Officials with the University of Houston, the Sugar Land Office of Economic Development and the Fort Bend County Judge’s office were on hand to unveil a new mural celebrating the richness of the Fort Bend community. The Diversity Over Division Mural features the work of six international artists, under the direction of Houston artist Reginald Adams.
“Our hope was to have a standing legacy to the diversity of our region,” said Jay Neal, associate vice president for academic affairs and chief operating officer for UH at Sugar Land. “Our university, like our city and county, celebrates diversity. We are proud to have this mural on our instructional site.”
The piece is installed on the east windows of UH at Sugar Land’s Brazos Hall, across from the University Branch Library.
The Diversity Over Division Mural was made possible through the generous support of the Sugar Land Office of Economic Development, the title sponsor of the mural, as well as individual and corporate donations.
Joe Zimmerman, Mayor of Sugar Land, said the city is pleased to support this effort to highlight one of Sugar Land’s greatest strengths — its people.
“This artwork, and the programming planned to go along with it, reflects all of us,” he said. “It opens the door for us to continue the conversation about working together for the benefit of our community.”
“The Sugar Land Office of Economic Development’s support for this project is part of our ongoing effort to incorporate art throughout Sugar Land’s key destinations and places,” he said. “It also supports Economic Development’s efforts to showcase alignment with the values of our business community. Workforce and diversity continue to be listed as top priorities for corporations making location decisions.”
H-E-B also was an early supporter of the mural.
“H-E-B has been a strong and longtime supporter of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives across our state for decades,” says James Harris, director of Diversity & Inclusion and Supplier Diversity for H-E-B. “In 2020, we launched our Be the Change Campaign, which provides us with an even larger platform to celebrate the rich cultural diversity of Texas. This mural captures the essence of diversity and inclusion, which exist in our great state. H-E-B is proud to be one of the sponsors of this mural installation.”
Diversity Over Division is a collaboration between the Fort Bend County Judge’s Office, the Fort Bend County Libraries and UH at Sugar Land.
“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization,” said Fort Bend County Judge KP George, quoting Mahatma Gandhi.
The sixteen window panels feature the six colorful depictions of unity, diversity and community — children embracing, women’s maternal energy, diversity in nature and the compelling and compassionate gaze from an indigenous boy.
“I believe in the power of unity and collaboration and this piece represents our individual strengths coming together to create one community,” Adams said. “Fort Bend County is a microcosm of the world. The artists who created this mirror that.”
Six artists from Texas and around the world contributed their work: Ami Mehta, Samson Adenugba, Laura Lopez Cano, Tony Parana, Dandee Warhol and Rhonda Radford Adams.
Weaving through the piece are words from Houston’s former poet-laureate, D.E.E.P., from her poem "Growing Tomorrow in a Field of Today" written specifically to accompany the visuals: "We choose to not live in the monochrome of our ignorance but in the Technicolor of our diversity." The words complement the visuals and support the themes of diversity and inclusion.
“Poets are record keepers of the times, town criers who remind people of their responsibility and make them more aware of the things they can’t see or refuse to see for themselves,” she said.
The Diversity Over Division Mural is the culmination of a year-long initiative (Diversity Over Division) that brought together the efforts of UH at Sugar Land, the Fort Bend County Judge’s Office and the Fort Bend County Libraries. Other events included Youth Voices Panel Discussion, a photography contest, art and literacy contest, book discussions with diverse authors and the inaugural Higher Expectation Lecture Series.
For more information: https://uh.edu/sugarland/diversity/