Client: City of Houston
Location: Houston, TX, United States
Completion date: 2017
Artwork budget: $85,500
Public Art Agent
Houston Arts Alliance
Residents of Pleasantville
City of Houston
“Know All Men by These Presents” is a mosaic mural created by Marsha Dorsey-Outlaw for the Judson Robinson, Sr., Community Center in Houston, TX. Commissioned by the City of Houston, the mural measures 20' x 8.5' and is made out of earthenware and stoneware claybodies, decorative glass, marble and onyx mosaic tiles, and various glazes. The work focuses on the life of the Pleasantville community and on symbols of African Akan-Ashanti culture.
A primary goal of the project was to reflect the local community of Pleasantville, one of Houston's historically African American neighborhoods. In creating her project proposal, Dorsey-Outlaw researched the neighborhood and traveled it extensively to learn more about its history and landmarks. She also connected with the manager of the new community center, two schools, a senior center, Judson Robinson III, and individual community residents to the request their buy-in and raise interest in the art project. Once selected, Dorsey-Outlaw held a series of community meetings in which she engaged locals to create some of the tiles that now appear on the artwork. Dorsey-Outlaw thoughtfully strove to have the symbolism of her imagery exemplify and honor the people of Pleasantville. The resulting composition is a vibrant and textural mosaic that knits together footprints made by residents, folded paper “spinner” toys, quilting squares, a large “I Voted” sticker, a scouting patch, local churches and schools, and a regal Akan staff in a seamless flow of colorful symbols.
“Know All Men by These Presents” was created through a partnership between the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department, Houston Arts Alliance, and artist Marsha Dorsey-Outlaw. Dorsey-Outlaw herself worked with a number of community leaders and organizations as well as contractors to realize the Judson Robinson, Sr., Community Center mosaic in its most intricate and inclusive form.