Carter Ernst and Paul Kittelson

(American, b. 1953 and 1959)

Passage, 1997

Stainless steel, neon and tile; 348 x 42 x 42 inches (canoe); 72 x 72 x 60 inches (paddle wheel kiosk)

Carter Ernst and Paul Kittelson both graduated from the University of Houston MFA program in sculpture, where they met. “Passage” is a direct nod to the location of the University of Houston-Downtown’s campus at the confluence of several historic waterways. Here Ernst and Kittelson specifically showcase the importance that White Oak and Buffalo Bayou give to the city of Houston and its past as a trade outpost. Since its past and its present relevance to commerce, the bayou has been churning with activity. The canoe structure is imagined having been used by the first inhabitants of the bayou, and the paddlewheel kiosk by the later generations of those inhabitants. The mosaic background showcases the timeline for the past, present, and future adventures experienced along the bayous. The whole piece stands as a witness to the flowing waters that have seen generations pass along the bayous that were so important in establishing the city of Houston.


University of Houston-Downtown
Student Life Center