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Art & Culture, Did You Know?, Sculptures

Dan Havel’s Public Art including “Wildlife Sanctuary”

Posted: September 26, 2016 at 6:55 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

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What Was This?

What appeared to be a portion of a partially submerged church was certainly an attention grabber! It was the first sculpture seen as one headed north on the esplanade of Heights Boulevard off of Interstate 10.  Many people got to see it during the temporary “True North” public art installation in Houston, Texas.

This sculpture was the brainchild of artist Dan Havel.  He has been living and working in Houston now for many years. His sculptures often stop people in their tracks out of sheer curiosity and wonderment.

Wildlife Sanctuary by Dan Havel

Wildlife Sanctuary by Dan Havel

No Quicksand Here!

This portion of an old church which had been torn down was not sinking in quicksand. The land here is stable.

The salvaged part of the church from the Houston Heights area was intentionally re-purposed by Dan Havel into a decorative piece of art crooked steeple and all. That steeple was once hit by lightning which is why it was twisted and bent.

"Wildlife Sanctuary" by Dan Havel

“Wildlife Sanctuary” by Dan Havel

Dan Havel

This local Houston artist graduated from Southwest Minnesota State University in 1981 with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.  He attained his Master of Fine Arts degree two years later from Minnesota State University.

Dan Havel stays very busy.  He is a teacher and Art Director for the critically acclaimed St. John’s School here in Houston.  The address of this 28-acre campus is 2401 Claremont Lane, Houston, Texas 77019. The school was founded in 1946.  St. John’s has a long history of graduating students who excel in life endeavors.

Dan Havel plays a definitive role in his role of encouraging art appreciation and perhaps even inspiring artists of the future.

"Wildlife Sanctuary" by Dan Havel

“Wildlife Sanctuary” by Dan Havel

St. John’s School

One of the top university prep schools in the country is located here in Houston, Texas. If a student is academically inclined and wishes just about to be assured of being accepted at Harvard, Stanford, Rice or Yale, attending this not for profit private school might be something to consider.

There is an annual fee which ranges from a little over $20,000 to more than $24,000 per student for the kindergarten through 12th grade.  Some of the students are given scholarships.

St. John's School By WhisperToMe (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

St. John’s School By WhisperToMe (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Arts is a part of the curriculum, and a minimum of one credit is needed for graduation. You can learn much more about this excellent local St. John’s school by clicking here.

“Wildlife Sanctuary”

You can perhaps determine why this piece of sculpture was given its name by scrutinizing the photos.

Did you notice the little ledges simulating tiny open windows with wide windowsills? This sculpture contains birdseed and lots of it! When people are not walking past this sculpture many birds and probably squirrels as well have found this to be a source of easy to find sustenance. Thus the name “Wildlife Sanctuary.”

"Wildlife Sanctuary" by Dan Havel

“Wildlife Sanctuary” by Dan Havel

Havel Ruck Projects

Dan Havel and Dean Ruck have teamed up and collaborated on quite a few unique projects together. Very often their art projects are temporary and their installations are located in public settings. Recycled objects are utilized, and many people are sorry to see their art projects eventually disassembled and destroyed making way for further development.

"Inversion" house by Havel Ruck Projects Source: By Nick Douglas; artwork by Dan Havel and Dean Ruck [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

“Inversion” house by Havel Ruck Projects
Source: By Nick Douglas; artwork by Dan Havel and Dean Ruck [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

One such project was called “Inversion,” and many people got to see this as it was on a busy street near the Art League of Houston. For those who missed it, the video below tells more about it.

Artist of the Year

Houston Magazine in 2009 awarded the title of Artist of the Year to both Dan Havel and Dean Ruck. The Texas Artist of the Year award was given by the Art League of Houston was awarded in 2014 to both artists once again as they collaborated in their Havel Ruck Projects.

You can see another example of one of their temporary art installations titled Fifth Ward Jam situated in the old fifth ward of Houston in the video below.

“True North” Exhibit

This “True North” public art exhibit on Heights Boulevard was only temporary and ended in November of 2014.

So if you missed seeing the other seven sculptures by locally recognized artists whose works are represented locally, nationally and in some cases internationally, you could catch up by clicking on the highlighted links below.

By Cortney Martin from Houston, TX, USA (19th Street) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Cortney Martin from Houston, TX, USA (19th Street) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Houston Heights

As you can tell from the photos showing the “Wildlife Sanctuary” the Houston Heights is a neighborhood lined with many trees. It has houses ranging from Victorian beauties to charming bungalows and everything in between. A well-established hike and bike trail are great for people who wish to exercise in safety off of more heavily trafficked streets.

It is an old neighborhood not far from downtown HoustonThe Heights is becoming increasingly high priced for people wishing to live in this diverse and yet exciting locale with a small town atmosphere where people walk their dogs and ride their bicycles.

Many artists live there.  Gus Kopriva who is a co-curator of the “True North” exhibit has his Redbud Gallery located in the Heights at 11th Street and Courtland Street.

One can see an example of colorful mural artwork in the Heights by artist and entertainer Beans Barton.

"Wildlife Sanctuary" by Dan Havel

“Wildlife Sanctuary” by Dan Havel

“Wildlife Sanctuary” for Sale

This piece of whimsical art was for sale as well as the rest of the sculptures in the “True North” exhibit. They were on display until early November 2014. If you had a spare $8,500 and the space to exhibit this piece, you could have had this unique sculpture gracing your property.

Bird feeders come in all shapes and sizes as this sculpture proves! If you are like me, perhaps the bird feeders below would be more appropriately sized for your yards and gardens.

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