Thanks to several perceptive Tribune readers, we now know the name of the peculiar sculpture on display since the mid-1980s between the Kingwood Community Center and Kingwood Park and Ride.
The Forest Wind is the sculpture’s official name.
The art has been known by several other names, the Potato Chip, Brillo pad, and, quoting longtime Kingwood resident Fred Broussard to Tony Austin, “I recall several of us agreeing that it looked more like a pile of dog poop,” he said, following that statement with a smile emoji.
The adventure of the unnamed Kingwood sculpture began innocently enough because of an interview with Austin after his presentation at Kingwood BizCom about “Downtown Kingwood” being revitalized and Ace Hardware returning to Kingwood in 2022.
Austin, who is director of the Town Center Park Association, described the association’s efforts to spruce up John B. Turner Park, named for the longtime president of Friendswood Development Company, the developer of Kingwood.
In sprucing up the park which surrounds the Kingwood Community Center, Austin cleaned up the granite monument at the park which describes the purpose behind the park. He also found a time capsule to be opened on Kingwood’s 100th anniversary.
Then Austin was quoted, “Does anyone know anything about the art display … I drive by it every day and call it the Brillo Pad … what is its history … is there any significance to it?”
Once The Tribune hit driveways, the emails and phone calls began pouring in.
The Tribune received a voicemail from longtime resident Kay Daniel.
“I was a student at Stephen F. Austin and was working at the Museum of East Texas in the mid-1980s when the secretary at the museum asked me to drive her to Kingwood so she could see the unveiling of a sculpture her son had designed,” Daniel recalled. She is looking for documentation about that day.
Austin received helpful information from five longtime Kingwood residents.
Most helpful was Halene Crossman, longtime employee of ExxonMobil, the owner of Friendswood Development at the time. Crossman worked at ExxonMobil when Turner was put in charge of Kingwood.
Crossman emailed Austin two faded newspaper clippings from March 4, 1987. One clipping is a photograph of a young man, very 80s looking, with a model of the proposed sculpture and a cutline that said “ … Ken Young, Houston sculptor, participates in Career Week recently at Kingwood Middle School. Young is a creator of ‘Forest Wind,’ the commemorative sculpture for Kingwood’s 15th anniversary celebration.”
The phrase “a creator of Forest Wind” lends itself to speculation that there may have been others involved in “creating” Forest Wind.
The second clipping is an uncredited brief article about Kingwood Middle School’s Career Week which included the following paragraph, “Ken Young, sculptor from Houston, who created ‘Forest Wind’ for Kingwood’s 15th anniversary celebration, spent the entire day with students. He brought many pieces of his work which depicted his varied talents.”
Jason Core agreed about the sculpture’s official name, writing, “The Forest Wind is the name of the sculpture out in front of the metro park and ride. I’ve always called it the Potato Chip.”
Melissa Haltrom saw Austin’s question about the Brillo pad and said she was at the “reveal.”
“I was in elementary or middle school — early to mid ‘80s,” she recalled. “If I remember correctly, it was commissioned to celebrate the new library at the time (the Kingwood library originally was located at the site before being torn down and relocated to its present location). It is supposed to resemble a forest, like a birds-eye view of trees blowing in the wind. We, my family, always called it the Potato Chip. I don’t think anyone was too fond of it, but it has been there ever since and reminds me of simpler times.”
“I think the Brillo pad was put up in the 80s or 90s,” wrote Joan Smith. “The artist was a man named Turegano. His son is Marco Turegano who graduated in 1994.”
And from Fred Broussard, “You’ve probably received more info on that silly art, Tony, but here is my memory.”
Broussard then recalled watching the artist create it and thought it ridiculous from the beginning.
“I think the artist was a Kingwood kid who majored in art in college, but he looked younger to me,” Broussard wrote. “He showed me his sketches that looked better than the finished work. It took him forever soldering or brazing all those wires. I remember thinking something strange about this project that reeks of local relationship politics instead of true artistic talent.”
Austin continues to look for longtime Kingwood residents with good memories or, even better, clippings and photographs, about “The Forest Wind” or any other interesting aspect about Kingwood’s development.
And he would really like to be able to open that 100-year time capsule on Oct. 11, Kingwood’s 50th anniversary, when he plans to hold a rededication at John P. Turner Jr. Park.