin artists are displayed on two freestanding walls and are meant to bring dimension and life to the sleek gray marble concourse.

The exhibition is one of about 450 visual and performing art shows put on by the Arts Brookfield program every year. Matt Adams is an independent curator and president of the Visual Arts Alliance. When Arts Brookfield asked him to coordinate this downtown exhibit he was inspired by the space.

“This is a very large corporate space. A lot of foot traffic through here. In thinking about the size of this space, I had an idea of doing a show devoted to large works of art. This space allows that to happen, so the building actually informed the exhibition.”

One way for artists to get their work to the public is to enter juried art exhibitions. In the case of the 20 Square Feet exhibit, 70 artists submitted more than 170 pieces for consideration. Adams then had the tough job of choosing only 19 works.

The exhibit is now on display and an opening reception for the exhibiting artists will be held this Friday evening from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Continental Center. Adams explains what makes this exhibit so unique.

“This show is the first show in Houston to be devoted to large works of art. In addition to that, nine of the nineteen artists are allowing people to select an area of their work, and the artist will cut out the area that the person chooses. This has not happened in Houston before, so this exhibition in particular offers the Houston art community something unique.”

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He says 20 Square Feet, Arts Brookfield and the Visual Arts Alliance bring local artists an opportunity to present their work and give Houstonians a varied, rich and stimulating art scene.

“If I’m sitting at home on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night it is because I want to, not because there’s nothing going on.”

The 20 Square Feet exhibit will run through the end of January.