Arts / Galleries

Striking New Interactive Art Piece Plays With the Light In Hughes Landing — The Woodlands’ Art Landscape Grows Again

A Different Look For Night and Day

BY // 07.13.23

Shoal — a new experiential art piece in Hughes Landing in The Woodlands — is the latest addition to one of the largest public art collections in the country. Commissioned from Squidsoup — an international collaborative group of artists researchers, technologists and designers known for creating award-winning digital media experiences — by the Howard Hughes Corporation, Shoal features 750 individual orbs of light suspended in air and programmed to seamlessly flow in mesmerizing movement to sound.

“Shoal is a new interactive piece that adds to the diversity of our expansive art collection, reinforces the power of art in placemaking — a fundamental component of The Woodlands’ original vision for the community,” says Jim Carman, president of the Houston region for The Howard Hughes Corporation.

The orbs in this striking art piece are choreographed as a collective, inspired from the captivating movement patterns of shoals — large groups of fish swimming together in captivating patterns. Hundreds of speakers and LEDs work together to create this symbolic art.

Shoal operates in different ways, depending on the time of the day. During daylight, it is an ambient moving sound piece. In the evening, it presents delicate undulating lightwork with sound. At specific times, the art even comes alive with bursts of activity and waves of energy that last for about 15 minutes before reverting to a calmer state.

“Shoal is the latest in a series of works that use our own system of hundreds of points of light and sound to create new forms of immersive and ambient works, and was designed specifically for Hughes Landing,” Squidsoup founder Anthony Rowe says. “We are honored and delighted to present the work to the residents and visitors of The Woodlands.”

Squidsoup’s award-winning work is installed globally.

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SHOAL adds to The Woodlands’ extensive arts scene.
SHOAL adds to The Woodlands’ extensive arts scene.

Exemplifying the power of art as a wayfinding tool, the new work of art will engage visitors to Hughes Landing’s own Restaurant Row, beckoning them through the walkway between Fogo de Chão and Del Frisco’s Grille to the entrance of the Hughes Landing band shell and boardwalk overlooking Lake Woodlands.

Many in the community are excited about the new permanent art.

“The Shoal installation is so unique,” The Woodlands Arts Council executive director Jenny Carattini-Wright tells PaperCity The Woodlands. “We love the combination of experiences you have when visiting it. We are grateful to Howard Hughes for realizing the impact art can have on a community like ours.”

Shoal joins nearly 90 pieces of outdoor work in The Woodlands, including the 2022 installation of a 35,000-square-foot mural dubbed “Flowers” from internationally acclaimed artist Alex Katz. It was commissioned by Howard Hughes to anchor a 2.3 acre outdoor community gathering space in Waterway Square.

It’s The Woodlands. New dramatic art always seems to be coming — and putting down roots.

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