True North Art Trail 2024

Along Heights Boulevard lies a winding path lined with both plants and modern sculptures. This beautifully landscaped trail is an ideal destination for a Sunday stroll, where you can enjoy the natural elements as well as the artistic ones. The project named True North, for the compass bearing of Heights Boulevard is responsible for the temporary, public art installations that line the trail each year. This is an organization of volunteers that, in coordination with the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department, enables local artists to showcase their works along the prominent street. The current sculptures will remain until December of 2024, and are for sale by the individual artists who have pledged 20% of any sales to future True North sculptural projects. These pieces were just replaced in March, so if you’re looking for something to do, why not meander down Heights Boulevard and see what our local Texas artists have created?


By Patrick Renner
Patrick Renner, the creator of “Dauber,” has his roots in the Houston art scene with over two decades of educating and working professionally as an artist in the city. As a native Houstonian, he attended the High School for Visual and Performing Arts, later attaining both bachelors and masters degrees in fine art from the Kansas City Art Institute, then the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University respectively. After nearly ten years as an art teacher, Renner left to pursue his career as a sculptor, co-founding Flying Carpet Creative in 2015. Both as an individual and as a part of art collectives, his pieces have been displayed extensively across Texas, earning him several awards of distinction. His latest installation “Dauber” features colorful planks of reclaimed wood that have been warped and sculpted into a larger piece in Renner’s iconic style. His inspiration for this project was the nests of garden dwelling mud dauber wasps, with one side representing the more organic nest shape, and the other a flat, angular surface as if to suggest where the nest may have once attached to another surface.

Apprehensive Dog

By Clayton Hurt
The multi-media artist behind “Apprehensive Dog,” Clayton Hurt graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from The University of North Texas and later received a Masters Degree in Fine Art from Texas Christian University. He currently works as an Installation Technician at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth as well as an Adjunct Professor teaching drawing and painting at Tarrant County College. He also served as the President of 500x Gallery in Dallas, but is perhaps best known for his series of sculptures emphasizing the “struggle and humor” of a dog’s daily life. His 2024 contribution to True North, “Apprehensive Dog” features a sculpted dog made from a mix of welded steel, cloth, foam, tar, wax, resin, and good old fashioned paint. The pensive expression of the dog and the precarious posture in which it is perched suggests that it is either avoiding or considering something below. The mysterious nature of the piece leaves an opening for the viewers to theorize about the dog’s story as well as what may have led Hurt to depict it in this way.

The Monument

By Suzette Mouchaty
Suzette Mouchaty is a unique individual that brings together the worlds of art and science. In addition to her Master’s Degree in Fine Art from The University of Houston, she also graduated with a Ph. D. in Genetics from Lund University in Sweden. She describes her artistic style as blending “formal structures of rational scientific thought with the imaginary and subversive of the artistic realm.” Part of her goal is to create artwork that addresses socio-political issues and environmental concerns, which often results in the inclusion of self-contradictory elements that parody contemporary existence within her work. Since aspects of the real world normally form the basis of her artwork, she has described her continued practice as a “constant hunt for that scrap of reality which resonates as a psychological trigger.” In this frame of thought she created “The Monument,” which depicts two colorful nudibranchs encircling a circus pole. In this piece, Mouchaty uses metal, styrofoam, stucco, pvc, and paint to create a depiction of sea slugs, which have become increasingly endangered due to the warming of ocean temperatures and the destruction of coral reefs.

Brick Phone

By Wyatt Little
Even as you’re passing by it would be difficult not to notice the massive sixteen foot tall brick phone standing gracefully by the road. Wyatt Little is the artist responsible for this bright blue relic called “Brick Phone” citing his fascination with now outdated technology as it serves to remind people of a bygone time when Little was still growing up. After his early career in industrial design, he shifted gears into the field of ceramic art where his handmade pieces would decorate small boutiques and galleries across the country. “Brick Phone” is a sixteen foot tall creation made from treated lumber, stucco, and paint that not only serves as a technological marker of its era, it also has the power to make people smile. According to Little, his “designs are [his] way of immortalizing the things [he] has always cared about.”

Intersections of Dimension

By Ricardo Paniagua
This piece lies within the realm of optical illusion that Ricardo Paniagua is best known for. His art is described as exploring the relationships between lines, color, and form to create geometric sculptures that defy the eye’s expectations. As a self taught artist, he was first drawn to create while enrolled in a technical school for underprivileged youth, where he was able to utilize the free art supplies at the facility. Paniagua’s works are often inspired by his vivid dreams, taking on the forms of the imagery witnessed within his imagination. In one such lucid dream, he observed a physics-defying hypercube painted with colorful stripes that turned and moved across the surface of the shape. This vision inspired “Intersections of Dimension” which he crafted from welded steel and automobile paint.

Vampire for the New World

By Nela Garzón
Nela Garzón is a multidisciplinary visual artist who grew up in Bogotá Columbia, earning degrees in both literature and visual art from Los Andes University and Javeriana University respectively. She draws much of her inspiration from mythology and the practices of indigenous cultures around the world. She has crafted numerous decorative rugs and paintings displaying traditional elements of different cultures in an attempt to spread love for these groups of people and their histories. Many of her works display the connection between traditional cultures and their environments, with indigenous groups of people often serving as protectors of the plants and animals that also reside in the land of their homes. Through her art Garzón intends to detail this relationship between the destruction of indigenous people’s communities, often by colonial and capitalist powers seeking greater quantities of wealth, and the devastation of the natural world that follows in their wake. Her sculpture for True North “Vampire for the New World” depicts a bat adorned with pre-Columbian ornamentation, features of a vampire bat and the wings of a monarch butterfly, creating a hybridization of pre-Columbian and Mesoamerican mythologies.


By Art Shirer
For over four decades Art Shirer has produced welded steel sculptures known for their kinetic elements as well as their performative on site installations, one of which included the meticulous assembly of hundreds of discarded crape myrtle trimmings. He is originally from Cincinnati Ohio, but earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from East Carolina University as well as later a Master’s Degree in Fine Art at Louisiana Tech University. After finishing his education, Shirer taught as an art instructor in both Dallas and Louisiana before devoting himself to creating art full time. His works have been featured in a number of museums around the country including the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. His 2024 piece “Wish” is an interactive work representing one’s hopes and dreams through the irregularly shaped wheel attached with an axle to more curved steel beams. A spin of the large wheel is intended to represent making a wish that our hopes and dreams might become reality.

Airplane 1

By Dion Laurent
Dion Laurent is a fourth generation visual and performance artist who has maintained several studios around the globe. He attended both Texas A&M University and Belmont University in Nashville before his travels after college spanned across twenty three different countries, where he derived much of his artistic inspiration. His works have been displayed worldwide throughout Europe and Asia, as well as in the United States. His life size sculpture “Airplane 1” is a conceptual piece intended to produce fresh air instead of the normal carbon produced from aircrafts. It is fashioned with many materials including wood, steel, aluminum, plexiglass, solar panels, electric motors, lights, soil and plants to create a full sized propeller plane capable of growing and sustaining plants within the sculpture.

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