Arts / Galleries

An Artist From The Woodlands’ Work to Welcome International Travelers at IAH — Marlo Saucedo Gets a Spotlight Moment

Turning Her Dining Room Into a Studio Pays Off

BY // 02.27.24

When the call for art to decorate six renovated gates at George W. Bush International Airport’s Terminal D came out, Woodlands word artist Marlo Saucedo and her collaborators answered. But so did 166 other Houston area artists.

“What they wanted was a welcome mat for Houston,” Saucedo tells PaperCity The Woodlands. “This is going to be the first thing that people see when they get off an international flight. So it has to be Houston. It has to shout Houston.

“It also has to sing Welcome.”

Saucedo and her collaborators Leslie Gaworecki and Emanuelee Bean came up with a plan.

“What we pitched was Bayou birds and trees, with Houston’s poet laureate Emanuelee “Outspoken” Bean — his words about Houston,”  Saucedo says. “And then the six pieces of the skyline of Houston with Welcome to Houston in over 100 languages. So that as soon as they go out the (airplane) door, whatever language they speak, they might see it in the Houston skyline.”

Their pitch put them in the final round.

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“They got it down to 12 and then they had us present and then they got it down to six,” Saucedo says. “This is really exciting for us. We’ve never done anything to this scale.” 

Saucedo’s group made it to the final six and now get to have their work showcased at George Bush airport.

Getting showcased at the airport will put Saucedo’s art front of many more people than have ever seen her work before.

“Houston Airports Public Art program director and curator Alton Delaney was saying more people come through the airport by far than any museum,” Saucedo notes.

Teaming Up at the Silos

Several years ago, Saucedo teamed up with Leslie Gaworecki while both artists were working out of the The Silos at Sawyer Yards in Houston.

“They had a show where they asked Silos artists to pair up,” Saucedo says. “So (Gaworecki) approached me and she said, ‘What if I do the background and you do the foreground for the show?’ So we have been working together for years.”

“Welcome” is translated into more than 100 languages, and is part of the upcoming art installation at Bush International Airport. (Photo by Marlo Saucedo)
“Welcome” is translated into more than 100 languages, and is part of the upcoming art installation at Bush International Airport. (Photo by Marlo Saucedo)

In this collaboration for the airport, Gaworecki paints the background, and Saucedo paints the words of Bean. The installation is huge. Picture nine panels that are 5-feet tall and 6-feet wide, and some additional seven-foot tall panels. Right now, they are all in Saucedo’s front room, which is serving as her art studio for this project.

With panels so large, there were few options for working on them. So Saucedo and her family came up with a novel solution.

“Why don’t we just clear the dining room?” Saucedo remembers suggesting. “So we did it. All the dining room furniture is somewhere else and that whole area was for me to work. The light’s pretty good too.”

An Artist in The Woodlands’ Creative Journey

Saucedo’s journey to  becoming an artist wasn’t traditional.

“I was at my MBA program in Austin,” Saucedo says. “And at the time (1995), I think there were like 30% women at this program. I was midway through the first year, which was a really challenging year for me because I was a psychology major. I was in classes with marketing, finance and accounting majors.

“All of my friends that I had made had been journalism or  radio majors. They’d all dropped out. I didn’t know anybody who wasn’t accounting, finance or marketing as an undergrad. And I was there as a psychology major. I had to go to brown bag lunch every day with my accounting professor to keep from failing.”

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Marlo Saucedo (@marlosaucedoart)

In order to do something different, she enrolled in art classes as well.

“I went over to the art building and I took things like life drawing, ” Saucedo says. “Then I also did a journal, but I didn’t want it to be a journal. I wanted it to be a journal that laid out kind of how I was feeling. Something artistic. So I did a drawing of me leaving Austin and a car with a map and I filled it with all these words.

“It’s all these ’90s song lyrics and all this stuff, and someone bought that piece. It’s in Portugal right now.”

And that’s how this artist now based in The Woodlands got her start. While living in Houston after Austin and a few other spots, Saucedo used buildings as her starting point, and created art with data about buildings.

Two of the panels that Saucedo is working on in her home show the depth of her work. (Photo courtesy of Marlo Saucedo)
Two of the panels that Saucedo is working on in her home show the depth of her work. (Photo courtesy of Marlo Saucedo)

Other artists for this IAH airport commission are Reginald Adams, Emilie Duval, Graciela Hasper, Lovie Olivia, Gerardo Rosales, Regina Silveira, Nick Vaughn and Jake Margolin.

Installation is scheduled for early April. Look for some amazing art next time you’re flying out of Terminal D, including some big pieces with a touch of The Woodlands.

Houston Airports’ art collection is part of the City of Houston’s collection and is managed overall by the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.  This project is commissioned by the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs on behalf of the Houston Airport System for Houston through the city’s Civic Arts Program.

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