Nicola and Tami are art friends for over twelve years, participating in Art Chatter, and the Avenue Community Development Board. Both artists live near downtown Houston and embrace the socio economic issues and cultural diversity of the area. They have long art painting careers evolving into a combined practice in sculptural civic art, with experience creating site specific projects responding to communities and environments. Most recently, the two are recipients of the HAA individual artist grant for an outdoor labyrinth built by the community. “Scaped Senses” labyrinth was installed early October 2017. Individually, Tami was awarded a collaborative installation at the George R. Brown “Skype–Scape” in 2016 and a 2016 City of Houston City Initiative Grant. As an artist and architect she has extensive teaming skills. Nicola has successfully created custom artworks for corporate clients and architects and most recently installed a sculpture titled “Flower of Life” on Heights Boulevard. He has a current museum exhibition at the Museo de Guadalupe in Mexico. Both artists have large project expertise and track records for delivering projects on time and in budget. 
Tami Merrick –Artist Statement and Biography
Artist Statement: 
Color field and color juxtaposition have informed my artwork for over twenty years.  Painting mediums of my practice include: oil stick, pastel, ink, Mylar, collage, acrylic, enamel, spray paint, and oil paint.  My newer sculptural work enjoys same range of eclectic materials.  Assemblages are constructed from found, re-purposed artifacts creating regional dialogues.  My woodwork is often hand cut and painted, using laser cutting for repetitive shapes.   Creation of environmental and site specific art in the public realm is a current focus.  Collaboration with artists, community, and performance troupes have enhanced my creative perspective.  I aspire to create civic art to reaching broader, underserved audiences and empower arts education in Houston. As a co-creator, Pierce Skypark is my ten year dream to convert Pierce Elevated freeway into a skypark and provide an inter-active sculpture venue for Houston.
Biography: 
Transplanted from Nebraska to Texas, I consider myself a Houstonian. A recipient of multiple city grants often involving community outreach, I live and create art in First Ward.  Residing for over ten years in Southwest Houston, I am very familiar with the diverse community and economic challenges.  I have a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Houston and actively practice art and architecture.  In 2017, I facilitated Artist Inc. professional development workshops with Fresh Arts.  I created Skype-Scape in 2017 for the convention center and anticipate completion of MFA Glassell School of Art certification in 2018.    Visit Tami Merrick's website.
Nicola Parente –Artist Statement and Biography
Artist Statement 
We live in a fast moving world. We are unable to capture the changes around us.  We feel trapped in a fast moving highway of transformation. I sit. I breathe. I inhale the thoughts, the ideas, the movements that are overwhelming, intense, rigid yet fluid, beautiful yet disturbing, moving and captivating. I digest the moment, this particular moment.  I allow myself to bask in it. My work struggles to define the intersection that is present in daily urban life. I am intrigued by the interplay between the fluid and the static elements present in today’s urban tapestry. My work investigates untangling the chaos, the brilliance of technology, human development, nature’s vibrancy and ultimate demise. I document it in the best way I know how, art, my only voice. 
Biography: 
A Houston resident for 29 years, Italian American artist Nicola Parente currently works out of his studio at Winter Street Studios. Working in a variety of media, he engages the viewer in dialogues of human encounter within the urban environment. When Parente relocated to Houston he lived in SW Houston for ten years and worked for two years at Sharpstown Mall. Most recent projects and exhibition include “Genesis” a museum exhibit at the Museo de Guadalupe in Mexico. Earlier this year Parente partnered with Writers in the Schools (WITS) to transform trees into “Poet-Trees” in Houston during National Poetry Month. Parente dressed trees at Buffalo Bayou Park. Visitors were encouraged to write a poem, sentiment or thought and hang it on the trees. This interactive installation had more than 7,000 visitors over the course of 4 weeks. In 2016-17, Parente’s paintings were part of a touring exhibition between Esbjerg Denmark and Houston TX. In 2014, Parente was featured as one of Houston’s 100 creatives by HoustonPress and was the featured artist in the Bayou Review, a literary and visual arts journal published by the University of Houston. Parente’s works can be seen in public and private collections in the United States, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Ethiopia.  He obtained a BS from King’s College (PA) and a Master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas (TX).     

Tami Merrick and Nicola Parente at  "Scaped Senses", one of their collaborative projects.

Photography courtesy of Jack Potts.


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