2 local artists design mini murals highlighting COVID-19, social justice in Midtown

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Midtown Houston has partnered with UP Art Studio to create relevant, unconventional mini murals in the district.

HOUSTON – Midtown Houston and UP Art Studio commissioned local artists to create mini murals that focused on the global pandemic and social justice issues.

Renee Victor and Armando Castelan designed the works that “confront some of the most prevailing issues in the world today with hopes to spark important conversations that inspire healing and change.”

UP Art Studio’s award-winning Mini Murals project takes traffic signal control cabinets and converts them into works of art. They have more than 300 mini murals currently on display.

These pieces can be found throughout Midtown.

Victor’s work titled “Not Today Corona” signals that Houstonians are resilient, caring of others and committed to pulling through these unprecedented times together, according to the press release. The mural is displayed on a traffic box at San Jacinto and Gray.

“I chose yellow as the base color as we need to stay optimistic during this time and to add some visual cheer. It’s meant to be a playful yet sobering reminder to follow health guidelines to beat COVID,” said Victor.

Located at Austin and Gray, Castelan’s mini mural titled BLM, an acronym for Black Lives Matter, captures the country’s current reckoning with racism and features paintings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Colin Kaepernick and Breonna Taylor, per the release.

It also includes representation of children from different backgrounds to capture what a truly inclusive community might look like.

“I thought it was important that the artists selected use this opportunity to create work that was relevant and important to them,” said Cynthia Alvarado, Operations Manager at the Midtown Management District. “I believe that art should bring joy, and enhance the community in a meaningful way. I also believe that art should evoke change and inspire us all to reflect on how we can contribute to making the world a better place, starting with our own neighborhood.”

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