As part of several high-profile initiatives to commemorate Hermann Park’s 100th birthday in 2014, Hermann Park Conservancy launched Art in the ParkArt in the Park was a series of contemporary art installations displayed over the Park's 445 acres throughout 2014 and beyond.

After seeing the popularity of Art in the Park and the need for art to be part of programming initiatives, the Conservancy determined that raising a large endowment fund to support Art in the Park was the way to continue the highly acclaimed program. With that, the Conservancy launched the Fund for Public Art in the spring of 2017 with the goal of funding the Art in the Park program.

Art in the Park endeavors to mirror its site, a public park, by presenting open, accessible artworks that engage visitors on multiple levels. Guided by the unexpected delight of new discoveries and the child-like joy they can engender, the artworks will be carefully selected and expertly sited to enhance the Hermann Park experience.

Kicking off the revival of Art in the Park, the Conservancy commissioned two installations to coincide with the opening of the Commons. The first is Scattering Surface, by Brooklyn-based artist Alyson Shotz, installed in April 2024 and on display in a natural area adjacent to McGovern Lake and the Japanese Garden, across the pedestrian island from the Commons. Joining Scattering Surface will be an installation called Canopy, by Houstonian Anthony Suber. Suber’s piece will be on view in the Commons, located on Bob and Elsa’s Memorial Art Grove, adjacent to the Japanese Garden’s west entrance. The new installations join Trenton Doyle Hancock's Destination Mound Town, installed in 2014, which is on display in the Hermann Park Railroad tunnel and can be seen as you ride the rails.

To make a gift to support the Fund for Public Art in Hermann Park, please click here.

Alyson Shotz

Scattering Surface

Alyson Shotz

Scattering Surface, 2024

Stainless Steel and Polished Stainless Steel

Alyson Shotz is an American sculptor living in Brooklyn, New York. Shotz is known for large-scale sculptures that subvert their own physicality in order to explore the phenomenological experience of space, gravity, light and matter. 

Hermann Park Conservancy commissioned Shotz to create a new sculpture for Hermann Park to kick off a re-energized Art in the Park program alongside the opening of the Commons. Installed in April 2024, the new 16-foot high sculpture: Scattering Surface is named for a phenomenon of light itself.  It refers to cosmological theory about the first light of the universe that is visible to us.

The sculpture is composed of thousands of welded stainless steel circles, which reflect light and scatter the visible surroundings into tiny pieces, shifting and moving across the sculpture like an analog screen. The play between the reflections and the spaces between reflections draws attention to the idea of solidity itself as the sculpture creates an optical continuum where negative and positive space continually intertwine.

In Scattering Surface, Shotz is looking at large-scale steel sculpture in a different way. Instead of creating a solid and heavy welded piece, she has created something light - air flows through it and the steel almost seems translucent.

You can find Scattering Surface in the quiet area between the Japanese Garden, McGovern Lake, and the pedestrian island and bridge. Please find a map here for the location. Scattering Surface is a temporary exhibition on display through 2026.

Shotz’s work is included in numerous public collections, such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Guggenheim Bilbao, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, and Storm King Art Center among others.

Courtesy of the artist and Derek Eller Gallery, New York.

Trenton Doyle Hancock

Destination Mound Town

Trenton Doyle Hancock (American, 1974)

Destination Mound Town, 2014

Vinyl, Mixed Media

Dimensions variable

Houston-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock has transformed the interior walls of Hermann Park Railroad's train tunnel into a fantastical landscape populated with creatures both real and imagined. Destination Mound Town is a contribution to Hancock’s ongoing narrative in his artwork of the Mounds, a group of mythical half-animal, half-plant characters. Train passengers will be transported into a day in the life of the Mounds, beginning the journey as they arise in morning and exiting the tunnel as they settle in for the night. To view the installation, hop on the Hermann Park Railroad at Kinder Station, or at any of the remote stops,  and keep your eyes open as you enter the tunnel. For hours and information on the Hermann Park Railroad, visit the Train information page. 

The recipient of numerous awards, Hancock lives and works in Houston, where he was a 2002 Core Artist in Residence at the Glassell School of Art of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. His artwork can be found in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Dallas Museum of Art; Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Trento, Italy; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Hancock’s first retrospective exhibition will be on view at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston beginning in April 2014. 

Please note: there is no safe pedestrian access into the train tunnel. The work is only visible by train.


To see a collection of artwork that was previously on display in Hermann Park as part of the Art in the Park initiative, click here.

Art in the Park Sponsors

Gifts of $500 and above
as of March 15, 2014

The Brown Foundation, Inc.

Cece and Mack Fowler
Barbara and Michael Gamson
The Hearst Foundations
Bunny and Perry Radoff

Chinhui and Eddie Allen
Franci and Jim Crane
The Cullen Foundation
The John R. Eckel, Jr. Special Purpose Trust
Marita and J.B. Fairbanks
Linda and George Kelly
Sara and Bill Morgan
The Sarofim Foundation
Leslie and Shannon Sasser
Judy and Charles Tate
The Susan Vaughan Foundation, Inc.

Anchorage Foundation of Texas
Bank of America
Melanie Gray and Mark Wawro
Steppie and Robert Holsclaw
Houston Arts Alliance
City of Houston
Kathrine G. McGovern
Judy and Scott Nyquist
Ann and Don Short

Jan and Jack Cato
Jereann Chaney
Sara Paschall Dodd
Cynthia and Ben Guill
Elizabeth and Albert Kidd
Gary Mercer
Rowan Companies, Inc.
Hinda Simon
Leigh and Reggie Smith
Cassie B. Stinson

Kate Criner Bellin and Andy Bellin
Kristen and David Buck
Liz and Steve Crowell
Susan and Mac Dunwoody
Guy Hagstette and Douglas Lawing
Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund
Page Kempner
Carla Knobloch
Karol Kreymer and Robert Card, M.D.
Margaret L. Kripke and Isaiah J. Fidler
Charley Landgraf
Marc C. Melcher
Sandra and Kenneth Moffet
Terrylin G. Neale
Carol and David Neuberger
Marilyn Oshman
Winifred Kelsey Riser
Emily Leland Todd
Martha Turner Properties, Inc.
Renee Wallace
Lea Weingarten

Special thanks: Audi Central Houston, Brochsteins, Generation Park, Houston Chronicle, Houston Parks and Recreation Department, United Airlines, Weingarten Art Group, and W.S. Bellows Construction