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For Art's Sake: A Bridge You Really Should Walk

All a bridge really has to do is to get you from one place…to another. But I've found one that does quite a bit more. It gives you an artistic experience.

"They talk about place making in public art…”

City Department of Culture and Creative Development’s Jimmy LeFlore.

“…and that’s about trying to connect our built environment to the people that live there, and the culture and history that we all share.”

We walked the bridge, located a few hundred yards east of the AT&T Center.

“We are at East Houston Street right at the Salado Creek bridge.”

Embedded into the new, thick concrete railings of that four-lane bridge was Art. Lots of Art. Artists Diana Kersey and Bernice Williams created forty panels, each made of architectural ceramics.

“And each of the panels are handmade, each of them reference something specific, maybe they’re creatures that are in the Salado Creek area. Maybe they reference historical and cultural buildings and individuals.”

The richly-colored 3-D pieces show the Carver Cultural Center, an Armadillo, specific local historic figures, and lots of Indian Paintbrush.

“Many of them actually have the flowers sculpted into them, and the color scheme of the reds, the yellows, the greens.”

If this ceramic bridge art sounds familiar, this isn’t Ms. Kersey’s first public art with the city. Brackenridge Park bridges also display her work.

“Those feature the Gulf Coast Toad on one of the bridges, and it features references to the Olmos Park Golf Club on the other bridge. Here on East Houston it’s much more about the east side community. And the colors and the shapes take on a life that’s very much different than the other.”

If you want to walk the bridge, there's parking just on its west side.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii