Artavia neighborhood unveils Jeffie Brewer art installation in new model-home park

By Sondra Hernandez - Houston Chronicle

Developers for the new 2,200-acre master-planned Artavia community in Montgomery County encourage their residents to live colorfully.

Now living a vibrant life in Artavia can start with searching for a new home in the community.

On Saturday, the community on Texas 242 between Interstate 45 and U.S. 59 unveiled its new model home park with 13 houses and a permanent art installation by East Texas artist Jeffie Brewer.

Artavia developers commissioned Brewer to create a backyard sculpture for each of the 13 homes that will permanently be a part of the neighborhood.

“Brewer’s fun and whimsical art provides just enough information, while leaving room for interpretation,” according to an Artavia release. “From his green ‘Meditations on Looking and Seeing’ and the orange ‘Gigaffe’ to the insanely popular ’12-foot Bunny,’ which was his initial sculpture, viewers will be delighted and inspired by his art. Since his first exhibition in 1998, Brewer’s work has appeared in both solo and group shows across North America and in Mexico and Japan.”

Brewer grew up in a small, rural town in East Texas. He was the son of eccentric junk yard owners and learned to spot beauty in the mundane. He developed an array of industrial skills and discovered he had a knack for drawing.

He said the only art he was exposed to growing up was a bronze statue in a park in his hometown, but he always loved to draw and doodle.

As a senior in high school, he visited the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and stumbled upon “The Rocks” by Vincent Van Gogh.

“I was a big dumb burly redneck kid and I just started bawling. I was overcome with the response to this thing,” he said.

He earned advanced degrees in sculpture, metals and painting.

He also holds a degree in drawing, printmaking and jewelry making. He taught a wide range of undergraduate and graduate-level art classes from 1998 to 2019, from sculpture to typography to expressive drawing.

Brewer said he was in his 40s before he figured out how to make something that was truly his own. His artwork features a metal base painted with bold colors in the shapes of animals and other everyday items.

“This project is interesting in that each home has its own piece,” he said. “Generally when someone buys something, they buy one thing. This is kind of cool that they’re all clustered together like a family.”

Artavia’s new model homes range in price from the $290s to $800s.

Development continues in Artavia. Amenities in place include Dapple Park, a 13-acre community park overlooking a five-acre lake where residents can launch a kayak or rent paddleboats.

The contemporary-style clubhouse features event rooms, a 24-hour FitCenter and the Palate Café, a community restaurant.

“Art is an amenity that creates a strong sense of place and builds community pride. Our art in nature focus led us to expand our current offering of ARTScapes in the community by commissioning Jeffie to bring his genius designs to Artavia,” said Lisa Connell, marketing director for AIRIA Development Company, the developer of Artavia. “Jeffie’s whimsical, colorful sculptures felt like a natural fit to the Artavia brand message of ‘Live Colorfully.’”

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