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'On Site x Off Site' Conversations to Spotlight Artists Vincent Valdez, Adriana Corral

UHD's Mark Cervenka Moderating Artist Talk July 21


By Mike Emery

Public Art of the University of Houston System (Public Art UHS) spans across four universities. With more than 700 works, including many at the University of Houston-Downtown, the collection adds rich color to UHS campuses and the nearby communities.

Among the pieces at UHD is the provocative painting “One in a Million” displayed on the fourth floor of the One Main Building. The man behind this work, Vincent Valdez will be featured in the latest edition of Public Art UHS’ “On Site x Off Site” conversation series. He will be joined by fellow artist Adriana Corral, whose work (installations, sculpture, performances) also addresses socially relevant themes. Moderated by Mark Cervenka, Director of UHD’s O’Kane Gallery and Professor of Art, the free event will be conducted via Zoom at 5 p.m., July 21. To RSVP, visit the Public Art UHS website.

According to Cervenka, the discussion will address the challenges faced by these artists in the wake of the pandemic, their respective works, and both artists’ commitment to creating works promoting social justice.

“Another layer to this discussion is that Vincent and Adriana are a couple,” Cervenka said. “We will certainly discuss how they have been affected by the pandemic as artists. Travel and moving forward with large projects and exhibition plans are concerns for artists just as with anyone right now.”

The July edition of “On Site x Off Site” will be the second consecutive discussion with an artist whose work is on view at UHD. Last month’s conversation featured Jacob Hashimoto, who created the popular “Cloud Deck” installation located at UHD’s Shea Street Building.

Valdez and Hashimoto’s work at UHD was made possible through UHS’ policy committing one percent of UHS buildings’ construction budget to public art. The “On Site x Off Site” series celebrates these works at UHS campuses but also provides insights on the artists themselves and other projects they have created either in Houston or across the nation. Likewise, the series introduces art patrons in Houston and around the world to the rich collection of public art located at both UHD and other UHS institutions.

“Maria Gaztambide, Director of Public Art UHS, has done a great job of leading the virtual discussions as a way to continue to open the collection to public access,” Cervenka said. “They are providing a great alternative for folks to hear the artists as they quarantine in their homes.”

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and 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 President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.