Coming Soon … The Gator Wall's Return
New Mural Along Allen’s Landing Aimed at Inspiring Pride
By Mike Emery
Coming soon to a blank wall near the University of Houston-Downtown’s Willow Street Pump Station … the new Gator Wall.
Starting next week, noted artist and muralist Sebastien “MrD1987” Boileau and his Houston-based mural company Eyeful Art returns to UHD to add another pride-inspiring piece of art to campus. The artist will create a new Gator Wall on campus, providing an image that perfectly embodies the grit and spirit of the UHD Community.
Faculty, staff, students and alumni will recall that Boileau was the creative talent behind the original Gator Wall located on a storage building in the University’s Daly Street Lot. While that popular mural was conceived as a temporary addition to campus (and recently removed to make way for the College of Sciences & Technology Building), the new Gator Wall will be a permanent installation.
“I’m excited in more ways than one,” Boileau said. “People were very passionate about the first Gator Wall, and it’s very exciting to bring it back … albeit in a different way.
According to the artist, the new Gator Wall will bear some resemblance to its predecessor, but UHD Community members should expect a degree of realism in this depiction of the UHD mascot.
“This wall is a little smaller, but its location is very interesting,” he said. “It will be a big surprise for people on campus. And, its proximity to the bayou is very appropriate.”
The new Gator Wall is located behind the Willow Street Pump Station along Buffalo Bayou on historic Allen’s Landing. It will be visible from windows on the east side of the One Main Building and from the Main Street Bridge. Once complete, faculty, staff, students and alumni can venture to the Gator Wall for selfies and photos via a paved pathway near the Wood Street Parking Lot.
“Houston is very open minded,” he said. “The city has been very welcoming of artists pushing the envelope with regards to public art, and this is an example of that.”
The new Gator Wall will be completed in February and is the latest pride enhancement to UHD. During the past year, school spirit has been bolstered by the addition of two bronze Gators (one at One Main Building and another at the Shea Street Building) and blue lights on the One Main Building. Additionally, a new student-created mural was installed on the second floor and a Gator mini mural at Main and Commerce streets (created by UP Art Studios) welcomes pedestrians as they walk toward campus.
Although the original Gator Wall was removed, its image still resides on campus (in smaller form) near Starbuck's on the third floor of the Academic Building and in the UHD Bookstore (on the second floor).
“We’re honored to have MrD1987 back on campus to create another memorable work for the UHD Community,” said Elisa Olsen, executive director of University Relations. “The finished work will not only serve as a reminder of our Gator mascot, it also will be a site that celebrates our university’s role in our city and throughout the region.”
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD)—the second largest university in Houston—has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974.
As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive four-year university led by Interim President Dr. Antonio D. Tillis. Annually, UHD educates more than 15,000 students; boasts more than 51,000 alumni and offers 44 bachelor’s, nine master’s degree programs and 16 fully online programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service, Sciences & Technology; and University College).
UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.