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Art & Culture

Four New Woodlands Art Benches Installed

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The Woodlands Arts Council (TWAC) unveiled four exciting new and unique Art Benches on October 7 at a celebration attended by artists and underwriters. This brought the total Art Benches in The Woodlands to twenty-four. The four new benches will draw visitors on several levels: A mystical interpretation of nature through sculpture, a playful feature celebrating a son’s life, a combination of the splendor of the native ecosystem and the urban setting, as well as with color and whimsy.

“We are thrilled to share the news that our four newest Art Benches that have been installed by The Woodlands Township and are ready to be enjoyed by our community,” said Dr. Maria Holmes, President of the TWAC Board. “We congratulate the artists and underwriters on their magnificent contribution to The Woodlands collection of public art.”

View the art benches in the photos taken by Rod Prado of Hello Woodlands on our Facebook page:

The four new Art Benches include:


Artist: Gaston Carrio, resides in Houston, a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina

In the artist’s words, “Mystical Senses is an Art Bench sculpture that is an open invitation to the infinitely magical experience of nature and the circle of life, surrounding one complete sensory immersion.”

Carrio creates abstract paintings and sculptures. This is his third bench chosen by the Art Bench Committee. In 2018 “Proud Souls,” a glorious, metal-winged sculptured bench, and “Unmasked Symbiosis,” a sleek, candy red abstract bench were installed.

Underwriters: Amy Cope-Gibbs & Jon Gibbs

Location: Basin of the Waterfall on The Woodlands Waterway

Photography by Rod Prado, Hello Woodlands


Artists: Michelle Old, Stacy Moore, Kevin Giuseppetti, The Woodlands, TX

“You Are LOVED” uses words that carry great emotion to create a memorial bench with a playful feature celebrating the life of the underwriters’ son, Austin Gullo.

Old, Moore, and Giuseppetti work together at the regional architectural firm, Kirksey Architects, and drew on their experience with professional projects to bring their Art Bench to life. Each collaborator has a different role in architecture. The creation of their bench is being celebrated in a new documentary produced for TWAC by Nebular Films.

Underwriters: Debbie & Sparky Gullo

Location: On The Waterway, south end of Town Green Park

Photography by Rod Prado, Hello Woodlands


Artist: Kyle Thornley, Revelstoke, BC, Canada

“The Texas Dawn Water Lily” was inspired by the Dickens family’s vision of the native splendor of the ecosystem combined with the urban reality of Waterway Square. Thornley captures this vision through natural symbols of interdependence, the cycles of life, and our stewardship of lands and waters.

The vision of the Art Bench Project aligns clearly with Thornley’s goals as an artist – art that evokes a meaningful connection to others, a relationship with the natural setting as inspiration for creative expression, and art that is intentional, people-centric, and holistic.

Underwriters: The Dickens Family

Location: Across from The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion (to be installed)



Artist: Daniel Hornung, Tucson, AZ

“Penstemon” was intended to create a destination that allows people to appreciate the subdued surroundings of the site. Hornung’s design uses color and whimsy to remind people to slow down and savor the beauty of nature around them.

The artist’s objective is to create public art relevant to the community that resonates with the environment. Many pieces of his public art are located in Austin and Arlington, TX, and Arizona.

Underwriters: Doug & Beth Grijalva

Location: Behind the South Montgomery County Library

Photography by Rod Prado, Hello Woodlands
Photography by Rod Prado, Hello Woodlands

TWAC began the Art Bench program in 2015 to seek local, national and international artists and designs for permanent installations along The Woodlands Waterway. A unique combination of form and function, the Art Benches draw adults and children alike. Some benches are interactive, such as The Urban Conga bench modeled after a xylophone, or glowing as in the Light Balls Bench, or the giant yellow Woodlands Wind-O, an architectural bench, as well as benches reflective of the natural surroundings as in the fanciful Umbrella Tree Bench. The Woodlands Art Benches can be found from The Woodlands Mall, to The Woodlands Waterway, Town Green Park, and Hughes Landing on Lake Woodlands. To see photos of all 24 Art Benches, download a map of the locations, and read more about the artists and their inspiration, visit

The Woodlands Arts Council is the producer of The Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival, an award-winning juried arts festival normally held each spring. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Festival will now be held in an interactive, online format that allows everyone to enjoy the Festival for free in the comfort and safety of their own homes. The Festival will include virtual artists’ booths where viewers can engage with over 100 juried fine artists and purchase their art. Musical performances, hands-on children’s art activities, artist interviews and more will be featured. The Festival will kick off Friday evening, October 16, with a Preview Party Celebration and continue Saturday, October 17, and Sunday, October 18, 2020. A Silent Auction featuring original works donated by Festival artists opens on Wednesday, October 14.

Like all non-profits during this challenging time, donations and sponsorships are needed to continue The Arts Council’s events and community programs. To join Friends of the Arts Council or to donate, visit the website at

The Woodlands Arts Council provides regional, cultural, and educational enrichment opportunities that encourage, support, and promote the performing and visual arts in our community. From the award-winning Woodlands Waterway Arts Festival to public art installations and the year-round community and educational outreach programs of Because Art Matters, the council has one primary goal…. Making our community better, Because Art Matters!

Source: The Woodlands Arts Council