City Will Pay Up for Off-Brand Birds at GRB

CITY WILL PAY UP FOR OFF-BRAND BIRDS AT GRB George R. Brown Convention Center, Downtown, Houston, 77002After delaying the vote for 2 weeks, Houston’s city council has approved the reimbursement of Houston First for a bird-themed hanging sculpture that will come to roost in the updated George R. Brown Convention Center as its pre-Super Bowl renovations wrap up. The birds sparked an unanticipated funding debate earlier this month during which several councilmembers took issue with the already-partially-paid-for sculpture’s natural theme as not representative of Houston’s branding, which they asserted should revolve around NASA and global trade. “People come here, they don’t talk about the migration of birds,” said councilwoman Brenda Stardig. Others disagreed, pointing out that the city lies along the Central Flyway (one of the continent’s major bird migration routes) and draws flocks of birdwatchers annually. Mike Morris of the Houston Chronicle reports that Stardig is now “comfortable with the project because Houston First has committed to explain the artwork’s meaning and to promote the Port of Houston, NASA and other items elsewhere in the renovated convention center. ‘I need to understand that we are telling the full story so someone that does visit understands that that does represent a migration of birds,’ Stardig said, ‘and not just [that] it was a beautiful thing they happened to see while they were in Houston.'” Meanwhile, artist Ed Wilson was caught off-guard when debate sprang up around assertions about his work’s meaning that he says came entirely from Houston First — Wilson says that the sculpture “is not a political statement, it’s not a branding statement, it’s just about the aesthetics, making something beautiful, activating the space, responding to the space and responding to the people coming through there.” [Houston Chronicle] Photo: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool

5 Comment

  • Yes, because God forbid you put anything aesthetically “beautiful” in this city. The most popular cities in the world contain all kinds of beautiful works just for the hell of it.

  • How can someone who represents Houston NOT know that birding is a multi-million dollar business for the Houston/Galveston region? People come here from all over the world to complete their life lists and see rare birds. Stardig’s hissy fit over this sculpture had me *smh*

  • I’ve never seen artist Ed Wilson referred to as “Eddie” before.

  • Stardig is a realtor – her livelihood depends upon job growth and selling homes to people with those jobs (or with hopes of getting them – didn’t see that she mentioned oil and gas industry). She isn’t making any money off of the birding community. Maybe Stardig and the other disgruntled councilmembers might see the light that while they think the story of Houston should revolve around the space industry and the Port of Houston, a multifaceted vision of the city that includes art, nature and our growing diversity is actually a draw for visitors and potential residents.

  • Brenda is completely insane. In spring branch, everyone knows that.