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Public Art Project

Supporting the vision of George Mitchell, the founder of The Woodlands, and the mission of The Woodlands Arts Council to promote public art and the creative economy, 30 Art Benches and 6 Art Bike Racks have been commissioned and installed in The Woodlands in partnership with The Woodlands Township.

Walk from The Woodlands Mall to Town Green Park and visit Hughes Landing to enjoy the beauty and practicality of these one-of-a-kind Art Benches designed by local, national, and international artists. Each bench was underwritten by local companies or individuals that submitted answers to questions that pertained to the location of the bench and their feelings about that location. The artists then created their designs for submission and were chosen by the underwriter.

This program is ongoing, continues to beautify our community, and supports our mission to promote art in the community. The Woodlands has one of the largest collections of public art in the country.

Some of the 30 benches and 6 bike racks are interactive, such as The Urban Conga bench modeled after a xylophone, or lit from within and glowing as in the Light Balls Bench, or the giant yellow Woodlands Wind-O, an architectural window-frame bench, as well as benches reflective of the natural surroundings as in the fanciful Umbrella Tree Bench.

For more information on becoming an underwriter, Contact Us!

Underwritten by The Family of Chris & Jayla Davis,
In Loving Memory of Nana (Nola)

"Joyous Journey"

"Joyous Journey" is designed to be the Highlight of the Path, a heartfelt homage to the underwriter's beloved mother, Nana. Inspired by the bead maze toy, it aims to infuse vibrant interactivity into a functional art piece. By allowing the beads to rotate and some to freely slide along the wire, the colorful bike rack evokes a sense of intrigue, inclusiveness and playfulness in those who encounter it.

Jana Zaatreh, an architectural engineer and internationally-represented artist, proudly calls The Woodlands, TX her artistic home.

Artist: Jana Zaatreh, The Woodlands, TX

Underwritten by The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

"5th Symphony Hedge"

In trying to merge nature and music for a practical bike rack for the Pavilion, what better musical notes on a hedge next to a violin than the opening motif of the 5th Symphony? “This is the sound of fate knocking at the door,” said Beethoven.

Even though Carolina Gonzalez has been an interior muralist for over 20 years, she has always wanted the opportunity to create art pieces in public areas. The fact that a “usable” item can also tell a story or be an artistic expression and simultaneously “beautify” a public area is just brilliant to her.

Artist: Carolina González, Houston, TX

Underwritten by Chris & Jenny Elmi, The Elmi Group


The Woodlands is known for the abundance of nature and strong sense of community. The artists of this bike rack believe that art and design should speak of the beauty of life and nature as well as be able to evoke positive emotions. They want their art to be a reminder of how much art can influence the community.

Artists: Michelle Old, Stacy Moore, & Kevin Giuseppetti,
The Woodlands, TX

Underwritten by James, Janet, Sarah & Maggie Stilwell

"Faith, Hope & Love"

Biking in the Woodlands is such a popular activity that this bike rack should be very popular as well. The three riders can be seen to express Faith, Hope, and Love.

“We have faith that art can not only evoke feelings, but also be super functional. We hope others will be inspired when they come across this bike rack. We love being able to bring additional beauty to this area” said underwriter James Stilwell.

Artist: Robert Heintzelman, The Woodlands, TX

Underwritten by Give Back Bike Rack Donors

"Tokens of Graditude"

"Tokens of Gratitude" was funded by The Woodlands Arts Council's 2021 Giving Tuesday Campaign. The 50 donors' names are displayed on the tokens, conveying the nature of generosity, gratitude and unity in our community.

Artist: Juan Abugaber, The Woodlands, TX

Underwritten by The Rieser Family Foundation


Coming Soon!

Artists: Michelle Old, Stacy Moore, & Kevin Giueseppetti,
The Woodlands, TX
Underwritten by Bruce & Diana Tough 

"State of Texas"

“State of Texas” is made of natural and industrial elements. The sitting area is a live edge cedar board with a smooth glossy surface for comfort. The Texas shaped metal back is a rustic and modern concept painted in the style of a turquoise gem which is symbolic of western design as well as the live edge cedar.

Local Houston artist Carolina González hoped to create a piece of public art that reflects patriotism for the state of Texas.

Artist: Carolina González, Houston, TX

Underwritten by Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center: Canopy 

"Sound of Healing"

In the artist’s words, “Our goal is to create an installation that embodies the journey to healing. We are proposing a sound element that directly relates to the windy characteristic of the site but also alludes to the tradition of ringing the bell at the end of a cancer treatment. A strategic number of delicate chimes resonate from the wind, creating the light sound of healing, while others are static with a structural function. One chime symbolizes the cancer free journey, the multiplication of this sound reminds one that you are not alone in this journey, the delicate chimes will represent the many bells that are rung every day.”

Artist: Michelle Old, Kevin Giuseppetti, Stacy Moore, & Derek Giuseppetti

Underwritten by James, Janet, Sarah, and Maggie Stilwell 

"Discovery Art Bench"

“Discovery Art Bench” is made up of three separate structures that represent different cognitive skills. Section 1: Recognize (CHICKA CHICKA BOOM BOOM theme); Section 2: See (THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR theme); Section 3: Feel (WINNIE THE POOH theme)

The Giuseppetti’s believe “Art and design should speak of the beauty of life and nature as well as be able to evoke positive emotions. Our art is a reminder of how much wonder there is to be explored and the discovery process that can be achieved through public art.”

Artist: Michelle Old, Kevin Giuseppetti, Stacy Moore, & Derek Giuseppetti

Underwritten by Frank & Maria Holmes in memory of their son Yancey M. Holmes 

"Angel Wings"

“I refer to my benches as functional sculpture,” says Artist Jim Weitzel, “From a technical standpoint my work is produced with the intention of lasting for decade after decade.”

With its wings that soar into the sky, “Angel Wings” carries a special message in a heart shaped poem attached to its back written by underwriter Maria Holmes.

“Our memories build a special bridge

When loved ones have to part,

To help us feel with them still, and

Span the years of our lives,

Preserving ties that bind, and

Bring us peace of mind.”

Artist: Jim Weitzel

Underwritten by Margarita Sesma de Tricio in loving memory of Martin Tricio Montaña 

"Free Spirit"

For thousands of years and across innumerable cultures, feathers have represented a connection to the spiritual. They are not only a physical symbol of flight and freedom, but also symbolic of spiritual evolution. Universally, feathers are a positive and uplifting image, bringing to mind freedom, truth, courage, travel, spirituality and more. No matter your age or cultural background, this artwork is immediately recognizable as an uplifting symbol of freedom and happiness. The “Free Spirit” bench is light-hearted and whimsical. It speaks to the childhood wonder of discovering the world around you and spreading your wings in the pursuit of pure joy.

Artist: Paul Reimer

Underwritten by Tom & Patricia Pursley
Dedicated to all who have served our Country

"Seated with Santiago"

“Seated With Santiago” is inspired by the main character in Ernest Hemingway’s novel, The Old Man and the Sea. Santiago must overcome impossible adversity to return to shore with his catch. His heroism is in his solitary resolve and resilience, much like all of us. Worn, weary, and bearing new hard-won scars we find there is dignity and pride in the fight. Sometimes the strength is found in quiet moments, pondering the waves and what unites us.

Looking over Town Green park six other art benches are visible when sitting on “Seated with Santiago”.

Artist: Michael O'Brien

Underwritten by Amy Cope-Gibbs & Jon Gibbs 

"Mystical Senses"

In the artist’s words, “Mystical Senses is an Art Bench sculpture that is an open invitation to the infinitely magical experience of nature and the circle of life, surrounding one complete sensory immersion.”

The magical “Mystical Senses,” located at the base of The Woodlands Waterway water wall near Riva Row Boat House, is a perfect spot to meet a friend where you are enveloped by the senses of nature.

Artist: Gaston Carrio, resides in Houston, a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Underwritten by Heather, Shin & Seth Dickens 

"Texas Dawn Water Lily"

“The Texas Dawn Water Lily” was inspired by the Dickens family’s vision of the native splendor of the ecosystem combined with the urban reality of Waterway Square. Thornley captures this vision through natural symbols of interdependence, the cycles of life, and our stewardship of lands and waters.

The vision of the Art Bench Project aligns clearly with Thornley’s goals as an artist – art that evokes a meaningful connection to others, a relationship with the natural setting as inspiration for creative expression, and art that is intentional, people-centric, and holistic.

The “Texas Dawn Water Lily” Art Bench, located on the Southside of The Woodlands Waterway across from The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do what you might have dreamed of as a child: sit on a water lily pad and enjoy the view.

Artist: Kyle Thornley, Revelstoke, BC, Canada

Green bean-shaped bench with yellow, orange, and red circles
Underwritten by: Gayle & Todd Kuoni 



After graduating from San Francisco Art Institute, Valerie Theberge moved to China to study the Chinese language and Chinese painting. She later trained in Hong Kong with a British company that specialized in the art of mosaics.

She currently resides in Washington, DC, and her portfolio includes projects in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, India and the United States.

Underwritten by Debbie & Sparky Gullo 

"You Are Loved"

“You Are LOVED” uses words that carry great emotion to create a memorial bench with a playful feature celebrating the life of the underwriters’ son, Austin Gullo.

Old, Moore, and Giuseppetti work together at the regional architectural firm, Kirksey Architects, and drew on their experience with professional projects to bring their Art Bench to life. Each collaborator has a different role in architecture.

The “You Are Loved” bench, located at the Lower Town Green Park, celebrates a son’s life with its bright red letters spelling out “loved.” It will surely be a favorite for engagement, wedding and anniversary photos.

Artists: Michelle Old, Stacy Moore, Kevin Giuseppetti, The Woodlands, TX

Underwritten by Beth & Doug Grijalva 


“Penstemon” was intended to create a destination that allows people to appreciate the subdued surroundings of the site. Hornung’s design uses color and whimsy to remind people to slow down and savor the beauty of nature around them.

The artist’s objective is to create public art relevant to the community that resonates with the environment. Many pieces of his public art are located in Austin and Arlington, TX, and Arizona.

The lovely “Penstemon,” featuring giant bright pink flowers reaching for the sky, is situated on the hilltop behind the Montgomery County South Regional Library, and allows visitors to take in the subdued beauty of nature around them.

Artist: Daniel Hornung, Tucson, AZ.

Underwriten by: Dr. Robert & Renee Neville 

“Foot Rest”


Rod Flower, a Woodlands resident since 1998, enjoys a diverse art background that includes portraits, murals, illustration, sculpture and set design. A graduate of Oregon College of Art, Rod combined his love of narrative art and history in recreating scenes for galleries specializing in western art. Since 2005, Rod has drawn inspiration from collaborating with other artists, theater directors and interior designers in creating 3D artworks in foam.

With this versatile medium, used in conjunction with faux painting techniques, Rod had discovered his niche. From whimsical to classical sculpture, foam allowed Rod to interpret and combine elements of fantasy and realism, architecture and nature. Rod’s work can be found in collections from Canada and the United States, to Colombia, Brazil and France.

Bench with neon glowing balls holding wooden planks as seating
Underwritten by: The Howard Hughes Corporation 

"Light Balls Bench"


Manfred “KILI” Kielnhofer visited the technical College Linz where he took his final exam in 1995. Kielnhofer’s most famous work is, “Guardians of Time”, Festival of Lights (Berlin) at the French Cathedral, Berlin, Velotaxi 2011. In 2010, he developed the concept of Light Art Biennale Austria. His work includes both Public Art and exhibitions around the world including Berlin, Dubai, Venice and to the U.S. including New York, Michigan and Texas.

His work has been published since 2005 in Contemporary Arts magazines and collectible books including Masters Contemporary Arts in 2008 and EYES IN, cover page of World’s Innovative Creators & their Masterpieces.

Abstract stone bench
Underwritten by: The Woodlands Arts Council 

“Crete Bench Rest”


Victoria Goldstein, owner of VG Studio, is an international award-winning design/architectural design/urbanism firm based in Houston and Buenos Aires. They design across scales and are involved in projects activating public space, buildings, furniture, interiors, installations and exhibitions. VG Studio operates on boundaries between art, architecture and technology.

Crete Bench Rest was a class project overseen by Victoria Goldstein who is a Graduate Level Design Studio Professor at the University of Houston.

Red geometric bench
Underwritten by: David & Brenda Gottlieb 



Elizabeth’s art can be categorized into four themes: examining nature, searching for identity, telling stories, and expressing through geometric form. In her statement, she shares her thoughts such as seeing a triangle, square or circle as an "instant gestalt". She refers to these basic forms as “the sacred geometry”. “They hold a great visual power that all human beings can understand at a gut level. Think of the Great Pyramids in Egypt; their simple form rivets us with its overpowering grandeur. Think of the unassuming sugar cube; when examined closely with a magnifying glass, its beauty is breathtaking. And lastly, visualize the circle; it is a symbol of perfection and union understood around the world.

Elizabeth was born in Yokosuka, Japan and holds a MFA from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois. She was an Assistant Professor of Art from 1990 – 1995 until she became a full time artist in 1995. From the east coast to the west coast, her work is shown in galleries and exhibitions throughout the United States and Mexico.

Bench with amber backing that holds fossilized leaves
Underwritten by: Woodforest National Bank 



Luis Pavon’s first contact with art was with a painting of Sagasta Street in order to be accepted into an annual course in Architecture. Between 1966 and 1975, he completed his study at the School of Architecture of Seville and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. In Fuengirola, Malaga he directs as lead Architect with about 1,000 projects carried out between Costa del Sol Canary Islands and Morocco. His enthusiasm for artistic activity in general lead to his being named the Vocal Culture School Board Architects 1990 Malaga and founder of the Art Gallery of the College of Architects.

Pavon traveled from Malaga, Spain to be part of the unveiling of Phase 1 of The Art Bench Project in The Woodlands, TX. “Amber” weighs over 100 pounds and is made out of wood, corten steel and amber. Inside the amber are fossilized leaves that seem to float when the sunlight hits them.

Piano bench
Underwritten by: The Cynthia Woodlands Mitchell Pavilion 

“Ode to Joy”


Dan Skaggs holds a Masters Degree, Sculpture – C.S.U.L.B. (California State University at Long Beach) and has special commissions and exhibitions around the U.S. and New Zealand. He has won numerous awards including the Purchase Award at the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts. He taught Crafts & Sculpture for the Long Beach Unified School District, 3-D Design at Design Institute of San Diego, and Fine Arts, Product Design & Perspective Drawing at the Interior Designers Institute in Newport Beach, CA.

Ode to Joy is a piano made of white marble and black granite keys. The bench’s back is a staff with music notes that, when played, are Beethoven’s famous “Ode to Joy” melody.

Colorful bench with birds as the backing
Underwritten by: Gordy and Michelle Bunch 



Born in Angleton, Terrell Powell’s latest body of work reflects his memories and strong ties to rural life growing up in Texas. He paints a variety of media including oil, acrylic, and oil pastel with an increasing amount of work being produced on cutout metal.

Terrell’s work is inspired by past experiences, dreams and observation of the everyday life. Appreciative of bold and direct self- expression, Terrell’s artistic influences include children’s artwork and outsider or primitive artists.

Stone-like bench with trees on either end
Underwritten by: Highland Woods Health 

“Family Tree Bench”


Don Lawler, a professional stone sculptor from Stephensport, Kentucky, spent quite a bit of time chronicling his progress in creating Family Tree Bench. He started with a 9,000-pound stone that was more than ten feet in length. In his first blog post, he wrote about upgrading the scope of the project from six feet to eight feet wide.

In his second posting, his work concentrated on removing large sections from the center of the rock to create the bench shape. The project is completed in his third posting, showing close-ups of the detail in his leaf forms. The last and final posting details the precarious installation at the site via crane.

Wood bench with metal leaf-like backing
Underwritten by: Jeff and Deborah Coburn 



Initially trained as a welder at Sir Sanford Fleming College in Ontario, Canada, Owen received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from NSCAD University in Halifax and studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Académie in Amsterdam.

Owen uses salvaged steel objects, tools, car parts, and other discarded items to create what he describes as “freehand plasma cut historical patterns into salvaged tools and other salvaged steel.”

Rectangular granite bench
Underwritten by: Mitchell, Peggy, Nicholas and Patrick Hausman 



Chris Miller is a Vermont sculptor working with Granite, Wood and Marble. Chris began carving in 1976. Although largely self taught, he studied art in college and then anatomy and sculpture with the late Lothar Werslin of Sandgate, VT, drawing and anatomy under Billy Brauer of Warren, VT and worked alongside and collaborated with several of the county's top stone sculptors in nearby Barre, Vermont.

Red lightening bolt shaped bench
Underwritten by: Strike 

“Unmasked Symbiosis”


Gaston was born in Argentina where he began his studies of architecture, but drawing and painting have always been a part of his life.

After moving to Houston in 2012, Gaston gave up his successful career in architecture to become a full-time artist. His paintings are collected nationally and internationally.

In 2017, he began training and purchased the latest technology to transition into sculptural work. Gaston has published two books, Art by Architects-New York 2009 and 2011 Collection - Los Caprichosos. He is currently working on a 10-year retrospective of his work: Gaston Carrio 2007-2017.

Big yellow frame bench
Underwritten by: Michael & Vicki Richmond 

“The Woodlands Wind-O”


STEREOTANK is a design studio founded by Marcelo Ertorteguy and Sara Valente, dedicated to the research and exploration of the common grounds between architecture, art and sound.

They both graduated from The School of Architecture and Urbanism of The Universidad Central de Venezuela in 2005 and pursued a Masters of Science degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University, graduating with honors in 2007.

Ertorteguy and Valente spent 10 years working in architecture and public art in New York City before moving to Miami in 2017. They currently teach at Florida International University School of Architecture.

Flat rock as a bench with metal tree on the side
Underwritten by: The Dorman Family, In Memory of Matt Dorman 



Paul believes that art is about forging connections; connections between places, cultures and ideas; between the past, present and future and most importantly, between people. At the age of 15, Paul began his blacksmith apprenticeship at the Kootenay Forge. When he was 20 years old, he became the head blacksmith at the Fort Steele Heritage Town, located just outside of Cranbrook, British Columbia.

Resolute represents the strength and resiliency of nature, and its dogged determination to survive in spite of great adversity. The image of nature growing and thriving in spite of hardship gives a feeling of emotional fortitude, which is reinforced through the use of iron and stone. It symbolizes the strength we can gain from connecting to nature and each other. The hand-forged iron tree is galvanized and finished in a natural steel patina, attached to a rock base.

Silver bench
Underwritten by: Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center 

“Proud Souls”


In the words of this internationally acclaimed artist:

“Everything starts with the union of two strong souls, coming together and raising families who work together to build communities that nurture future generations to repeat the process.”

“I envisioned this bench as a place for individuals to reconnect and recharge with each other, a place to rest and reflect on the people and the community who supported and inspired them. The Woodlands itself is a symbol of success. My hope is that this bench serves as a tribute to such triumph, the wings like arms reaching up to the sky in victory.”

Blue xylophone bench
Underwritten by: The Alex & Sharon Sutton Family 

“Why Sit When You Can Play”


The Urban Conga is a design firm focused on promoting community activity and social interaction through play.

Three architecture graduates started the firm and were looking for a way to create interactive installations that could begin to activate underutilized spaces within their city.

The idea wasn’t just to create something cool, but to create something that is functional. That specific function would be to bring play and activity into an area.

Glasswork bench with blue glass flowers
Underwritten by: Benchmark Hospitality International 

“Caetano’s Peace”


Rollin Karg is a renowned glass artisan from the Midwest who designs and creates small and massive sculptural pieces from molten glass, usually shaped in a freeform, asymmetrical manner.

He brings the glass to life through his dynamic use of color, especially dichroic colors – a color that transmits one color while reflecting another – which adds a unique dimension to the piece. While Karg prefers to use traditional techniques of glass making that are thousands of years old, he also adds his own inventive techniques to each project. It is amazing and awe-inspiring to watch him create massive works of art through the use of a five foot blowpipe.

Although Karg spent the first part of his career as an industrial engineer, photographer, potter and woodworker before becoming a full time glass artist in 1983, he has quickly gained notoriety for his contribution to the world of glass art. He has won many awards in competitions and shows throughout the United States and his work has been shown at galleries and exhibitions throughout most of North America.

Seating circling a tree stump with a bird on top
Underwritten by: Peggy & Ray Wilcox 

"On the Bayou"


Does this scene look familiar? Galveston artist John V. Weber channeled our Gulf Coast beautifully in this nature-inspired bench, right down to the details of the just-caught fish in the bird’s mouth.

Circle bench with slender metal tree coming out of the center
Underwritten by: The Shedden Family 

“Umbrella Tree”


Dan Skaggs, from Laguna Beach, California, is a repeat artist with the art bench project. His first bench, Ode to Joy, is a whimsical curvilinear form that uses piano keys for the bench and musical notes for the upright back. Professionally, he has installed more than 200 water features and waterwalls for various clients including Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the St. Regis Hotel in Dana Point, California.

Skaggs says that, for him, "Umbrella Tree" is a metaphor for the “universal pleasure of sitting under the shade of a tree, leaning back against its trunk and looking up into its canopy.” He feels that the bench serves as a map, providing both a sense of place and a sense of belonging to its location.

Art Bench Photography by: Joan Tilton

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