Houston Graffiti Artist Gonzo247 to Open Street-Art Museum in 2016

by Michael Scrutchin Posted: 09-01-15 | 2 years ago
Houston Is... Mural in Downtown Houston by Gonzo247
Photo Credit: Houston Is... Mural in Downtown Houston by Gonzo247

Who says graffiti is vandalism? Well, sure, the law, I guess.

Nevertheless, street art has become increasingly respectable in art circles and in the eyes of the general public over the last few years, especially since 2010 when Banksy’s Oscar-nominated street-art film Exit Through the Gift Shop was released and Banksy was commissioned to do a Simpsons couch gag. In recent years, there have even been street-art exhibitions in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Museum of the City of New York, pushing graffiti ever closer to widespread respectability.

Houston street artist Mario E. Figueroa, Jr. wants to take that even further. With co-founding director Carolyn Casey-Figueroa, he just announced plans to open The Graffiti and Street Art Museum of Texas on January 1, 2016, which aims to celebrate the history of graffiti and street art in Houston and beyond by showcasing urban art from artists around the country, along with film installations and programming.

“The streets are always the best showcase, but it’s time for its own museum,” Figueroa told the Chron.

Figueroa is better known as Gonzo247, one of Houston’s best-known graffiti artists and founder of the Houston studio/gallery Aerosol Warfare.

“I cannot claim that this is the first graffiti and street art museum, because the art forms have been making the streets their museum for decades,” Figueroa said in a press release. Of course, it really might be the first street-art museum in the U.S.—well, if the Mana Museum of Urban Arts in New Jersey hasn’t opened yet.

The Graffiti and Street Art Museum of Texas will open at Aerosol Warfare on Jefferson St. downtown on the first day of 2016. This is just a temporary location until the museum finds a permanent home.

“The ultimate goal is for it to have its own proper space,” Figueroa told the Chron. “We want to bring the world to Houston.”

Michael Scrutchin

Former film critic and editor of the now-defunct Flipside Movie Emporium. Writer of sorts. Houston native. Also: dancer, poet, fiddler.

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  1. Leta B.

    I know people are talking about the amazing “Be Someone” graffiti on i45 being altered again, and again.
    It was beautiful the way it was… And even MORE beautiful and amazing that that graffiti artist had the talent and the ability to have a profound impact on my 10 year old little guy named Roman. Since the first time My Baby boy saw that sign He has always said you just have to be someone…I hope I will really be someone too.
    We found out My sweet Roman was the victim of severe bullying in 3rd and 4th grade with the school placing blame on him and punishing him. After having a couple of mental breakdowns at school we immediately advised his doctor and he was heavily medicated for a couple of days and baby nights screaming out in terror justvtrting to sleep. My Baby then came to me crying and told me he had a plan to kill himself because he could not take the pain and sadness anymore. He cried and could hardly say I know now I was never someone for this to-do this to me.. .. I had to be stronger than any mom had to be… I did not let go of My Baby boy and geld and loved him so tight and went without sleep many nights to be able to hold him through the nights he was still in terror. The innocence, trust, peace and happiness these horrific monsters stole from My Baby boy is a tragedy and life altering.
    This all your place in March of this year..
    I would always hear Roman talking quietly to his self and I heard him saying to his self Roman, you can still be someone..
    We were in our way to Galveston the next week right when we were passing that beautiful graffiti… He said “Mom, do you think I still have a chance to “Be Someone” even though this kids did this to me…
    I turned around and geld his little hand and said ” My Baby boy, YOU ARE SOMEONE! Your are the most courageous, amazing, smart, loving beautiful boy and you will ALWAYS be my hero…. Don’t you ever forget you are someone!
    This amazing artist has given soo much, courage, hope and MORE hope to My Baby and unknowingly was with my son through all if this adversity when Roman couldn’t think of anything but taking his own life at barely 10 yrs old.
    We had a custom framed portrait made of this graffiti for Roman that hangs in his Bedroom and be sees it everyday… Not just passing by sometimes.
    So anyone who reads this please just stop for a moment to just realize what the heart of graffiti and artist are really about.
    I am also looking for this artist, I want to thank him more than I ever could for saving my little guys life and giving him tgebhooe and courage to stand tall and be better than he ever was. I would love for my sin to meet him as well if possible.
    If you have any information on who and where the artist is please send me an email at
    Graffiti is a beautiful, powerful prayer when you don’t even know it..
    Much love to these talented angels.
    Leta B.


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