Cultural Affairs Office

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City of Houston Announces First Call for Commissioned Art for the New Mickey Leland International Terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport

Art Call for Mickey Leland Terminal

December 16, 2021 -- The City of Houston is calling on Houston-area artists to submit their work for consideration for six new boarding gates that are being built in the D-West Pier of the new Mickey Leland International Terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, IAH.

The Houston AirportsSystem and the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA)are working collaboratively to coordinatethe first of several art acquisition phases for the new International Terminal at IAH, currently under construction. The large-scale two-dimensional art pieces will flank six new wide-body aircraft gates.

Each of the six gates will provide a unique opportunity for a Houston-based artist to share a piece of Houston’s story," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. For some travelers, thecommissioned artwork will be their first impression of Houstonand will emphasize our City’s commitment to Public Art.”

The goal of the permanent artwork is to complement the architecture and to create a memorable passenger experience that reflects the unique characteristics of the City of Houston and the surrounding regions of Texas. This is integral to Houston Airports’ journey to become a Skytrax 5-star rated airport.

“The artwork will be one of the first impressions of its diverse culture, its landscape and ideas that Houston has to offer the traveling public,” said Mario Diaz, Houston Airports Director.  “Public art will play a critical role in enhancing the passenger experience in the new International Terminal, which will provide a seamless, world-class traveling experience from curb to gate.”

The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is open to eligible artists and artist teams residing and working in Greater Houston Area – a nine-county metropolitan area which includes Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller counties.

Applicants must submit required qualifications and artwork samples by the application’s February 8, 2022, deadline to be considered for the opportunity.

“This call for art provides an opportunity for local and regional artists to have their work viewed on an international stage in front of the millions that pass through the airport each year,” said MOCA Director Necole S. Irvin. “It continues our goals of supporting local artists and bringing more first-class art into the City, adding to our already-impressive public art collection.”

The art investment of $540,000 for the new Mickey Leland International Terminal is made possible by the City of Houston Civic Art Program. The funds are allocated by a City of Houston ordinance which mandates that 1.75% of qualified and applicable Capital Improvement Project dollars be set aside for civic art. The funds will come directly from Houston Airport’s Enterprise Fund – a non-taxpayer, self-sustaining fund of the City. Under contract and in partnership with MOCA, Houston Arts Alliance administers these city-funded public opportunities to acquire and conserve the City of Houston's public art pieces.

About MOCA
The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs guides the City’s cultural investments with policies and initiatives that expand access to arts and cultural programs in the community, attract visitors and leverage private investment.

To learn more about the City’s cultural programs, visit and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @HoustonMOCA.

About Houston Airports
Houston Airports is the City of Houston’s Department of Aviation. Comprised of George Bush Intercontinental Airport, IAH, William P. Hobby Airport, HOU, and Ellington Airport/Houston Spaceport, EFD, Houston Airports served 24.7 million passengers in 2020 and nearly 60 million in 2019. Houston Airports forms one of North America's largest public airport systems and positions Houston as the international passenger and cargo gateway to the South-Central United States and as a primary gateway to Latin America. Houston is proud to be the only city in the Western Hemisphere with two Skytrax rated 4-star airports.

About Houston Arts Alliance
Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) is a local arts and culture organization whose principal work is to implement the City of Houston’s vision, values, and goals for its arts grantmaking and civic art investments. HAA also executes privately funded special projects to meet the needs of the arts community, such as disaster preparation, research on the state of the arts in Houston, and temporary public art projects that energize neighborhoods. To learn more about HAA, visit and follow us on Facebook & Instagram @HoustonArtsAlliance.