On September 6, 1966, University of Houston Board of Regents and then President Philip Hoffman voted to establish a policy that would dedicate one per cent of the construction cost of all future building projects for works of art. The University of Houston was in the process of undergoing an unprecedented building boom and it was thought that a public art program would greatly enhance the campus as well as the prestige of the University. In 1969, the Texas legislature voted to enact 1% for art for University of Houston. UH was the first state institution to establish a percent for art program and currently has one of the largest and most impressive university art collections in the country.

The first works purchased for the collection were Orbit I and Orbit II by Japanese born Masaru Takiguchi who was a guest artist teaching in the Art Department for the 1969-70 term. Orbit I was installed in the lobby of the Science & Research Building and Orbit II for Krost Hall of the Bates School of Law. The large scale bronze Albertus Magnus by the German artist Gerhard Marcks was the first work purchased for outdoor placement and located at the entrance to the Law Center complex in 1970. By 1976 the University had 14 works in the collection. Today, the collection numbers over 450 works located not only on the Main Campus, but on the Clear Lake, Downtown, Victoria and Sugar Land campuses as well. We are continually adding to the Collection.

In 1996 the most ambitious commission was for the Moores School of Music Opera House by internationally known artist Frank Stella. The artist created Euphonia, an exuberant celebration of color and rhythm that transformed the barrel vaulted ceiling of the lobby, the wall of the mezzanine and the catwalk in the auditorium. Jacob Hashimoto, Carlos Cruz-Diez, The Art Guys, Lawrence Argent, Lin Emery, Bert Samples, Kendall Buster and Luis Jimenez are some of the more recent additions to the Collection.

With the help of the University’s System Wide Art Acquisition Committee comprised of UH Regents, UH System faculty and staff, local museum curators, directors and community representatives, the collection continues to expand and include work by local, regional, national and international artists.

For further information you can contact Michael Guidry, Curator of the University Art Collection at mguidry3@uh.edu or 713-743-5315.