PROJECT HIGHLIGHT | The Welcoming Committee

The Welcoming Committee, Julie Richey’s public art project for the North Animal Care and Adoption Campus commissioned by the City’s Public Art Program, adds an element of playfulness throughout the complex with multiple site-specific works. The sprawling installation is integrated into the breadth of the campus, thereby encouraging visitors to explore the many buildings, walkways, and outdoor features of the site.

The engaging artworks are intended to encourage animal adoptions by the visiting public by presenting the best aspects of our pets: their playfulness, energy, and devotion to their adoptive families. The artwork design features playful cat and dog mosaic sculptures, both flat and three-dimensional, that represent various breeds in five distinct areas of the campus: the vehicular entrance; the adoption center entrance, interior, and rear exterior gathering space; and the promenade in front of the veterinary clinic.

Three entry gabions, made of naturally-finished steel and filled with river rock, act as directional marker towers. Featured dogs “Chip,” a mixed-breed shepherd, and “Pepita, an oversized Chihuahua, along with a colorful green cat named “Luna,” stand atop each of the three pedestals. The towers are 5, 6.5 and 8 feet tall, offering visitors who arrive at the facility a destination marker visible at the main maintenance facility intersection.

Magnolia (“Mags”) is a striking 5 foot tall greeter to the adoption center, which is where visitors meet staff and adoptable cats.  She’s situated atop a gabion bench, happily awaiting visitors to take photos with their new furry family members.  To address the center’s interior, Richey invited California muralist and Texas native John Wehrle to design a hand-painted mural for the main wall, entitled “Cats and Dogs Aloft.” The colorful work features three cats and seven dogs in various states of play against a neighborhood prairie and blue Texas sky. Painted animals interact with the intended seating area and the flat screen tv while a tuxedo cat sits atop the doorway leading to the adoption room. Additionally, three glass mosaic cats sit or lounge atop the yellow I-beams that make up the focal point of the building’s structure. Two cats, a standing tortoiseshell and a sleeping Korat, rest on a beam while a third cat, is ready to pounce from the opposite wall. Exiting to the back patio of the building, Terra, a 5 foot tall standing Calico cat, leans against the railing as if reaching for something overhead with the natural marsh behind her.

Across from the center, Richey created a series of five dogs of various breeds running along the wall of the veterinary clinic. Placed in dynamic poses, these two-sided mosaic dogs include: a lead dog carrying a red ball in her mouth, escaping from her pursuers; “Shaggy,” an Afghan hound, following in aerodynamic fashion; “Jack,” a Jack Russell Terrier, bounding along with his tongue out; “Rosie,” a stout and determined bulldog, barreling down the wall; and, “Lucy,” a wiry Westie-Terrier mix, bringing up the rear. The dogs range in scale from 2-4 feet long and 1.5-2 feet high.

An artwork dedication event is forthcoming. Please check back for more details!


See other new projects currently underway by visiting the Art In Progress page.