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North Houston District installs new AR Mural at Airline Library

North Houston District celebrates innovative Augmented Reality mural, Spreading Knowledge, at Harris County’s Aldine Branch Library

The North Houston District invites the public to experience the new Augmented Reality feature of Spreading Knowledge, an over-sized mural by Houston artist Dual which brightens up Harris County’s Aldine Branch Library. The installation is the first in the North Houston District’s new public art program, being planned and produced by UP Art Studio, a local civic art firm. The District successfully applied for an AARP Community Challenge Grant to fund the project and create their A/ R vision; AARP works to make public places more welcoming and walkable for seniors and people of all ages and abilities.

With a smartphone in hand, anyone can experience the “augmented reality” magic of Houston’s first commissioned public art AR mural. An explanation of the mural and a demonstration of the AR feature will be part of the event. The donor appreciation plaque will also be installed.

North Houston District officials, along with invited librarians and library representatives, AARP representatives and members of the community were on hand at the dedication Nov. 16. The original mural imagery was created by Dual. The Augmented Reality component was developed separately by Dream Syndicate, a Philadelphia firm that specializes in AR projects and has national AR mural experience.

The Augmented Reality Mural is on the side of the building at the Harris County Aldine Branch Library, 11331 Airline Drive, Houston, TX 77037.

The 9’ high by 40’ wide mural creatively interprets the word KNOWLEDGE – which resonates with the library’s mission. Aldine Branch Library serves thousands of nearby residents including children and youths who attend Bussey Elementary School, Intermediate and Aldine High School – all on the same block nearby.

HOW AUGMENTED REALITY WORKS

Visitors scan a QR code by the mural with their smartphone. This allows them to launch the AR experience from their Facebook or Instagram account. While holding a smartphone facing the mural, at various angles, the visitor sees a vibrant sequence of inspirational phrases bursting with colors and moving elements — flying books, birds, butterflies, colored ribbons.

ABOUT THE NEW PUBLIC ART PROGRAM

North Houston District engaged UP Art Studio, a local civic art firm, to produce a “Public Art and Placemaking Opportunities Report” earlier this year. It lays out a road map for a new public art program designed to boost the area’s appeal; to make it attractive as a place to work, live, and do business; and to demonstrate investment that enhances residents’ sense of security and future promise.

ABOUT THE NORTH HOUSTON DISTRICT

North Houston District is a business improvement district (BID) that leverages public and private partnerships to improve the area. Its services include beautification, transportation/mobility, public safety, recreational development, marketing, strategic planning and development. Minutes from Bush IAH, the District’s 12-square-mile service area has 20 million square feet of office, retail and industrial properties. It is home to more than 3,800 businesses, 68,000 employees and 118,500 residents. The BID was created in 1991 by the Texas Legislature. www.northhouston.org