Skip to main content

By Liz Grimm

Creativity – color – texture – light and shadows –  and movement, whether real or perceived, are the visual elements in The Woodlands that make each piece of outdoor art captivating to the eye of the beholder.  From whimsical and abstract to optical illusions, the collection of outdoor art is truly a treasured gem in the forested setting. In fact, The Woodlands boasts one of the largest outdoor art collections in the nation for a community its size, showcasing 80 pieces of diverse works of art for residents and visitors to enjoy.

The Howard Hughes Corporation has contributed to the Art Fund, which was created in 1973 by the development company, resulting in the collection of 56 pieces of outdoor art in The Woodlands. Bringing the collection total to 80 outdoor pieces of art, The Woodlands Arts Council also supports and promotes arts in our community and has commissioned and installed 24 art benches in The Woodlands.

“Our company created the Art Fund in 1973, started by retired employee and community leader, Coulson Tough, under the direction of founder of The Woodlands, George Mitchell. Since that time, we have faithfully contributed to the fund in order to provide The Woodlands with public art,” stated Jim Carman, President – Houston Region for Howard Hughes. “These dynamic works of art provide a visual enhancement and a legacy, to our villages, parks, retail, office and entertainment settings.”

Howard Hughes has funded millions towards funding public art in The Woodlands with a percentage of proceeds from commercial development going towards the public art. The selection committee for the Art Fund was formed by Howard Hughes with Kinzelman Art Consulting.


The first piece of outdoor art was installed in 1974 for the grand opening of The Woodlands. This sculpture, aptly named The Family by Charles Pebworth, is positioned at the entrance of The Woodlands. The 40-foot tall metal sculpture features an abstract, yet soft and fluid, depiction of a family embracing.


One of the more recent art pieces is Ibis, created by renowned artist, Pedro S. de Movellán. Situated in Creekside Park Village Green, Ibis represents a modernistic approach to nature. Ibis features three, red leaf-shaped elements consisting of light-weight enameled aluminum, each attached to one base. The elements rotate freely in response to surrounding airflow.

In Hughes Landing, Acrobática, a geometrical, transforming sculpture by Rafael Barrios, and the carbon steel sculpture, Wind Waves, by Yvonne Domenge, are two of the newer pieces of art featured in The Woodlands.

From a distance, Acrobática appears to be a composition of three-dimensional, solid rectangular shapes or cuboids, which are delicately balanced on one another. As one approaches the sculpture, the true shape of the sculpture is revealed as two-dimension flat plates with three very slight bends, which form shallow concave shapes.

Overlooking Lake Woodlands, Wind Waves is a red sphere consisting of different shapes and perspectives, creating waves out of art which is commissioned by Domenge, who is an internationally-acclaimed sculptor from Mexico.

Perhaps one of the best known pieces of art in The Woodlands is The Dreamer by David Phelps. This eye-catching piece is installed in the median of West Panther Creek Drive on Woodlands Parkway in 1989. The Dreamer stands, okay well maybe rests, at four feet high and 17 feet long, reminding residents to lay back, relax and dream.

“Our community is known for its natural beauty nestled within a forest of trees. The 80 pieces of outdoor art showcase one of the largest collections in the nation in our own backyard for residents and guests to enjoy,” said Heath Melton, Executive Vice President, Master Planned Communities, Residential for Howard Hughes. “With nature complemented by art, you can see why The Woodlands was recently named the best community to live in America.”

Click here to download an informative map about the many awe-inspiring, outdoor art pieces you will enjoy discovering throughout The Woodlands.

To view office space opportunities in The Woodlands, visit here.