Houston Public Works and the Gulfton Community Selection Committee are pleased to announce that Ammar Alobaidi, in collaboration with Up Art Studio, has been selected as the Bloomberg Asphalt Art Grant project artist. The project is anticipated to commence in the Fall of 2022 and will be located at the intersection of Hillcroft, Westward, and High Star.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiative provides cities with grants of up to $25,000 each, as well as technical support, for projects that use art and design to improve street safety, revitalize public spaces, and engage residents of their communities. Bloomberg Philanthropies invited all U.S. cities to submit a project proposal to apply for the expansion of the Asphalt Art Initiative in March. Winning cities were selected based on their projects’ impact, viability, and quality and visual interest.

Hillcroft Avenue was envisioned only as a thoroughfare for one mode of transportation – back when no one dreamed that Houston would become the nation’s most diverse city thanks to communities like Gulfton. Houston Public Works, Southwest Houston Redevelopment Authority, Southwest Management District, Connect Community, and Together for Safer Roads have worked to find solutions to improve mobility and safety along Hillcroft Avenue in the Gulfton neighborhood and have identified public artwork as one means by which that can be achieved.

Houston Public Works recently completed the Hillcroft Safety Improvement project announced in April 2019 by Mayor Turner as part of his Safer Streets initiative. The project included widened sidewalks, new traffic signals, signage, floating METRO bus stops and protected bike lanes.

About Houston Public Works

Houston Public Works is responsible for streets, drainage, producing and distributing water, collecting and treating wastewater, and permitting and regulation of construction. Accredited by the American Public Works Association, our over 4,000 dedicated public servants work together to create a strong foundation for Houston to thrive.

About the Grant Recipients

Ammar Alobaidi is a visual artist born in Baghdad, Iraq who also has a Bachelor of Engineering degree. In 2005 he decided to pursue his more intense passion for art and in 2007 began a mentorship with the celebrated artist Moher Aldeen. In the last decade he has actively engaged in his artwork, in Jordan and then continued pursuing it after moving to the USA in 2014. Since that time, he has had work in exhibitions in both countries including solo exhibitions at O’Kane Gallery, UHD and at Mixed Emotions Fine Art Gallery in Houston, Texas. His worked has been positively reviewed in the Houston Chronicle and Houstonia Magazine.

UP Art Studio is a public art and creative placemaking consulting firm founded in Houston in 2012. The firm has successfully managed hundreds of projects since then. The firm facilitates transformative award-winning projects – achieving the goals of its mission of “Civic Pride through Civic Art” through collaborative efforts with artists and the people in communities. They facilitate projects in communities nationally, engaging people and achieving community development via the work of local and international artists.

Ammar and Up Art Studio are excited to partner on this project and will be engaging with the community in the coming weeks to gain community insight on the project.