Houstonians are proud of the city’s incredibly diverse culture, world-class attractions, and its eclectic art scene. The Mini Murals project, created by Elia and Noah Quiles, is adding to Houston’s unique identity. Driving through the city, one of the 200+ traffic signal boxes turned public art has undoubtedly caught your eye. The metal structure of traffic signal boxes provides the perfect canvas for evocative, artistic community expression. The Quiles’ creative approach to introducing art in the pedestrian realm qualifies them to be our August Scenic Citizens.
The Quiles’, founders of UP Art Studio, proposed the Mini Murals concept to city council members, Houston Public Works, and the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs in 2016. The project’s mission to encourage “civic pride through civic art” was met with collective praise, lauded for its brimming potential to create tremendous visual impact across Houston one traffic box at a time.
Over the years, Elia and Noah have developed tight relationships with community stakeholders. Elected officials, management districts, and neighborhood associations sponsor Mini Murals from start to completion, choosing the traffic box location and final design. The projects invite local and visiting artists of varying techniques to bring the murals to life. These eye-catching visuals enhance Houston’s streets, sidewalks, and public spaces. Three years into the program, the project’s colorful portfolio includes a music-themed design sponsored by the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra to a wide-eyed robot monitoring Dallas at Crawford sponsored by Houston First, among many other neighborhood murals.
Mini Murals are simple and cost-effective. They illustrate defining community events, add to a neighborhood’s unique identity, and visually bridge Houston’s public spaces through creative storytelling. Two years ago, Scenic Houston dramatically improved the appearance and conditions of one of Houston’s main airport corridors – Broadway Street. On that same corridor, a William P. Hobby Airport Mini Mural overlooks Broadway at Belfort. Where Scenic Houston brought infrastructure and aesthetic improvements, Mini Murals added an artistic touch. These individual projects stem from two organizations driven to strengthen and sustain a solid and welcoming city image. “When someone comes across one of our Mini Murals, I hope it brightens their day,” said Elia.