Fresh Arts Sponsored Project Spotlight: First Ward is Blooming

Submitted by Christina Hernandez on Mon, Aug 21st at 7:45 pm

One of Fresh Arts fiscally sponsored projects is bringing vibrant colors to First Ward! 

Carol Simon, local artist and creator of First Ward is Blooming, seeks to involve the community in this innovative beautification project. When finished, the public art installation will consist of 10,ooo painted and cut water bottles arranged like a flower garden on a 150 ft fence along Houston Avenue. 

First Ward is Blooming
by Betsy Broaddus

Walking into the most colorful studio I’ve ever seen, I meet Carol Simon – creator of First Ward is Blooming. Simon creates large pieces of public artwork using recycled water bottles and plenty of bright colors. We chatted about how she stumbled upon art, her inspiration, and desired impact of this beautification project.


How did you get into art?
My daughters were both about to go to college and I was planning on becoming a life coach. At the same time, my friends were like, “Let’s do painting classes!” I thought that I was just going to take the class, but not become obsessed. In life coaching, you’re supposed to come up with a vision for your business. Mine was to help women in transition. This led me to realize, okay, maybe life coaching isn’t working, but what I’m really passionate about is painting. It went on from there. Like my work, I’m very fluid and let life take me where it takes me.

Tell me about First Ward is Blooming.
When I was on vacation, I saw water bottles that were cut into shapes of flowers, and I thought that was really cool. I ended up going to Prague and saw the John Lennon wall. I thought, wow, people are working on a piece of art together. That’s where I came up with the idea of using these water bottles on a fence and getting the community to work with me. 


What inspires your work? 
I’m super inspired by glass art blowing. A lot of glass blowers use these really vibrant colors, like most of my work. You see a theme on my work. Water bottles are very shiny and they’re kind of like glass. People sometimes mistake it for glass. 

What impact are you trying to make through this project?
Environmental issues made me realize the importance of this project. Originally, it was just the community making art together. It became the community making statements about water supply, landfills, and other pollutants. My goal is to reach out and find more organizations that have the same mission and purpose. 

To learn more about the First Ward is Blooming Project or to donate to the cause, visit:

Want to know how Fresh Arts Fiscal Sponsorship program can help YOU raise more money for your creative project? 
Join us on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 for a Brown Bag Lunch Info Session at United Way of Greater Houston to learn more about. We will be discussing how fiscal sponsorship works, who is eligible, and the benefits of being fiscally sponsored.  

This info session is FREE for Fresh Arts Members. Non-member cost is just $5 with early registration*. 
Free parking and complimentary beverages.

*early registration ends Tuesday, August 29, 2017.

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