Be Someone - Houston, TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member jhuoni
N 29° 46.379 W 095° 22.031
15R E 271139 N 3295979
Quick Description: Coordinates are on IH-45 South just before the Crockett Street bridge. The only way to view this is while traveling on the freeway.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 2/23/2019 2:26:52 PM
Waymark Code: WM104B6
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
Views: 2

Long Description:

From 365ThingsInHouston By Cody Swann - May 17, 2017

Pass beneath the inspiring “Be Someone” graffiti near Downtown.

Look up to spot Houston’s hopeful “Be Someone” street art as you cruise down the freeway on I-45 South, just north of Downtown.

Hovering just above southbound traffic on a tattered train bridge above I-45 South, the now-famed “Be Someone” graffiti has been greeting commuting Houstonians since it turned up out of nowhere in September 2012.

Onlookers won’t need to try very hard to find the guerilla art piece, given that the inspiring message, scrawled in massive blue lettering, can be easily spotted smack dab in the center of the bridge just before the Downtown Destinations Milam Street exit and the four giant heads of David Adickes’ Mount Rush Hour.

To this day, the artist behind the iconic tag remains (officially) anonymous, mostly to avoid what would be pending charges of vandalism. Although social media sleuthing can provide some insight.

Regardless of accreditation, the artist’s work and message live on; commanding Houstonians to be the change (and person) they wish to see in the world.

Before You Visit the “Be Someone” Graffiti

Though this commanding artwork easily makes for a great photo-op to add to an Instagram or Facebook timeline, we remind you that this work is only accessible via vehicle traveling southbound on the I-45 freeway.

We encourage visitors to please refrain from trying to snap a photo while behind the wheel and navigating traffic.

Rather, if you are going to try to take the perfect photograph, we ask that you be careful, plan ahead, and bring a friend to snap the photo from the safety of the passenger seat.

And, because you can’t exactly stop to get the perfect shot, you may consider making your run on a clear day just before rush hour, when traffic under the graffiti slows to a crawl.

“Be Someone” Graffiti in I-45 South Near Downtown
Location: I-45 South near the Downtown Destinations Milam Street exit
Creator: Anonymous

Houston Chronicle Lifestyle Section Craig Hlavaty on January 4, 2018.

Be Someone' as an official Houston landmark? For now it will need to remain a folk icon…

A recent Change.org petition has asked for the famous "BE SOMEONE" graffiti piece to be named a protected landmark.

But how would that come about? It would involve the cooperation of both the city of Houston and Union Pacific Railroad, which operates the railroad overpass it's on.

Since 2012, it's become an icon of sorts, the subject of everything from coffee mugs, shirts, to tattoos.

The message first showed up overnight sometime in September 2012, along with another phrase on the other side, "REMüV "hate!""

Even rapper Paul Wall has a "BE SOMEONE" tattoo. To say it's not a true pop culture phenomenon in Houston is being disingenuous. It's been called "hopeful" and "saccharine" by local pundits. It also seems to be one of the most-photographed Houston icons.

The artist behind the piece told Chron.com that he is not connected with the current petition but he is humbled by it.

One of the young Houstonians who are enamored by it is Coleton Emr, who created the petition. Two television news outlets in Houston reached out to Emr about the petition, which has over 15,000 digital signatures.

The 22-year-old wants to deliver the petition to the city of Houston, the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission, and the Texas State Historical Commission.

"Not only are Houstonians and Texans passionate about it but I've seen signatures from coast to coast. California to New York and even signatures from Mexico and Canada," Emr says. "The sign has been ingrained as an important part of Houston's culture and who we are as a city."

It's routinely being tampered with, always sparking a minor outcry among a generation of Houstonians who feel an ownership over it and emboldened by the sentiment.

Emr would like to see the piece illuminated at night and given some sort of protection from would-be vandals.

"It only makes sense to protect the things you love and Houstonians definitely show their love for the iconic piece of art," Emr says.

Older Houstonians, meanwhile, don't have such a glossy view of the tag scrawled on a train overpass over I-45 South. For them, it's illegal graffiti and an eyesore.

It's frustrating and farcical when its defaced in some way and and happens over and over again. While the city sleeps the artist is precariously hanging off the train bridge in the dark of the night touching it up with that unique turquoise color

.

The artist himself prefers to remain anonymous due to the nature of the work. Technically, he's a criminal. His adventures can be followed on a very popular Instagram account.

Although in some eyes it would fit at least some of the criteria to be designated an official historical landmark, it might be a harder sell to those who aren't fans of street art, even with all the strides it's made in the mainstream culture.

Making a piece of street art an official Houston landmark would, of course, necessitate involvement by the city of Houston which might be sticky.

It's owned by Union Pacific, which operates that stretch of railroad, and they don't have such a rosy view of the "BE SOMEONE" piece, it seems.

"The bridge in question is private property and an active piece of railroad infrastructure, critical to the movement of freight across the city of Houston," says Jeff DeGraff, a spokesperson with Union Pacific.

"The application of any artwork, whether temporary or permanent, poses significant safety issues both along the railroad tracks and the roadway below and is aggressively discouraged. Union Pacific does not have any plans to alter the current condition of the bridge."

So there we have it, straight from the railroad's mouthpiece. But that doesn't mean they hate the piece.

"We support the sentiment behind the message. Union Pacific is proud to be a member of the Houston community that is exemplified by this message," says DeGraff. "However, this is not a canvas, but rather an active piece of infrastructure. Safety is a top priority for Union Pacific and we have to keep that in mind."

Leah Brown with the Texas Historical Commission said that the city could probably speak to their process for nominating landmarks for local historical protection, noting there are no plans for a state designation.

Debbie McNulty, the director of the mayor's cultural affairs office, weighed in on Thursday.

"The painting is the property of the Union Pacific railroad and therefore not in the sphere of our office," says McNulty.

The artist says that no matter what happens he will still be there to touch up his piece.

"I'll still be here creating and pushing the movement forward through my work for the city and everyone that supports what we do." he said via e-mail. "It truly is amazing to have the city behind us."

For now, it seems "BE SOMEONE" will need to be a folk icon, and maybe that's better for everyone. The piece being co-opted by "the man" might hurt more than it would help.

Craig Hlavaty is a reporter for Chron.com and HoustonChronicle.com. He's an intolerable native Texan with too much ink in his skin and too much brisket stuck in his teeth.

Type of Surface: Bridge

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