Someone said that art is everywhere around us, if we only know where to look. In Fort Worth, that's especially true because the city is home to a fairly large blend of traditional and modern art -- and a lot of it's free to the public. Here are 15 public art pieces for your viewing pleasure.
1. Tabachin Ribbon, City Hall
The 13-foot circular structure was one of six works created for an exhibit in Chicago's Millennium Park in 2010 by Mexican artist Yvonne Domenge. Domenge was inspired by the Tabachin tree, an evergreen that grows in her native Mexico and in the Rio Grande Valley. The tree's blooms range in hue from a vibrant earthy orange to the vivid yellow of the sculpture. The donated work was unveiled in a celebration honoring Fort Worth's Hispanic heritage.
2. Twisted Tornado Poles, West 7th Traffic Circle
In March 2000, a series of tornadoes with magnitudes of up to F2 cut about a four-mile swath through Fort. The neighborhood known as Linwood, which sits at the edge of the Cultural District, was hardest hit. A billboard with four steel girders was bent nearly in half due to the shear of the winds. Eight years after the tornado, much of the housing in the area was razed and the Museum Place development popped up. By that time, the four posts became a sort of symbol of the renewal of the neighborhood. Instead of tearing the bent metal from the ground, a group of businessmen, including Ed Bass and some of the Museum Place developers, paid for the beams to be sandblasted and painted. They stand as an unintended sculpture, a paean to the force of nature here in Tornado Alley.
3. Vortex, Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art
Although some of the art at Fort Worth's Modern Art Museum changes, one piece remains a constant welcoming presence to visitors. The Vortex, a structure well over 60 feet tall, was created by American artist Richard Serra. As with many pieces of art at the Modern Museum, it's designed as a multi-sensorial experience. The interior is essentially a giant echo chamber, which delights small children, drummers, and the occasional saxophone player.
4. TRVA Wind Roundabout Sculpture
The City of Fort Worth commissioned the unique, free-standing Ned Kahn sculpture, which moves solely by the force and pressure of the wind. Thousands of tiny plates hang on a 30 foot tall structure. It's hard to explain the brilliance of the structure, but it's easier to understand the shimmery color and patterns of light when you see it.
5. John F. Kennedy sculpture and exhibit
President Kennedy, barnstormed through Texas in November 1963, squeezing in a stop to address a Chamber of Commerce breakfast during a fundraising and political trip that took the president and his wife from San Antonio to Houston to Fort Worth. He spent the night in Fort Worth November 22, 1963, before heading to Dallas. Anti-liberal and anti-Kennedy sentiment ran high east of the Trinity River, and it was imperative for the young president to mend some fences in Dallas. After the speech to the Chamber of Commerce, Kennedy greeted a crowd outside with an impromptu speech, including his famous words "There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth," which are carved into the wall of his memorial here. The city's tribute to the slain president includes an eight-foot statue created by Texas artist Lawrence Ludke, and audio recordings.
6. Man with a Briefcase - Burnett Plaza
One of the works by Jonathan Borofsky, the Maine-based sculptor who also produced Seattle's Hammering Man, the sculpture of a man in a business suit with a hat and briefcase stands on 7th Street where downtown begins to flow onto West 7th. The 50-foot tall aluminum slab has the outline of a businessman in the center, and at one time was mildly controversial. Apparently folks around here took issue with the choice of hat: a fedora instead of the Stetson that's so popular around town.
7. Maverick Fine Western Wear Mural
Fort Worth loves tradition. Over the years, the early 1900s building that currently houses Maverick Fine Western Wear housed a number of "colorful" establishments. The one thing that's been true for well over a century: the building's always had a bar, and it was always known as The Maverick Building. The mural on the side by western artist and muralist Stylle Read was commissioned by the store in 1999 both as a tribute to the city's history and to brighten up the outside of the historic building. View the art, then belly up to the bar to shop and have a beer!
8. Statue of Quanah Parker, 130 E. Exchange Street
You'll find the statue of the last chief of the Comanche Nation outside the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. Parker's mother, Cynthia Ann, was kidnapped by the Comanche as a child and assimilated into the tribe. The Texas Rangers brought her back almost three decades later, but her son remained with the tribe. Sculpted by Jack Bryant, the statue commemorates a Comanche warrior who fought the U.S. government's efforts to resettle his tribe. Ultimately, the Parker and the remaining Comanche acquiesced, and retired to Fort Sill in May 1875. The statue of Parker, in formal Comanche dress and braids, is backdropped by a local hotel; it's an interesting juxtaposition of the old and new Fort Worth.
9. Parking in Color, Convention Center Garage
Artist Christopher Janney specializes in interactive light and sound installations. The Fort Worth Convention Center garage might seem a strange place for an immersive art experience. Janney's project includes colored LED light, a series of multicolor glass "fins", and a score of music and environmental sounds native to Fort Worth in the elevator and stair tower, is truly mixed-media public art. The sounds are triggered by people passing by, and include horses, crickets, and birds in this immense urban structure. Art, in this case, follows function, and enhances an otherwise unremarkable (but necessary) parking structure.
10. Statue of Ripley Arnold, John V. McMillian Plaza
Major Ripley Alan Arnold was the founder and Commandant of the original Fort Worth in 1849. Long before the town became known for cowboys and culture, Fort Worth was a small settlement where the Clear Fork and the West Fork of the Trinity River met. Arnold named the fort for his commander, General William Jenkins Worth, who died in San Antonio before getting to visit his namesake city. The 12-foot statue, which fittingly looks toward the river, is the work of local sculptor Archie St. Clair.
11. "MOTHERS" Sign, 1401 Foch Street
Witty, brainy multimedia artist Martin Creed rarely titles his works; instead, the Brit gives the pieces numbers. Fort Worth is lucky to have Work No. 1357 installed over Foch Street. The giant neon sign that reads "MOTHERS" lives permanently on the edge of West 7th Street, thanks to the generosity of a private donor. Creed's cheeky work has been called "thought-provoking" and Work No. 1357 is probably more appropriately placed here than, say, Work No. 398 would be. Work No. 1357 has a twin, Work No. 1092, which sits in London.
12. Chisholm Trail Mural, 400 Main Street
Possibly the most iconic piece of art downtown, the three-story mural reaches across three sides of the historic 1908 Jett Building in Sundance Square. The painting by Richard Haas shows cattle being driven through Fort Worth on the Chisholm Trail, which began in San Antonio and traveled thousands of miles north. Several smaller trails converged in Fort Worth as a way station north to Kansas in the late 1800s. The mural is arguably one of the most-photographed pieces of art in the city.
13. Statue of Bill Pickett
Bill Pickett was the most famous African American cowboy, and the country's first African American movie star. This gritty bronze artwork by Lisa Perry shows Pickett throwing a Texas longhorn, something that he did quite well -- Pickett invented the sport of "bulldogging," now called steer wrestling, in the early part of the 20th century. Ever the colorful showman, Pickett surely earned his place in the Cowboy Hall of Fame as the first African American cowboy admitted.
14. The Water Gardens
One of the city's original pieces of interactive sculpture, the Water Gardens includes a meditation pool, an aerated pool and the terraced area where water cascades down 38 feet of concrete. The gardens were designed by architect Phillip Johnson, who also designed the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Can you name another piece of Fort Worth public art that's been featured in a movie? The Water Gardens served as part of the exterior of the sci-fi cult classic Logan's Run in 1976.
15. Conjoined, Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art
Is it two tangled trees, or is it a lover's dance? Artist Roxy Paine's stainless steel sculpture was originally located in New York's Union Square. Curator Michael Auping chose the art for the specific spot on the lawn behind the museum, on a gentle rise behind the museum's reflecting pool.