Location: Houston, TX, United States
Completion date: 2022
Artwork budget: $300,000
UP Art Studio
Project Director; Production Supervision
UP Art Studio
Lead Artist; Production Lead
UP Art Studio
UP Art Studio
City of Houston, Mayor's Office of Complete Communities
City of Houston, Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs
The Deal Co.
many other sponsors and partners
Big Walls Big Dreams: Inspiring Murals Transforming Communities
Big Walls Big Dreams (BWBD) is a transformative project, curated and produced by UP Art Studio, that brings awe-inspiring mural installations to communities. These large-scale artworks serve as beacons of inspiration and remain as permanent fixtures, brightening neighborhoods long into the future.
In 2022, UP Art Studio’s 10-Year Anniversary was celebrated with 75+ large-scale murals, celebratory events, collaboration, workshops, tours, a children’s mural project, and a street art exhibition during the festival.The murals captivate viewers with their grandeur, spanning expansive walls that become vibrant canvases for artistic expression.
BWBD transcends traditional art exhibitions by integrating murals into the very fabric of communities, many which are underserved. These impactful installations serve as catalysts for positive change, promoting cultural diversity, and fostering a sense of pride and identity within neighborhoods.
Previous iterations of BWBD have occurred in Miami during Art Basel (Miami Art Week) since 2015. Since its inception, BWBD has produced more than 100 murals in Miami, along with 20+ painted in communities across Houston in summer 2021 in addition to the 75+ painted in 2022.
BWBD's production of dozens of murals served multiple essential goals, playing a crucial role in the overall impact of the initiative.
One of the primary goals was to produce iconic art pieces. By commissioning talented artists to create large-scale murals, BWBD aimed to transform ordinary walls into extraordinary works of art. These iconic pieces not only added aesthetic value to the communities but also served as landmarks, attracting visitors, and generating a sense of pride among residents.
Furthermore, producing many murals was crucial to increasing artist opportunities. BWBD provides a platform for artists to showcase their skills, creativity, and unique perspectives to a wider audience. By promoting and supporting local, national, and international artists, from the emerging to world-renowned, the project aimed to foster artistic growth, recognition, and career advancement.
By incorporating vibrant and captivating murals into the festival setting, BWBD created a visually immersive environment, enhancing the overall atmosphere and engaging attendees on a deeper level. The artwork acted as a backdrop for various activities/events, enriching the overall festival experience - especially in the 30 different neighborhoods where the mural painting took place.
The collaboration process for bringing BWBD to life involves a dynamic and inclusive approach, fostering partnerships and engaging various stakeholders.
The collaboration begins with the Artist Open Call, where artists are invited to participate by submitting their work for consideration. This open call, which garnered more than 850 applicants, ensured a diverse pool of artistic talent, encouraging artists to showcase their creativity and vision.
A thorough selection process then took place, involving a team of curators and experts who review the submitted works. The selection team carefully evaluates the artistic merit, relevance to the project's theme, and potential impact on the community.
Throughout the collaboration, communication channels are kept open to address any questions, concerns, or logistical considerations. Project organizers work closely with the artists to provide necessary resources, including artist stipends, paint, painting materials, and, for out-of-town artists, flights, and housing.
UP Art Studio also works closely with sponsors and partners, property owners, community members, and third-party vendors to bring their vision to life.
BWBD is committed to working with underrepresented communities throughout Houston. By selecting varied locations for mural installations, the project aimed to reach a diverse range of neighborhoods, creating opportunities for communities to interact with art, express their identities, and build stronger connections. We were proud to have installed murals in the ten mayor-identified communities that are part of the Complete Communities initiative in Houston. The artwork became a catalyst for community engagement, fostering dialogue, and building a sense of unity and shared experiences.