Public Art Curator shares story, passion for art, preparation for Public Art Day
For UH Public Art Curator Michael Guidry, art is not just a profession —it’s been a passion of his from a young age.
“I’ve always been interested in the arts,” Guidry said. “I knew at a very early age that I needed to work in a creative environment.”
This week is a test of strength for Guidry, as he prepares for UH’s annual Public Art Day on Saturday. Guidry said that events like UH Public Art Day are a fun way for people to become aware about the art collection on campus.
“This event in particular will be a fun occasion to introduce community members who may not know about the Public Art Collection,” Guidry said. “We wanted the event to be a family day as well so people of all ages can come and enjoy the afternoon. We’ll have food, dance, music and art-making activities.”
With over 300 pieces of art across the University, Guidry said his job as curator entails quite a bit.
“I am the curator, the registrar of the collection, I oversee the conservation of the artwork on campus, maintain the database and field calls and requests for information,” Guidry said.
Guidry said that his main vision for the future of campus art is to have the University differentiate itself from other schools.
“Our vision is to continue adding important artists and artwork to the collection,” Guidry said. “We want to draw more audiences with frequent, creative programs and continue to set ourselves apart from most university and civic art collections.”
Guidry said the art on campus has evolved over time.
“Over the years the collection has grown to reflect what is happening in art today,” Guidry said. “We’ve broadened our scope of what public art is or should be.”
Just like Guidry, Chief Registrar and Exhibition Manager for Blaffer Art Museum Young-min Chung said that art is important to campus life.
“All types of art make human beings unique,” Chung said. “I think art is a very pivotal point of being a human being.”
Chung also said that Guidry is the perfect person to be in charge of the University’s art collection.
“He’s an artist, so he understands the process of an artist,” Chung said. “He has a very versatile background and experience that he can bring to the table.”
Aside from all of his regular duties and organizing Public Art Day, Guidry was also instrumental in developing the “UH ARTour,” a smartphone app that provides users with a guide to the art pieces located around campus and provides information about the artists and characteristics of the works.
Journalism junior Jonathon Marin is familiar with the Public Art Collection and said that he thinks art is important to the campus community.
“The school has a great art collection,” Marin said. “I think more people need to visit it. Some of the installations are really cool. Art is a fundamental way humans express themselves. Besides, Michael Guidry does a great job maintaining the public collection on campus.”
Ultimately, Guidry believes art influences individuals in a variety of ways and that students should take advantage of the artworks the campus has to offer.
“We are fortunate here at the University of Houston,” Guidry said. “We not only have a vibrant academic setting but one that is also supported with numerous cultural experiences like visual arts as well as performing arts.”
The UH Public Art Day is set for noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Grove East of the Moores School of Music. Partial tours of the UH Public Art Collection will be provided, as well as live music and dance performances by UH students. Parking, admission and participation will be free.