Take a quick snap of the We Love Houston sign, the Bayou City’s newest and most public display of affection, at its new perch alongside the Katy Freeway.
Though it stands 28-feet tall, the We Love Houston sign (also known as the “We Heart Houston” sign) can still be easy to miss as you drive along I-10. This is especially true if you’re watching the road ahead – and most dangerously true if you’re watching your cell phone. But since its installation at the new location on July 3, 2013, the effusive sign is rapidly becoming a beloved Houston landmark.
Origin of the We Love Houston Sign
The giant, all-inclusive, three-dimensional love letter to Houston was the creation of David Adickes, the Houston area sculptor responsible for some of Houston’s most larger-than-life public art, including Virtuoso at the Lyric Center, his infamous and prolific President Heads, his elusive Beatles statues, and even the 76-foot tall Sam Houston proudly on display in Huntsville, Texas.
In fact, the 36-foot tall Beatles sculptures, depicting the band during their Sergeant Pepper era, were originally intended to be installed at this location, but Adickes decided they were too tall for the spot. Enter his We Heart Houston sign.
Adickes originally debuted the sign in 2011, but it remained onsite at his informal sculpture staging grounds at Adickes SculpturWorx Studio at 2500 Summer Street, while the slow-going construction along this stretch of the Katy Freeway continued.
When discussing the inspiration for his “We Love Houston” sign, Adickes cited iconographic images from both coasts. He said the infamous Hollywood sign was the primary motivation, with an additional influence from the ubiquitous “I Love New York” logo.
“I wanted ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ because it’s a shared experience. We all love Houston, don’t we?” Adickes told CultureMap. But his individual devotion to Houston remains clear, given that Adickes funded the entire project himself.
Visiting the We Love Houston Sign
Although the sign is a public display, both the sign and the land it is installed on are not public property. They both still belong to sculptor and creator Adickes. So if you visit the sign to take a photo, respect both the property itself and the neighborhood behind it.
There is no designated parking by the sign, but visitors are able to parallel park alongside the lot along the Interstate frontage road. Although the road is not as busy as the Katy Freeway it runs along, it still gets a steady beat of traffic. So be careful and cautious when exiting and entering your vehicle.
Also remember that, since the site is not a park, the grounds around the sign may be uneven and overgrown at times. Given that, and the busy road and highway next to it, the sign is not a place where children should ever be left unattended or given free reign to play.
Houston to We Love Houston Sign: Right Back at You
Even though the sign is not a city creation, it has certainly been welcomed. City officials including Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Councilmember Jack Christie attended a formal dedication ceremony for the sign on July 12, 2013.
“I appreciate art in unexpected places and art that is accessible to folks,” said Mayor Parker. “It’s a wonderful gift. I hope people see it and smile when they go by.”
“It’s just a big, festive sign,” Adickes told CultureMap. “I’m hoping this will become an iconic image of Houston.”
Additional foliage and vegetation, real and fake, is reported to be added around the sign in the near future. But for time being it stands there in all of its solitary, brightly-hued glory.
- Location: 1816 Thompson Street, Houston, TX 77007
- Parking: There is no official parking spot for the sign, which is located on a private lot owned by its creator. However, visitors can usually parallel park right alongside the lot on the Katy Freeway frontage road. Be very mindful of traffic along the road. Given the often busy frontage road, it is not a good idea to take small children to this location without extreme supervision.
- Creator and Owner: David Adickes