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Isaac Long, Word of God House

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  • Location:

    Houston, Texas, USA (Map)

  • Status:

    Extant

  • Artist:
  • Built:

    Begun 1998

About the Artist/Site

In an effort to reduce crime in his northeast Houston neighborhood and help those who had been involved in violence and criminal activities to find a more positive direction, Isaac Long, a retired sheet metal worker and former deacon, began painting and hanging up multicolored signs all over his home and yard around 1998. He was first inspired to do so as he watched neighborhood kids skipping school and getting high in an adjacent vacant lot; while he didn’t expect an immediate transformation, he did hope that his signs might “give them something to think about.”

While many of Long’s inspirational signs include phrases directly taken from the Bible, others are exhortations in plain language to help people turn their lives around. And Long believes his efforts are working, as he has welcomed reformed or recovering gangsters, prostitutes, and drug dealers to his property.

Some of the signs are planted into the ground in formal frames, some lean up against the fences and trees, and others are affixed to the façade of his home. Interspersed among the signs are assorted constructions, found objects, flags, crosses, and garden ornaments, which together form a dense environment on all sides of Long’s home. In some areas, including those directly abutting the street and sidewalk, Long has covered the ground in concrete, making it a perfect surface for painting large images with additional markers, warnings, and notices; low fences and borders divide and accentuate different sections of his yard, although his message, of being aware of the consequences of your actions, resonates throughout. He depicts Jesus as a loving god, faithful and able to help people who are “drowning” in their sins, but not without a “personal commitment” that each individual must make. Abstracted, stylized, and symbolic images are painted on various surfaces as well, contributing to the impact of the site.

As he sees progress, with personal testimonials from some of those he has helped, Long expects he will continue to paint his signs, and definitely considers his site a work in progress. “Somebody has to say ‘I’m going to stand up and make a difference,’” Isaac Long says.

The environment is viewable from the street.

~Jo Farb Hernández



Map and site information

3809 Linder Street
Houston, Texas, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 29.814521 / -95.334261

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