Blog

  • Posted on: Sep 30, 2014

    Anglea and SadieHowdy! My name is Angela Carranza and since I will probably never work at Crayola as a color namer (is that even a real job??), I am excited to announce that I am the new Administration and Operations Assistant at Fresh Arts. While I’m no stranger to the Houston arts scene (or the Fresh Arts office for that matter… you might recognize my handiwork via the weekly Art on Tap newsletter), this is my first full-time foray in the non-profit arts sector. Exciting, I know!

    I thrive in creative environments, and I feel as though life has been constantly testing my resourcefulness for as long as I can remember. I’m a lover of all things crafty, and my favorite color is aqua. My first car was a VW Beetle named Sherbie. And I eat a lot of hot dogs. I also save puppies in my free time--check out Barrio Dogs’ community education and rescue dog programs!

    Wanna know more? Check out my staff bio or feel free to Internet-stalk me from a safe distance. Or email me at angela (at) fresharts.org if you have Fresh Arts specific questions. 

     

    *Let it be known, Angela came up with the title of this blog post. She is, in fact, kind of tiny.

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  • Posted on: Sep 11, 2014

    UPDATE: We've filled this position. We appreciate the outpouring of interest and are always impressed by the incredible talent in our hometown. Thank you to everyone who applied and spread the word.

    Fresh Arts has some big news!

    We're only a few weeks away from unveiling our new "look"-- website, brochures, and a refreshed menu of programs and services. It's an exciting time for our organization for sure!

    And so, it is with great pleasure that we announce we're hirin'! Our beloved Caroline Barba, Fresh Arts' current-but-soon-to-be-former Administration and Operations Assistant is headed west to pursue a life in the city of her dreams: San Francisco. We're sending all our love and good wishes with her... and she's leaving some big shoes to fill!

    We're looking for candidates who are passionate about Houston's art scene... and even better, folks who are passionate about

    Fresh Arts' dedication to strengthening the sustainability, viability, and vibrancy of Houston’s arts sector by building the professional capacity of artists and arts organizations, as well as increasing the opportunities for the public to engage in Houston’s art. 

    We are hoping to fill the position quickly and will need the selected candidate to hit the ground running-- we have a very busy fall ahead of us! Are you ready to join our team?

     

    READ ABOUT THE ADMINISTRATION & OPERATIONS ASSISTANT POSITION HERE.

     

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  • Posted on: Aug 12, 2014

     

     

    Out of the Woodwork: Interviews with Emerging Artists

    Hey art lovers! My name is Alexander Coco and I have been lucky enough to work as an intern at Fresh Arts for the last year.

    I am grateful to be able to start a new arts blog called Out of the Woodwork which gives exposure and a voice for some unknown and "underknown" Houston artists.

    There exists a vast sea of hidden creative talent in Houston, just below the surface. Through my work with the creative community and Fresh Arts, I’ve come to realize how many gems are woven in the fabric of our town that, for too many reasons to list, do not get the exposure their work merits. I grew up in Houston and have been lucky enough to know some local artists that simply create, without expecting public recognition or income from their work (though many could really use the income as support.) Success (financially) in the art world requires sophisticated networking and savvy navigation of local politics that many creatives do not care for, or do not know how to pursue.

    Many local artists simply make work for their own sanity, just to see something beautiful or for no reason at all.  The format of Out of the Woodwork is to interview those Houston artists about their work and provide an online space to exhibit and provide exposure to these amazing people!

     

    An Interview with Print Artist Jessica Griffin  

    I met the talented Jessica Griffin at a fundraiser event at a warehouse I own in Eastwood called The Summit Houston. The event was a fundraiser for the 86-Cannonballers, a local nonprofit made up of scooter enthusiasts that raise money for service industry workers suffering through cancer. As we shouted our conversation over the music, I discovered that she was a print artist. Lately, I have been really interested in print work and want to put together an exhibition of local print artists. She was kind enough to show me photos of her work on her phone and quite frankly I was blown away. Immediately, I found her work to be bold and brutal, natural and beautiful. She’s clearly obsessive with her line work, in the best way possible, clean and pristine!

    Jessica fits squarely within the mission for this blog featuring emerging artists. She's a dedicated and talented artist that has not quite broken into Houston’s art scene. Jessica Griffin moved to Houston in October 2012 and has spent a lot of her art career and schooling at North Texas in Denton. I wanted to start this blog for artists just like Jessica. There is so much hidden talent in Houston. I’m happy to have Jessica be the first entry for Out of the Woodwork.

    I sat down with Jessica over the course of two interviews, once at her home and once at the Heights oasis, Big Star Bar. She lives in a seventies farm style house replete with wood paneling, cacti, animal skulls, and the occasional crystal. Throughout the interview her fluffy cat named Nefrikitty would threaten to sit on Jessica’s prints and she would have to stop and chase her away. Jessica is gregarious and outgoing, well articulated, and always smiling. She works part-time (as most artists do) at Brasil, a coffee shop in the heart of Montrose.  

     

     

    What kind of medium do you like working with and why?

    I originally went to school for printmaking and that moved me in the direction I am for imagery. It helped a lot with line work and the understanding of how to achieve something black and white, without gradation. I like relief prints the most out of printmaking, just because it's really tactile and the method itself really affects your image. So, in transitioning out of printmaking without a studio, I think moving to pen and ink was just natural. It was really kind of nice because with pen and ink you can get all the meticulous detail that whenever you're carving you don't necessarily get. It's kind of nice to be obsessive with pen and ink. Mostly, that's pretty much what I like to work in. I try to do some pencil work sometimes, but then I just got so focused on shading that I felt like the line work was disappearing. I prefer the quality of the line.  Occasionally, I'll work with color: marker, watercolor, or anything that doesn't take away from the line work too much. I'm kind of muted on color. I'm not really big on it.

     

     

    Did you start with drawing and digital and then move into printmaking? What was your path?

    Yeah, when I was a kid I took a bunch of art classes. When I was thirteen I got a drawing tablet and worked digitally for a really long time until I went to college. In college, you're so focused on traditional media that it made me focus. I started with Art History and appreciation and I began finding artists that really appealed to me. Whenever I was doing that I got really obsessive with more archaic art styles. Then I began to hate drawing digitally. The idea of drawing digitally lost any appeal to me basically, because it's not tactile. I need that response from the paper. Especially going into printmaking you do so much work to get an image. If you were to do it digitally you could get it produced more quickly, but there is something about the process in it.

     

    Tell me more about the process of printmaking.

    It depends on which part of printmaking you're looking at, but relief print I like because I find it instantly gratifying to carve into a block, roll it up, and print it. Whereas lithography or etching or other medias are a little more laborious to get the line you want, but with relief it was really instant. You can feel it and you can see it and it changes, even the paper molds to it. Whenever you print digitally you could do a really good print off of a printer, but it doesn't have the same depth. It's not what I want because I want my line quality to be apparent.

     

     

    In your artist statement you say, "With themes concerning the influences that nature and nurture have on our lives, I pull from my experiences in the world around me to express an intimate existence." Do you think one has more sway than the other, nature or nurture?

    Yeah, actually I do. I definitely think nature is really important because it's what's ingrained in you naturally. The idea of animals that are born knowing where they are supposed to migrate. Or being able to assess the situation you're in without prior knowledge. I think that’s all instinct and nature. Obviously they both play off of each other and you can't exist without one or the other, but a lot of my pieces go into the idea of natural instinct. I had kind of a hectic childhood and my brother and I experienced the same childhood, but we were very different and we reacted to it very differently and I do believe that some of it is just naturally inside you. I guess they have been studying that in science with genes and realizing some people have different things going on. A lot can be affected by that. You can be so affected by your environment that your physical abilities and qualities can change as well. It's not that nurture doesn't have a big part of it, but I do believe that a lot of what we have is natural instinct and it's just us trying to pull back on it. We trade instinct for technology all the time, which I find really interesting. So we would lose sometimes what we would naturally be able to do or think through our problem solving. That stuff is all naturally built in us. Animals are born and they know exactly where to go and that's natural instinct that they were born with, ingrained. So I think with nature and nurture, a lot of things boil down to natural concepts. Even in our daily lives, a lot of human interactions or world interactions are things that we do because we are human. If you look at it closely, you could break it down to this animalistic natural reasoning. If it's that way then its nature, you're ingrained with it.

     

    Tell me about the process of making a print.

    So the technical side of it is that in order to make a print you have to have a matrix. A matrix is like your block or a piece of metal or stone. It's whatever you're turning into the key image. For screen printing you have the screen as the matrix. Lithography, you have the stone. Relief, you have wood or linoleum and you have metal and wood for engraving or etching. It's just a way of manipulating the surface to get your image and then applying to it in the many ways that you can. Lithography is the relationship between water and oil. For relief, there’s more of a depth than that. In relief, you carve out the negative space with a gouge. It's the same thing with engraving, you are carving out the space. In etching, you are using acid to etch your image into the block. And then there are two different processes: relief and intaglio. Relief is like you're rolling up the surface, so you're carving out the negative space and rolling up the positive. In intaglio, you create wells through carving, engraving, or etching with acid. Then, as you etch your image or your block, you're pushing the ink into the wells and then smoothing out the surface. So, whatever is raised is not printed, and whatever is engraved is printed and you basically use a press for almost all the systems. Which, is what makes it so hard to do on your own. At least, without a studio, or a lot of money, or going to school. And that's why I've gotten so interested in paper and ink and different mediums, because you're just dealing with paper and ink all day long. The quality of the paper is something I really enjoy. I like process based things. I like learning all these different techniques though. You're learning things with acid, that's different, or that it's going to be a mirror image, so there are many things to think about. Also your actions just really manipulate the image. That's why I liked relief so much, I wasn't trying to get a pen drawing with relief, I was trying to get a relief. I would just carve into it and that block would become something entirely different. It's like Michelangelo, that you are releasing these things from the block. That they are already in there and you are just carving the block away from it. So, he was exposing what was within and that's how I feel about relief. You might have an idea of what might happen, but when you get into it, the block becomes it's own and you're just there in third person, trying to make it happen. It's like out of body almost. It's like automatic, automatic drawing, in which, you're just carving away. It's just so physical. Whenever I was in school, I was very interested in large carvings and that's one of the reasons I can't print right now, because I want to work really big again. It's more fun that way. It's so tactile and physical, like sculpture. It's just another medium and I want to learn all of the mediums.

     

     

    Can you tell me a little about your development as an artist when you were younger?

    Yeah sure. I always drew when I was a kid, even a young kid. My mom would tell this story to me when I was a kid that I drew this huge rabbit on the wall with a sharpie or something. I was so excited about it and so excited to show it to her that she couldn't be mad at me. I felt really proud of it. All growing up most of the gifts I asked for were all art supplies, it was just fun to me to sit down and draw. Always, it's just something I've always wanted to do.

     

     

    Some of the figures in your prints remind me of Egon Schiele's brutal portraits, but then they are framed in this stylized art nouveau symmetry. Have either influenced your work aesthetically? Is the juxtaposition of the brutal and the stylized intentional?

    Yeah, I like Egon Scheile, maybe he was a reference, I'm not sure. Art Nouveau has definitely influenced me drastically. When I was 16 I went up to Chicago and looked at a lot of Alfonz Mucha's artwork. I wanted to draw like that, it's full of such beauty and detail. I even have a pretty good book on him lying around here somewhere. The thing I really like about Art Nouveau that influenced me is that it just makes everything so beautiful and fruitful, like plants and women. The organic line quality is really nice and I like drawing women, but there is also a lot of problem solving I do for myself in my pieces. They cannot just be really pretty women and flowers. I want to add this brutal quality to it., but I think that's kind of beautiful. To me, that's my idea of beauty. Alfonz Mucha would draw these beautiful women and flowers and I'm like, ok well I'll just throw a dead animal in there and the result is pretty awesome! I'm trying to tell how I experience things and how I envision things. A lot of that goes back to a lot of influence of more brutal subjects. I really like old religious art and pre-Raphaelite art, definitely in printmaking looking at people like Durer. His details show form through line, but it's also kind of harsh. There's symbology in there too. I try to focus on symbology a lot. I brought down this scrap of paper for you to see that I wrote in college. It has kind of the language of flowers.

     

     

    Tell me more about what you mean by harsh.

    You can make a form beautiful, but I feel like the line work adds… its kinda like wrinkles, like when you get old and your hands look very different, but it just shows your life and how you've experienced it. With pen work whenever I'm drawing a figure, it's kind of like it's beautiful, but its also just on that edge. The beauty of life is like that, it's all good and bad all at once. And the indifference of it. It's beautiful.

     

     

    Is there a mysticism or shamanism in your work?

    Yes and no. Definitely not any sort of doctrine or religion. There's not some religious point I'm trying to get across. However, when you start taking a look at nature and the different ways to represent it, I definitely think of a priestess.  I like drawing a bunch of stones or crystals and bones, that kind of thing. It definitely has a certain connotation. That connotation is also interesting because it reaches back to the barbaric. Since you are going back to the fact that we are born with all of this instinct. We try to overlay it with pretty stucco and buildings and computers and technology and we just act like we are above it all. And we're not at all. It all comes down to the same thing. We all come back to this very primal state and a lot of our actions are very primal. And so that kind of paganism, closeness to nature, definitely comes through because that's where it is anyway. We can be inside, but we are still really controlled by a primal state.

     

     

    Do you find that primal nature beautiful?

    Yeah, but it wouldn't even matter if I found it beautiful because it's always there. You might as well be realistic about it. And if you want to find life beautiful, you have to break it down to that I think.

     

     

    Let me ask you about your motifs. I noticed you have a lot of snakes, wolves, rope, and rabbits. Tell me about those.

    It's definitely about symbolism. I use all these things as actors for people or experiences, and emotions. They act as vessels or characters. I really like to use wolves and foxes as this idea of the pack animal. It's really interesting since a lot of the dynamics are very similar to how humans interact, just in a more primal state. I really like using the rabbit and the wolf or fox and the interplay between them because it's this predator/prey, masculine/feminine. The idea of the rabbit being prey, but also being so agile and adaptable. It's a very good way to draw out a story. Other symbolism like rope or certain plants or bones just adds to the story. The rope is like a problem that needs solving. Different plants represent different things. Whether the symbols are regeneration and death or friendship and loss. It's a way to draw a whole image and give off this feeling that's ingrained, because these are symbols that have been around for a really, really long time. When you see a wolf and a rabbit, you know that relationship without it being explained, it's immediate. Everything I make I'm creating from an experience I've had, people I know, or past situations… I'm just trying to explain how I feel about that. But… The whole thing is that as soon as you put a piece out for someone else to look at, it's no longer yours, it's the viewer's now. The viewer can look at it and they can feel something that's nostalgic or reminds them of a feeling they once had. All these different elements are going on, but at the same time it's their experience and their history they are viewing and not yours. So, somebody could look at my work and say, that's aesthetically pleasing, but also there is something inside them that draws them to it ,because its their experience that they are seeing. Or at least that's my hope. (Laughs) Like the goal. Make it just vague enough that it's not just mine.

     

     

    Your use of feminine archetypes is very beautiful, but also real in a certain way. Can you talk about that?

    I try to use a very real… well, what I find beautiful. It's beautiful AND realistic. Even with different figures I use a very womanly figure most of the time. It goes back to nature or fruitfulness, the fertility goddess type stuff. At the same time, because nature and the world around us is so different, it's not always a way to use different masks. A lot of the times they are very solemn, not joyous I would say, but it's kind of the experiences of life are on them you know. Even if it's fruitful, its also the only thing that happens after, that is the cycle of life and death. I don't want to make it, just a pin up. (laughs) I want to add more to it than that. Not that I wouldn't say that some of it is kind of like a pin up. It's like the beauty of life, but also the hardness of it. So it can't be completely soft.

     

     

    I like that juxtaposition.

    It's beautiful, that knowledge that you can't have one without the other. They just exist together. And that's why life is interesting. That's why we continue on, if it was too easy it would just be empty.

     

     

    Check out Jessica Griffin's website for more beautiful prints! Give her lot's of love H-town, we need to take care of our own!

     

    http://naturevnurture.tumblr.com/

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  • Posted on: Apr 1, 2014

      "... in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." 

    -Benjamin Franklin

     

     

    So true. And unfortunately, taxes are about the last thing artists are thinking about while trying to cobble together a living.

     

    Fortunately, there are resources out there to help you. Last week, Fresh Arts hosted a workshop on tax preparation for individual artists. While the subject sounds about as pleasant as a trip to the dentist, we nevertheless felt it might be useful to share some info and resources from that workshop with you.

     

    One of the first issues you must consider when tackling your taxes is whether you qualify to call yourself a professional artist. (I know, QUESTION-OF-A-LIFETIME!) But we're talking about a professional artist as far as the IRS is concerned. There are some basic rules about turning a profit from your artistic endeavors 3 out of 5 years, as well as whether you are running your artistic practice as a business. I won't get into the nitty gritty of these rules here, but to summarize, the folks at the IRS apparently feel like you need to be making money off your art in order to deduct the related expenses. For more details about this distinction, take a look at this nifty resource for artists created by 1.800.Accountants. In that downloadable guide, there is good information about professional vs. hobby distinctions, as well as different types of business entities and allowable deductions for different types of artists. 

     

    Another resource you might find useful is this list of Tax Tips for Artists, which was compiled a few years ago by Michele M. Stanton, CPA on behalf of Texas Accounts and Lawyers for the Arts (TALA). (Most useful are the FAQs at the end.)

     

    Speaking of TALA, the organization has moved its home-base to Austin, but it is still providing services in Houston and the rest of the state. (Fresh Arts recently hosted TALA for both a legal clinic and a QuickBooks training.) They frequently have good reference materials on their website, so check in occasionally for updates. 

     

    Last, but not least, if you're desperate for some tax help, Neighborhood Centers provides free tax assistance for those who qualify. For details about the program, qualifications, and restrictions, check out this link.  

     

    DISCLAIMER: If you believe you will be incurring a loss, taking a home office deduction, or dealing with depreciation, this might not be the right fit for you. 

     

    DISCLAIMER #2: We can share these resources with you, but we have to add this part about it not counting as financial advice. It is not intended to be a substitute for obtaining advice from professional advisors.

     

     

    So, in summary, it's best to speak to a qualified professional, but it's even better to do so after having done your research. Good luck and Godspeed. 

     

    xoxo,

    Jenni Rebecca 

    Executive Director (but definitely no tax expert), Fresh Arts

     

    Helpful links:

     

    1. 1.800.Accountants Guide to Tax Deductions for Artists
    2. The Ultimate Tax Guide for Freelancers (from the Freelancers Union)
    3. Tax Deductions Guide for Freelancers
    4. Tax Tips and FAQs for Artists excerpted from a TALA Resource 
    5. Fresh Arts' Curated Library of Tax-Related Articles
    6. Neighborhood Tax Centers
    7. Sign up for the Fresh Arts' Resource Newsletter to find out about other professional development workshops on subjects like taxes, contracts, fundraising, etc.  

     

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  • Posted on: Aug 15, 2013

    Our friends and colleagues at Fractured Atlas have created this handy infographic to explain a few things about the rollout of the Affordable Care Act...

     

     

     

     

    We hope to have more info for you once the marketplace opens. Stay tuned!

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  • Posted on: Aug 8, 2013

    And then...there were four!

    Ariel Jones Headshot

     

    Hello Everyone! My name is Ariel Jones and I am the new Manager of Marketing and Membership at Fresh Arts. As a self-proclaimed theatre nerd, I like dogs, reading, and long walks on the beach (courtesy of my Match.com profile). I am fresh out of grad school and ready to get down and dirty helping out arts organizations in the area.

     

    I have been running all around the country from arts community to arts community. DC, to Pittsburgh, to Atlanta, and I can’t tell you how happy and excited I am to have found a home in Houston, Texas! Any place where I can go to a rodeo in the morning and see some great  art at night is all right with me!

     

    I look forward to learning and growing with this great organization as it enters into a new and exciting era.

     

    To learn a little more about me, check out my bio... or if you would like to chat about becoming a member at Fresh Arts, shoot me an email at ariel (at) fresharts.org

     

     

     

     

    Addendum: the Fresh Arts staff found the following among Ariel's Facebook photos and just had to share with everyone... Too. Cute. For. Words. 

    Ariel Jones Dancing

    We fully expect to see her dancing around the office like this upon her arrival!

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  • Posted on: Aug 6, 2013

     

    Fresh Arts to bring first CSA program to Houston! (Community Supported Art)

    Hello, friends!

     

    We have some exciting news for you—something we’ve been trying to keep under wraps a while longer—but frankly, we’re too excited about it to keep it a secret anymore. So, here goes!

     

    During the strategic planning process (which kept us very busy for the last several months), the Fresh Arts staff dug through the programs and services of countless arts service organizations across the country. (We wanted to know what our peers were up to—what is working in our field, what is not, who’s doing what, etc.) In our research, we sort of developed a “crush” on an arts organization in Minneapolis, MN called Springboard for the Arts. The Springboard team has a really refreshing perspective on the important role of arts in the community and as a result, have designed an exciting menu of programs which cast artists as change-makers and community-builders. One such program is Community Supported Art (CSA),* which is described in detail below. In an exciting turn, the Community Supported Art concept has exploded—moving into cities across the country and featured in the NY Times yesterday: read it here. (Our good friend and head of the Fiscal Sponsorship Program at Fractured Atlas, Diane Debicella, started a CSA in Brooklyn!)

     

    We immediately knew we wanted to start the first CSA program in Houston, and fortunately, the generous folks at Springboard gave us their blessing. Just like the motivations behind our annual Winter Holiday Art Market, we not only believe in creating new and greater opportunities for our city’s independent artists to generate income, but creating more opportunities for new collectors to invest in our art community and build meaningful relationships with those artists. Clearly, CSA was a perfect fit for us! And it is an honor to host a CSA project in Houston—and one of the first in the state of Texas.

     

    We will initiate the call for artist proposals this fall, but in the meantime, we hope you will sign up for updates through our newsletters: http://bit.ly/14uak98

     

    WE CANNOT WAIT! WE CANNOT WAIT! WE CANNOT WAIT!

     

    Xoxo,

    Team Fresh Arts

     

     

    *About CSA:

    Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy seasonal food directly from local farms. With the same buy-direct, buy-local spirit in mind, mnartists.org and Springboard for the Arts created a similar endeavor to support local art, artists, and collectors. Community Supported Art is an exciting new model of art support and distribution that supports artists in the creation of new work and establishes relationships with local collectors and patrons.

     

    Nine selected artists receive a commission to create 50 “shares” for the program. Interested collectors will purchase a share from Springboard for the Arts and, in return, receive boxes or portfolios of locally produced artwork at intervals during the season. Featured works could include nearly anything: In the past, we’ve had specially-pressed vinyl 7-inch records, screen prints, series of small functional ceramics, photography, letterpress editions of a poem or short story, and 50 small original paintings. Each member share includes one piece from each of the nine CSA featured artist works over the season at pick-up events. They’re $350 each.

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  • Posted on: Jul 30, 2013

    Caroline Barba

    Greetings! I'm Caroline Barba, and I am the new Administrations and Operations Assistant at Fresh Arts.  As I enter the working world, I could not pick a better place to start than right here at 2101 Winter Street, Houston, TX. I'm excited to discover the Houston art scene, support local artists with their artistic endeavors, and work with the dynamic duo that is Jenni and Sarah.

     

    For four years, I have dreamt of working in an arts non-profit, and as of yesterday, it is actually happening.  I look forward to growing and learning with the organization--but most importantly, organizing and color-coding the office storage area!

     

    Learn more about me on my bio or ask me a question at caroline@fresharts.org.

     

    I'm thrilled to see some mind-blowing art and to meet everyone!

    Caroline

     

    p.s. I love cupcakes! 

     

     

    *EDITORIAL NOTE FROM THE MANAGEMENT*
     

    We've got a real trooper on our hands! 

     

     

    ^ This is Caroline on her second day in the office.

     

    (She is currently unaware this picture has been *added* to this blog post. And in case you were wondering... she likes cupcakes.)

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  • Posted on: Jul 25, 2013

    Sliding scale and reduced rate health clinics in Houston

     

    Hello! My name is Alexander Coco and I am the new intern at Fresh Arts. Here at Fresh Arts we remain committed to providing essential resources to artists living in and around the Houston area.

     

    Many artists are uninsured or underinsured and are unaware of the availability of low income and sliding scale clinics in their neighborhood. To this end, we have compiled a database of sliding-scale and low-income clinics that can make getting basic care more affordable. This is not a comprehensive list and some clinics have certain income restrictions, so it is best to call ahead of time to find out what paperwork you may need to bring and if you qualify.

     

     

    Download pdf of Houston Clinics

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  • Posted on: Jun 20, 2013

     

    Why, hellooooo there!

     

    We know we've been fairly quiet as we work out the details following the merger between Fresh Arts Coalition and Spacetaker, but we assure you there's been a LOT going on under the hood as we prepare for the full roll-out of the "new" Fresh Arts. Over the last year, we've engaged in a great deal of research and have undertaken a thorough strategic planning process to launch some exciting new programs, as well as strengthen existing programs and reintroduce Fresh Arts to its artist and arts organization members, its funders, and the broader arts community. We're bursting at the seams to tell you all about it!! But before we get to that, we want to share some other exciting news-- we're expanding our team!

     

    Fresh Arts has not one, but at least three positions we are looking to fill. Could you be the hero we're dreaming of? If we've piqued your interest, keep reading...

     

     

    We're looking for candidates who are passionate about Houston's art scene... and even better, folks who are passionate about Fresh Arts' dedication to strengthening the sustainability, viability, and vibrancy of Houston’s arts sector by building the professional capacity of artists and arts organizations, as well as increasing the opportunities for the public to engage in Houston’s art.

     

     

    The 3 positions for which we're interviewing are: 

    (Click on job title for full description.)

     

     

     

     

    Do you believe in destiny?

     

    We do, too. We’re looking for an experienced, creative, and passionate manager to drive Fresh Arts’ reciprocal relationships with its stakeholders. Since we haven’t met you yet, we don’t know what talents and passions you’ll be bringing. Will you want to become our Marketing and Development Manager or our next Manager of Marketing and Member Services? Unfortunately, we only have the capacity to fill one of those positions at this time, but we are prepared to reconfigure our team to bring either position into the Fresh Arts family. Please apply for the position that best matches you, so that we can begin the process of learning more about you and determining if we are destined for each other!

     

    (The internship is scheduled to begin in the fall.)

     

    If you're interested in applying for any one of these positions, we ask that you carefully read and follow the posted instructions. And by all means, spread the word if you know someone who'd be a good fit!

     

    We're thrilled about growing our family and hope to hear from you!

     

    xo,

    Team Fresh Arts

     

     

    PS: We think Canned Heat says it best...

     

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Apr 29, 2013
    Legacy supports Handcrafted Healthcare in Houston. In asking our art community about its most pressing issues, one of the topics we hear reiterated over and over again is that of affordable healthcare and health insurance. As we've come across resources applicable to those we serve, we have endeavored to share them
     
    However, as we've dug a little deeper, we realize we've had some misconceptions about some of the healthcare options within our own community... especially in regards to those services offered by Legacy Community Health Services. Well known for their AIDS/HIV care and services for the GLBT community, Legacy also provides adult primary care, pediatrics, dental care, vision services, behavioral health services, OB/GYN and maternity, and vaccinations and immunizations, as well as wellness and nutrition services. In short, Legacy provides a broad array of health services for EVERYONE, including those uninsured and under-insured-- with the price of all based entirely on your ability to pay. Legacy is passionate about ensuring the community is aware of their healthcare services. Towards that end, they are hosting Handcrafted Healthcare, a special event for the creative community featuring tours of their facility, health screenings, and an introduction to all their services during an afternoon filled with food, music, and other entertainment. We at Fresh Arts and DanceSourceHouston have had the privilege to be included in these plans, and we can guarantee this event is designed particularly with the average individual artist or independent contractor in mind. If you have questions about affordable healthcare in our city, you definitely do not want to miss it. See you on the 11th
     
    Pre-registration for this event is required.
     
    DATE: Saturday, May 11th
    TIME: 12:00PM - 4:00PM
    PLACE: 1415 California Street, Houston, TX 77006
    HOW TO PRE-REGISTER: Call 832-548-5041 or email events@legacycommunityhealth.org
     
    And please RSVP on Facebook, as well!
    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Dec 11, 2012

    Hello everyone!  As many of you know, our current exhibition, Projection & Amplification by multimedia artist Sandy Ewen closes this Friday, December 14th.  Join us for a closing reception beginning at 8pm featuring Sandy's collaborative performance group, Architects of Cinema.

     

    Born in Toronto, Canada, Sandy received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008.  Since then, this busy lady has continued to pursue her interests in architecture as well as her musical and visual projects.  A well known member of Houston's experimental music scene, Ewen has recently been focusing on her visual art, frequently presenting it alongside her musical performances.

     

    Recently, Sandy graciously took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us regarding her exhibition and artistic practice.

     

    Read on to find out more about this multi-talented lady and come on out and join us for one last performance beginning at 8pm on December 14th!

     

    Q: You graduated with an architecture degree from UT, does your background in architecture influence your work?

     

    A: I am attuned to the spatial layout of my work. My work with projection lives in three-dimensional space, and I feel that my architectural background has enhanced my ability to map out the best places for projectors, screens, dancers, sound & audience in my project Architects of Cinema with Y.E.Torres & Chris Nelson. Additionally, architecture school and the practice of architecture have taught me how to conceptualize and realize projects with clarity and professionalism.  

     

    Q: What do you like best about the experimental music scene in Houston?  How does it differ from Austin?

     

    A: I love the diversity of the music here. Houston has a fantastic improvisational music community and a killer noise scene. I performed at Dead Audio festival last night, it was great to see all the local and touring noise acts (it was a 10-hour long show). I've also been fortunate to play with the improvised music scene in Houston. I am continually amazed by the improv community, it seems to me like an international social sculpture….a few people in every city who all know each other and collaborate. I was in Mexico city about 2 weeks ago with fellow Houstonians David Dove & Damon Smith for some performances, and last week we had 3 Mexico City musicians in town for performances here.

     

    Austin is more a rock music town. Austin has a lot of great experimental rock bands and the noise scene there seems to be growing. The New Music Co-Op in Austin presents a lot of "new music" or contemporary classical pieces. I am very happy to be bringing some of my favorite Austin musicians to Houston to perform at Spacetaker. I have been performing with The Weird Weeds since 2004 and we've just released our 5th album. Plutonium Farmers are a fantastic. I'm excited to hear Nick Hennies' compositions.

     

        

    Q: What will you be creating during your residency at 14 Pews?

     

    A: I brought Keith Rowe to perform in a trio with Damon Smith (bass) and myself. Keith worked with an ensemble of mine and we performed Scratch Orchestra pieces.  The other 14 Pews project was Architects of Cinema - we put together a kaleidoscopic array of slide & video projectors, screens and sound. It was great - we hope to do something similarly epic at the Fresh Arts closing on December 14th.

     

     

    Q: Can you tell us a little more about Projection & Amplification?

     

    A: It is a presentation of slide projections and digital enlargements of micro-collages. The slides are mostly hand-made constructions of plastic fused with other materials like paint, feathers & fibers. Over the past year, I have experimented with different methods of printing slides, and I realized that if I digitally captured & enlarged the slides, they didn't actually need to be shaped like slides or fit into a projector. I created the term Micro-collage to describe these tiny assemblages that I make which are designed to be magnified.

     

    Q: What message do you hope to get across to the audience? 

     

    A: I hope to open up people’s eyes & ears to the beauty of small things.

     

     

    Q: Are there any future projects you’re looking forward to?

     

    A: I am going to try melting lollipops and other candies. I want to start working with videos by myself. I am relying on some very talented friends of mine - Jonathan Jindra & Chris Nelson - for my video making needs and I want to start doing more by myself.

     

     

    Q: Who or what has been most influential in your work?

     

    A: Thermodynamics and physics shape my work. I have compositional control but I like to see what the materials want to do. When I start making a slide or micro-collage, I have goals & ideas, but the physical properties of the materials always have the final say.

     

        

     Q: What do you find are the most rewarding & challenging parts of having a healthy art career in Houston?

    A: The community of musicians and other artists keeps me sane, and having to juggle art, music and life with a full time architecture job drives me insane. I don't know that my art/music career is healthy.

     

    Q: Do you have any advice for young artists?

     

    A: Finishing projects is more important than starting them. Commit to deadlines and manage your time. You get more done if you're busy all the time. Collaborate with others, schedule practices and meetings. The momentum of the group brings everyone forward even if individuals might feel overwhelmed.

     

    For more information about Sandy, visit her Fresh Arts Profile or contact her at Sandy.Ewen@gmail.com

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Nov 20, 2012

    In praise of makers: Where Houston artists become artisans

    READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

     

    11.17.12 | 12:00 pm

    It all started with a red lace dress. "Where did you get that?" I asked Houston Ballet dancer Jordan Reed. "I made it," she replied.

    Immediate jealousy set it. Reed is not only a gorgeous dancer, but a successful entrepreneur with an Etsy store, where she sells her sleek dancewear and chic outfits.

    I was born without the craft gene, unlicensed to operate even a glue gun. There was never a question who made my kids' school projects. They did, because they would have looked worse if I had. My deficit has left me with a life-long fascination for people who can make things like Reed and puppeteer and La Camella owner Camella Clements.

    Let's not forget that it's Fresh ArtsWinter Holiday Art Market (WHAM) weekend, which runs through Sunday at Winter Street Studios, where I get to roam among the artsy, craftsy folk. And then there's the collection of miraculous objects at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in CRAFTTEXAS 2012, on view until Dec. 30.

    "Once I looked up in company class and noticed that 17 dancers were wearing my leotards. Dancers want to look good. You are in leotards and tights all day, you might as well look pretty."

    WHAM Wonder

    I'm not much of a shopper unless it's WHAM season, where I do most of my Christmas shopping. True, mostly for me, but the boys get handmade soap every year without fail. I prefer to party while I shop. At WHAM, shoppers enjoy some craft beer and nibbles while actually meeting the makers. I like to visit with every artist before I buy anything. Not only do I take home fabulous objects, but the story behind them.

    You just don't get that at Macy's. Of course, I have my favorite booths,Hello Lucky and The Community Cloth, but every year I look forward to seeing what's new and who has the patience to tell me all about their process.

    So far, WHAM has generated more than $300,000 for hundreds of local artists with artists keeping 75% of the sale.

    Jewelry artist Ann Wesby of Petals & Metals is a WHAM believer. She likes the artist friendly indoor atmosphere, where she doesn't need to worry about rain or wind. "The Friday preview party is my favorite part of the market," says Wesby. "It's a great combo of cocktail party with a little bit of hardcore shopping going on between catching up with friends. Since this is art and not mass produced goods we are talking about, it pays to get there early in order to get the best selection."

    ...
     
     
     
    SMALL BUSINESS POWER

    Stayin' alive: Winter Holiday Art Market helps creative entrepreneurs sell cool goods

    READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

    11.16.12 | 01:57 pm

    Supporting the economic development of artists like O'Connor is at the essence of Fresh Arts, formerly known as Spacetaker, a grassroots artist service organization founded by David A. Brown.

    WHAM, the nonprofit's largest public event, offers a venue for artists of all mediums and genres to sell their work and meet new clients. This year,WHAM welcomes 60 artists, 20 of them new to the concept. It has grown in revenue, from $43,000 in 2009 to $78,000 in 2010 to $89,000 in 2011.

    Its success is attributed to the leadership's understanding of the psychology and sensitivities of a career in the creative economy. More specifically, Fresh Arts is conscious that regardless of the artists' ambitions of stature and reputation, there are tensions between fueling creative impulses and producing marketable merchandise.

    Generally the idea of art as a practice is divorced from the notion of commerce and business.

    "What every single artist is engaged in is a small business activity," Jenni Rebecca Stephenson, executive director says."The goal of WHAM is to be an important opportunity for artists to capture some of the income generated at a time of the year when commercial activity is at an all-time high."

    To help artists prepare for the three-day juried shopping festival, Fresh Arts provides educational information that art entrepreneurs can implement to increase sales transactions, among them average pricing, proven best-practices, merchandising suggestions and customer service strategies.

    "What every single artist is engaged in is a small business activity."

    "At WHAM we try to help the artist contextualize how markets differ when they are selling out of their studios or in a gallery or online," Stephenson says. "We suggest products of different price points, to think creatively when presenting their work, to diversify their income stream by offering different sizes and applications — to make their work marketable and to maximizing a creative assett."

    ...

     

    Christmas Comes Early: WHAM is Here

     
    READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
     

    "Christmas is coming early for all you art lovers out there - the 7th Annual Winter Holiday Art Market (WHAM) is just around the corner. The annual holiday market, filled with wares from local artists, takes place November 16 through 18 at the Winter Street Studios and it's not just a shopping experience; it's a party.

    WHAM is a product of art purveyors Fresh Arts. As the story goes, WHAM's original iteration was that of a student art sale hosted by the Glassell School of Art. When Glassell decided to stop producing the sale, it was handed over to Winter Street, which is when Fresh Arts, then Spacetaker, took it on. Tying into the start of the holiday season, Fresh Arts have been producing this celebration of art since 2006. 

    Fresh Arts Executive Director, Jenni Rebecca Stephenson, has seen the market grow over the years and expects this year to be their biggest yet, especially given the recent merger between the two arts organizations Spacetaker and Fresh Arts Coalition. The growth of the market has been easy to track in terms of cold hard cash. In 2009 the sales from the art market were roughly $43,000 and just three years later that number doubled to $89,000.

    "Since its launch, WHAM has generated more than $300,000 for hundreds of local artists and continues to grow as an important venue for Houston artists," Stephenson notes.

    The WHAM artists are chosen through a submission process where they are ranked in specific categories pertaining to quality and presentation, among other aspects. Another thing the judges look for is originality; WHAM doesn't want any run-of-the-mill out-of-the-box art."

     

    ...

     

    20 NEW LOCAL ARTISTS

    Insider's guide to the Winter Holiday Art Market: Don't miss shopping picks

    READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.
    TEXT BY JOEL LUKS
    PHOTO BY PIN LIM/FOREST PHOTOGRAPHY
    11.15.12 | 6:03 am
    An insider's guide to the 2012 Winter Holiday Art Market

    Year after year, Fresh Arts (formerly Spacetaker) organizes the Winter Holiday Art Market (WHAM), the juried shopping binge at Winter Street Studios that amasses creatives from all shapes and sizes to offer consumers Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and whatever-your-fete-due-jour may be a solution to a finding an alternative to massively produced gifts anyone with cash or a credit can purchase.

    A committee of community volunteers pores over more than 150 submissions and accepted 60 artists to participate in this seventh annual three-day spree. Moreover, 20 of those are brand new to WHAM this year, so longtime fans of the event can expect to find something new and fresh."

    ...

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Nov 12, 2012

    Carlos Pozo is one of over 60 artists participating in the 2012 Winter Holiday Art Market!

     

    Born in Chile, Carlos Pozo traveled widely in his childhood, exposed to the varied cultures of Iran, Iraq and Europe.  Having a background in architecture informs his silkscreen prints, collages, drawings, and digital images.  Inspired by his work and studies, Pozo's detailed works are intricate and graphic.

     

    For WHAM, Pozo will be displaying his abstract silkscreen prints layering architectural elements, vivid color and pattern.  You are going to want them all!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Nov 8, 2012

    Find Jennifer Wagner and 60 other talented Houston creatives at the 2012 Winter Holiday Art Market, presented by Fresh Arts!

    The upcoming Winter Holiday Art Market (November 16-18, 2012) features some of Houston's most talented artists and artisans! Today we feature Jennifer Wagner's uniquely modern jewelry.
     
    Jennifer employs traditional materials like copper, leather, brass, beads, and brightly colored thread to create utterly contemporary and wearable pieces of jewelry. Her necklaces, earrings, and bracelets are bright, modern, and beautifully hand-crafted. 
     
    You can find Jennifer's sumptuous (yet affordable!) creations, along with over 60 of Houston's finest artists, at the upcoming Winter Holiday Art Market, November 16-18 at Winter Street Studios in Houston's historic First Ward. 
     
    Preview Jennifer's and other WHAM artist's work here.

    Find Jennifer Wagner's sumptuous jewelry at the 2012 Winter Holiday Art Market!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Oct 17, 2012

     

    Hello everyone! This week we chatted with the wonderful artist Donna E. Perkins. After earning a Master’s Degree from the University of Houston at Clear Lake, Donna went on to teach art in public schools for 20 years.  Today, she is a full time artist, showing her work at many venues in and around the Houston area. You might recognize her latest sculpture series “changelings” from Lawndale Art Center’s Big Show over the summer!

     

    Donna was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding her work process and inspiration. 

     

     

    Paper Dance sculptures created for Venturing Out in collaboration with jhon r. stronks, Big Range Dance Festival 2011, in Studio B of Barnevelder Arts Complex.  There were seven hanging paper sculptures.

     

    Paper Dance sculptures created for Venturing Out in collaboration with Jhon R. Stronks,

    Big Range Dance Festival 2011, in Studio B of Barnevelder Arts Complex.  

     

    Q:Who first introduced you to art and at what age?

     

    A:I started drawing when I was young enough to stand in the church pew. I was given pencil and paper to keep me quite during services. I was given oil paint in Junior High. I’ve been drawing and painting ever since.

     

     

     

    Changeling sculptures for Venturing Out in collaboration with

    Jhon R. Stronks, Big Range Dance Festival 2012, in Studio A of Barnevelder Arts Complex

     

    Q:How did you first get started in your career?

     

    A:I taught art in public schools for 20 years. It was a struggle during that time to find the time and energy to do my art. I took classes at Glassell for years. These classes provided wonderful instructors, the companionship of others interested in art and a place to paint.

     

     

    Two Changelings hanging in Studio A

     

    Q:What inspires your work?  Are there any common themes that run through your work?

     

    A:I steal lines and choreograph them into abstractions. The structural lines for my drawings and paintings are collected from my reality. I love drawing from dancers dancing. While I focus in the edge of a dancer’s body to begin a line, the dancer moves and my line takes off after that movement. I collect lines quickly and scatter them across the paper or canvas. I'm fascinated by movement, by bodies, by plants and other organic forms.

     

    Photographs printed on metal from Corporal Vistas series

     

     

    Q:Can you talk a bit more about your latest sculpture series, “changelings” and the piece you submitted for Lawndale’s “The Big Show”?

     

    A:The sculptures (There are actually two mingled together at the suggestion of the juror)in the Big Show are titled "Changelings: WS2.12:VO6.12 long and short." While my work is abstract and usually lacks a narrative, these paper sculptures have a history. The title references this history. Both were in my February 2012 show at Wagner Sousa Modern Art in Galveston. In that show they hung from the ceiling. Both were also in the Venturing Out, June 2012, as part of the Big Range Dance Festival, Program C. In Venturing Out these sculptures were stiffened with glue and positioned on the floor. Dancers interacted with them. These sculptures owe a debt to my collaborations with choreographer/dancer jhon r. stronks. These sculptures have a history, they will not last long. While they are only crumpled paper and glue, I find them beautiful. I love the play of light on their uneven surfaces.

     

    My video "Beached Bag" is 3 minutes of surf action on a black plastic bag deeply embedded in the sand at Galveston beach. While this is "trash" I find it to be beautiful as the surf covers, uncovers and changes this shape. There is sound on the video from the surf and from unseen children. This video owes a debt to David Perez who build my computer and walked me through the steps of making two earlier videos.

     

     

     

     

    A frame trimmed from the video Beached Bag, Galveston in Lawndale's Big Show, 2012 

     

    Q:What do you wish to accomplish when showing your work?  Is there a certain message/emotion you’d like to convey to the audience?

     

    A:It would be great if my work evoked a pause in the viewer’s attention. I would like the viewer to experience something of the fascination I have of the visual world.

     

    Q:What do you find are the most rewarding & challenging components of having a healthy art career in Houston?

     

    A:I love how active, generous and supportive the art community is in Houston. Glassell, Lawndale Art Center, Diverse Works and Spacetaker/Fresh Arts have all provided me with important experiences and opportunities. Houston has such great museums and art venues. I feel very fortunate to live here.

     

     

     

    Q:What are your future plans as an artist?

     

    A:I want to continue to explore and collaborate in an amoebic manner.

     

     

    To find out more about Donna E. Perkins, visit her Fresh Arts Profile or visit her website: www.donnaeperkins.com.

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Aug 21, 2012

    Hello all!  This week’s member Q & A is with the wonderful Lydia Hance, founder and director of Frame Dance Productions.

     

    Lydia graduated from SMU with two degrees in Dance Performance and English Literature. 

     

    She was named a recipient of the Meadows School of the Arts Artistic Merit Award and trained at the Taylor School, the Limon Institute, the Graham School, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.  In May of 2010, Lydia founded Frame Dance Productions out of a desire to connect dance to modern culture and facilitate collaborations between artists of varying disciples.  Since its creation, Frame Dance Productions has screened works and performed at various venues, theaters and galleries around town, including the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Rice Dance Film Festival and Miller Outdoor Theater. 

     

    Lydia and Frame Dance Productions will be unveiling a new show at Fresh Arts August 30-September 2 titled “The Black Space.”  The group’s newest performance will deal with the dual concepts of negative energy related to holding grudges and the healthiness of forgiveness. 

     

    Though quite busy preparing for her newest endeavor, the lovely Lydia took some time to answer a few questions for me regarding her artistic process and “The Black Space.”   

     

     

    Q:  You graduated from SMU with two degrees in Dance Performance and English Literature.  Does your background in literature influence your thought process and/or performance?

     

    A:  My degree in English Literature has taught me to edit. (Note: you will never attend a Frame Dance show over 75 minutes.  Most are 45 minutes to an hour.)  It has also taught me to analyze, sift through subjects systematically, organize concepts, and also a lot about deconstruction of material.  I think my dance-making process has been crucially impacted by my study of the English language.  The really interesting question is whether the resulting artwork is different than it would be without those studies.  I guess I’ll never know.

     

    Q:   How will your show at Fresh Arts both resemble and differ from your past show "Context" at Winter Street?

     

    A   :   The show at Fresh Arts, The Black Space, will be similar in that there is no  “stage” with the audience on one side, and the performers on another. But The Black Space will be a much more intimate show.  The subject matter is much more revealing and penetrative than CONTEXT, which was really about the collaboration of the forms (photography, music, dance, dancers, audience.)  Seating will be limited, but we are having four nights of performances.  The Black Space is dark, pensive, and pure.  There is much more of a set, and the audience will have the opportunity to participate more actively in this show than in past Frame Dance shows.  But active participation is always an option.  As an introvert, nothing scares me more than being selected to do some unclear thing by myself in a group of strangers.  I always keep my fellow introverts in mind when scheming about audience involvement.  Holla.

     

     

     

    Q:   What do you wish to accomplish when performing in front of an audience?

     

    A:  My goal is to make audiences think: about themselves more deeply, about the world more deeply, and about those around them more deeply.

     

     

    Q: What influences/infuses your performances?  

     

    A:     I am very driven by the aesthetic of what I produce.  Not in a perfectionist, anti-post-modern type of way.  But, I am very driven by color and texture, which aren’t usually the first two things you hear when talking about dance.  I am driven by making art more engaging to my community—what brings audiences in, what makes them stay, what makes them want more, and how can I evolve without letting go of my voice?  How can my voice evolve and meet the desire of the community?

     

     

    Q: How will you engage the audience in your exhibition at Fresh Arts?

     

    A:   Well, I can’t give all my secrets away.  But the audience does have free reign on where they sit, stand, walk, dance….  There will also be an anonymous confessional element to this show.  The Black Space is for the delinquent Catholics.  Just kidding.

                

     

    Q: What is the most challenging part of preparing for this upcoming exhibition?  What are you most excited about?

     

    A: The most challenging thing and the most exciting thing are usually the same thing.  In The Black Space, I think that would be the use of the space and the audience engagement. I am very excited that we will build the dance in the Fresh Arts Gallery from rehearsal 1, so it will be custom made for that space.  That is often a difficult transition for dance.  We usually rehearse in a studio and bring it on site the week of the show.  This always brings with it changes to the work based on the limits of the space.  I am thrilled to have full reign of the space during our performance run, so that we can manipulate the space with set, film projections, collage and sculpture.  That is a rarity, and I couldn’t be happier.

        

     

    For more information about Lydia Hance and Frame Dance Productions, visit their website or contact Lydia at Lydia.Hance@framedance.org

     

    For more information about and to purchase tickets to Frame Dance's performance of The Black Space at the Spacetaker Gallery at Fresh Arts (August 30 - September 2 only), visit this exhibition page on our website.

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jul 24, 2012

    Hello everyone! This week's artist member Q&A is with multi-disciplinary artist Y.E. Torres (ms. YET). Torres and artist Lisa Chow collaborated on Fresh Arts current exhibition Once there Was, Once there Wasn't: Two Tales from the Minds of Lisa Chow and Y.E. Torres. Opening with the sweet and fanciful works of Lisa Chow, the exhibition will transform into the whimsical and deviant world of Y.E. Torres.

     

    Torres is a woman of many talents, participating in various projects such as visual art, dance, costume design, photography, curation and collaboration on a wide range of projects.  She received a BFA in both Drawing & Painting and Fashion Design from the University of North Texas.  Since then, she has participated in a variety of projects and collaborations and has become an active member of the improvised music scene.

     

    The lovely ms. YET was kind enough to answer some questions regarding her upcoming exhibition at Fresh Arts.

     

    Q: What has been the most rewarding part of collaborating with another artist?
    A: It’s been nice being surrounded by pastels, someone else’s little girl and rabbit, and artwork that holds a beauty and innocence that I have been invited to deflower. …the succulent deflowering of innocence.
    Q: The most challenging?
    A: There haven’t been any challenges working with Lisa.

     

    Q: What have you learned from this specific collaboration so far?
    A: That I am as weird as people think I am, that Unicorns are real, that blood rituals and strawberries go well together, that I am often not family friendly, that Zubi can make rainbow sugar cookies, that I've decided that I'm not going to use the word DEVIANT anymore (...Jon suggests I use SUCCULENT instead), and that I collaborate well with others.

     

    Q:  What sort of dialog do you think will be created by the pairing of your and Lisa's works together?
    A: What seems to be happening is that our friends and fan base are excited to discover how we’ve made our two aesthetics work together...and to discover how the sweet, two-dimensional pastel artworks in the gallery move towards a darker, sensual and performative three-dimensional installation.

     

    Q: What message would you like to convey to an audience?
    A:  To enjoy whatever weird and enticing sensations (good or bad) that may occur when you enter our worlds.

     

    Q:  Do you find that your and Lisa’s work share any type of commonality?
    A:  YES. We both like to draw bunnies, invent characters, play with glitter, enjoy eating desserts,...and I think we both like tea and sandwiches.

     

    Q:  What is the link that connects your two shows together?
    A:  I think our show is linked by our interest in narratives and our play on reality vs. fantasy...and ribbons.

     

    Q:  How do elements of reality & fantasy play into both your and Lisa’s exhibitions?
    A:  I have blurry boundaries so my life is a play on reality and fantasy. I mean, I dress up like a Unicorn and often feel more comfortable covered in fake or real blood, so reality and fantasy naturally becomes a theme for my creative work. I am blessed to be working with another artist who invents stories around imaginary, or no so imaginary, animals!

     

    Q:  Can you describe the transformation the exhibition will take from Lisa’s work to yours?
    A:  trans·mog·ri·fy/transˈmägrəˌfī/ - to change or transform into a different shape, esp. a grotesque or bizarre one. - Transform, esp. in a surprising or magical manner

     

    Q:  How will your works compliment each other?
    A:   via feathers, fabrics, neutral colors and glitter.

     

    Q:  What are your future plans as an artist?
    A:  Pretty soon I plan to kill the Unicorn and refocus on my work as a contemporary fusion Bellydancer.

     

    Q:  What do you find are the most rewarding & challenging parts of having a healthy art career in Houston?
    A:   Most rewarding part of having a healthy art career in Houston: doing whatever the {bleep} you want. Most challenging part of having a healthy art career in Houston: coming to terms with doing whatever the {bleep} you want.

     

    Keep up with all things YET on Facebook, her Flickr page, and Blog and come meet her in person this Sunday, July 29 at our Afternoon Tea party celebrating the midway point in this collaborative exhibition and the meeting of the minds of Lisa Chow & Y. E. Torres.

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jul 2, 2012

    Hello everyone!  Our member Q & A picks up again with an interview with the lovely artist Lisa Chow.

     
    Lisa graduated from The University of Texas in Austin with a business degree in 2005.  For five years, she worked in the corporate world before deciding to take the leap to pursue art full time. Since then, Lisa has become a vibrant member of the Houston arts community, exposing the city to her fanciful and whimsical artwork.

     
    Currently, Lisa is working on a collaborative show with Y.E. Torres to be unveiled at Fresh Arts in July.  Once there was, once there wasn't: Two Tales from the Minds of Lisa Chow & Y. E. Torres runs though July 9-August 17, with an opening reception for Lisa on July 14. 

    Though very busy preparing for her show, Lisa was kind enough to answer a few questions.

     
    Q: How did the collaboration with Y.E. Torres for your upcoming show Once there was, once there wasn't: Two Tales from the Minds of Lisa Chow & Y. E. Torres come about?  
    A:The credit for this brilliant idea has to go to Fresh Arts's Jenni Rebecca Stephenson. Jenni read both our proposals and saw the potential for an exciting collaborative show. YET and I just agreed. :)

     

     

    Q:What has it been like working and collaborating with an artist whose work is so different from your own? What have you learned from this collaboration so far?
    A: It's been incredibly fun. My 2D work has influenced YET to dive back into drawing and collaging; while YET's installations/performances have pushed me to think beyond the canvas/panel/paper. But more than that, it's been an amazing learning experience. Having the opportunity to learn another artist's vision, process and inspiration is both rewarding and humbling. My favorite take away is learning how very different yet similar we artists can be. We're all just a bunch of weirdos.

     

    Q: What sort of dialog do you think will be created by the pairing of your works together? Are you hoping for any type of specific reaction?
    A: Outwardly, YET's work and my work look very different; we use different mediums, styles, techniques, everything. But we both have the same goal: we want to tell you a story. We want to invite you into our imaginations, into our worlds, to meet our characters and to have a little fun.

     

    Q:You took quite a leap from working in the corporate world to becoming a full-time artist.  What was it that finally compelled you to make the change?
    A: I was thoroughly unsatisfied and unfulfilled at my corporate job. Every teeny tiny art accomplishment felt a hundred times better than any accolade I could receive at work. And, you only live once.

     

    Q: How did you first get started?
    A: First Saturday Arts Market in the Heights. The market head honcho, Mitch Cohen, was so supportive and enthusiastic of my work from the very beginning; he really gave me the jump start I needed to try my hand at art "for real".

     

     

    Q: What future projects are you looking forward to?
    A: Right now, I'm just focused on the "Once there was, once there wasn't" show. I still have so much to do...framing, glittering, baking, stenciling and finding ribbon...LOTS of ribbon.  

     

    Q: What do you wish to accomplish in the future as an artist?
    A: If I could support my family by doing something I love; that would be the dream.
     

     

    For more information on Lisa Chow, please visit:

     

    www.lisachowart.com

     

    www.facebook.com/lisachowart

     

    Or contact her at lisa@lisachowart.com

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jun 11, 2012

    Last Wednesday we hosted a free info session on how non-profits can utilize the Google For Nonprofits program and what kind of benefits they get when they become a nonprofit partner with Google. Here's a recap of some of the most appealing benefits your organization can tap into as soon as you're approved!

     

    Free advertising

    One of the most exciting parts of being a part of the Google For Nonprofits program is the Google Grants part. With Google grants, your organization can get up to $10K per month in free advertising on Google.com (called Adwords). This means that based on your key words and targeting, you can create an ad for your organization that appears next to Google search results. $10K goes a long way, my friends. And remember, this is FREE.

     

    YouTube

    Your organization can also get premium branding capabilities on your YouTube channel for free, which we learned is a service some for-profit companies pay up to $70K per year for. Other benefits include:

    ·      Ability to upload longer, larger video files

    ·      Embed a Google Checkout button on page to drive fundraising

    ·      To include a “Call to action” in your videos via an in-video ad overlay or video annotations

     

    The Houston Zoo fully utilizes their premium branding options on their YouTube channel. Check it out:

     

    Houston Zoo YouTube channel

     

     

    Google Apps – free communication, collaboration & publishing tools

    If you already use Google apps like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Groups for your personal use then you already know how handy they are. When your nonprofit becomes part of the Google For Nonprofits program, you get to utilize all those same Google features but with your organization’s branding.

     

    For example, Fresh Arts is part of the program and so I log into Gmail with my @fresharts.org work email address and get to use all the awesome Gmail features (and more) that I love about my personal Gmail account. You'll see our company logo in the top left corner.

     

    Screenshot of fresharts.org email account

     

     

    Google Docs allows you to create or upload a document or spreadsheet so that you can access important files from anywhere you have internet access. You can share any file with others so they can view and/or make edits and you can see in real-time when others are viewing and making edits to the file.

     

    Have you used Google Forms yet? You can create a custom form and collect the responses. We use Google Forms for part of our ARC Exhibition proposal process. Once an applicant submits his/her form responses, those responses are added to a spreadsheet format for us to easily view and sort through.

     

    Do I really need to say anything about Google Calendars? They are the best. Hands down. Plus, you can embed a Google Calendar into your website that updates in real-time when you add or change an event.

     

    You can also explore creating a basic website through Google Sites to share info on a secure company intranet, collaborate on a team project, or plan meetings & activities.

     

    Another really cool tool that you get to use for free when you’re part of the Google For Nonprofit program is Google’s Website Optimizer. Website Optimizer is an easy-to-use tool for testing site content to help increase your site effectiveness, which leads to higher conversion rates. Put in plain English, if your website has the right content (words), it will rank higher in web searches and if the call to action is easy to find and compelling enough, more people will be likely to take that action (say, purchasing tickets to your next show or donating money to your org).

     

    Note: Starting August 1, 2012, Website Optimizer will no longer be available as a standalone product but will instead be integrated with Google Analytics as Content Experiments. To use Content Experiments, log into Analytics, open Standard Reporting, and in the Content section, click Experiments.

     

    If you’re not already using Google Analytics to track and analyze your website traffic, you are truly missing out! Analytics is totally free to anyone with a website and is absolutely an invaluable tool.

     

    Google Analytics dashboard example

     

    Google Alerts is another no-brainer and it’s free and easy to set up. Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries. You should definitely have a Google Alert for your name and your company's name so you are notified any time your name appears in the news or online for another reason.

     

    Example of setting up a Google Alert

     

    For additional resources about different elements of the Google for Nonprofits program, visit the Google for Nonprofits YouTube channel

     

    To apply for the Google For Nonprofits program, visit www.google.com/nonprofits. You'll need a company Google account and verification of your 501(c)3 status with the IRS to get started. Once you’ve submitted your application, it takes about 30 days to be approved.

     

    We're big fans of the enhanced features and benefits we get by being part of the Google For Nonprofits program, which is why we wanted to share with you!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jun 5, 2012

    Alrighty y'all. Get ready!  Fresh Arts (Spacetaker + Fresh Arts) now has a full time staff of THREE. It's about to get live-er-er(?) over here.

     

    I'm Sarah Schellenberg, the new Manager of Marketing and Member Services @Fresh Arts, and I'm happy. I'm happy to be in the swamp that is Houston summer. (I know. I know...most people would rather drink diesel than squint through another Houston summer.) I'm happy to be advocating for Houston's bad-ass art scene and I'm happy to join the killer team of Fresh Arts. (Plus, I have a sweet 15" iMac monitor! No offense to the PC'ers out there.)

     

    I can't wait to see what this year holds as Fresh Arts expands and evolves. Inevitably, there will be lots of changes as we strategize for the future of the new Fresh Arts, but one thing that absolutely will not change is the commitment to serve Houston's artists and amazing arts organizations. I will be working closely with Jenni Rebecca Stephenson and K.C. Scharnberg to strengthen existing partnerships and member relations, while figuring out what we can improve on. 

     

    Yup, I'm pretty excited! Drop me a line. I'm looking forward to working with you.

     

    See you soon!

    Sarah

     

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: May 24, 2012

    As a grass-roots arts organization, we'd like to pride ourselves in being as responsive to the needs of our community as we possible can. That said, there is one topic that rises to the surface in every single survey we send out to our constituency and that is the issue of healthcare and health insurance.

     

    With all the legislation on the table regarding healthcare, the issue can get a little murky. However, in our research, we've found a lot of fantastic resources existing in our city and state that can help navigate one's search for quality and affordable healthcare.


    In the coming months, the staff at Fresh Arts will be compiling its research into a simple guide like the one developed by The Actor's Fund, in partnership with LINC (Leveraging Investments in Creativity) for Dallas/Fort Worth. (Take a moment to check it out here.) However, we thought we'd share a few resources we've come across in our journey so you can start exporing your options sooner than later... (Peruse the sections below to see what relates best to you.)

     

     

    For small businesses and nonprofits:

     

    Every few weeks, a colleague at the helm of a small nonprofit reaches out to ask if we know how to find affordable health insurance. We had pretty good luck in lowering our premiums by working with broker David Smith, who was gracious enough to participate in an info session we hosted on the subject of insurance (recapped here). That said, we have recently become aware of a statewide initiative to address the issue of Texas' large uninsured population by offering discounted options to businesses which haven't been able to previously provide their employees with benefits.

     

    Healthy Texas

    (Statewide in Texas)

     

    UPDATE: The Healthy Texas program has been capped effective August 1, 2012. (Bummer!) Hopefully, alternative options will emerge soon... For more info, see here

     

    From the website: Healthy Texas was developed to encourage Texas small businesses, even those with just a few employees, to offer health insurance as a benefit. With the help of state dollars and the backing of the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), Healthy Texas gives eligible small employers a way to offer health care to their employees.

     

    In summation, this insurance provided through the Healthy Texas program is "guaranteed issue." In other words, the health of the group or its individuals is not a factor in determining premiums. Via backing from the federal government (filtered through TDI), the program can extend discounts of 30-35% on its premium rates. However, there are some eligibility requirements:

     

    1. * The company must have 2-50 employees
    2. * The company cannot have provided group-sponsored benefits for the last 12 months
    3. * The company must be located in Texas
    4. * 30% of eligible employees (working 30 hours or more) must earn at or below $33,510 
    5. * The employer must contribute 50% of the premium
    6. * 60% of eligible employees must participate (which does count those employees who are part-time, receiving spousal benefits, Medicaid, etc.)

     

    But the good news is that some of the best aspects of healthcare reform are reflected in these insurance plans... like preventative services covered at 100%, as well as vision for no extra cost. (And consistent 1099 employees are eligible... which has not historically been the case with small group plans!)

     

    This morning, we met with Gabriel A. Arguello of Celtic Healthy Texas, one of the carriers collaborating with the Texas Department of Insurance on the Healthy Texas program. We have invited Gabriel to speak with interested parties at the upcoming Houston Arts Resource Fair on July 28th (hosted in partnership with Dance Source Houston, DiverseWorks, Houston Arts Alliance, Houston Theatre Alliance, Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP), and Texas Accountants & Lawyers for the Arts-TALA)... but we highly encourage our colleagues to investigate Celtic's Healthy Texas program if you're seeking coverage for your employees.

     

    Get more information and details about Celtic's Healthy Texas program here.  

     

     

    For individuals:

     

    We realize that the majority of the artists with whom we work are independent contractors. Frequently, if you are employed, it is in a part-time or contract capacity, so the issue of health insurance is, of course, a big concern. We can point you in the direction of recommended brokers, but part of the challenge is identifying which programs and services to undercut the cost of an expensive policy or trip to the doctor's office might be right for you. To accomplish that goal, we can point you in two different directions:

     

     

    The Artists Health Insurance Resource Center (AHIRC) care of The Actor's Fund 

    (National, two offices to monitor regional resources)

     

    Our friends at the Actor's Fund have done a fabulous job of compiling a great deal of information about obtaining insurance and care. Yes, it takes some time to read through these resources, but there are probably very few places with as much targeted info for artists as the AHIRC website:  www.ahirc.org.  

     

    (And no, one does not need to be an actor to utilize these services!)

     

    We're thrilled that Daniel Kitowski, Director of Health Services in the Western Region for the Actor's Fund, will also be joining us for the Houston Arts Service Fair in July, where he will be able to answer specific questions about the specific services of the Actor's Fund and AHIRC. 

     

    Telephone support: If you've perused the online resources and still have questions, you can reach Dan with specific questions by phone at 323.933.9244 ext.432. (We're pretty impressed that he's made himself available for one-on-one assistance... thanks, Dan!)

     

     

    Fractured Atlas

    (National) 

     

    We love us some Fractured Atlas! This arts service organization out of NYC also has great information about healthcare reform, discounts to health services, as well as ways to secure individual health insurance. (Remember, Fresh Arts/Spacetaker members receive affiliate memberships to Fractured Atlas, which grants them access to their insurance counseling services.) Visit the health insurance section of Fractured Atlas' website for more info: www.fracturedatlas.org/site/healthcare/navigate

     

    (And guess what! Fractured Atlas' own Emily Gray-- Insurance Program Director-- will also be visiting with us in July at the Houston Arts Resource Fair!) 

     

     

    Gateway to Care

    (Local, Houston-specific) 

     

    Their mission from their website: To facilitate access to adequate healthcare for uninsured and underinsured persons in the Harris County service region by establishing a mechanism for healthcare agencies, coalitions, funding entities and advocacy groups to coordinate common administrative and service delivery activities to provide a seamless service delivery system.  

     

    Gateway to Care provides a large menu of excellent services, and we feel the Healthcare Navigator would be of special interest to the independent artist community. We realize that when researching your options, the healthcare jargon and endless list of websites and disclaimers can be daunting... just imagine someone holding your hand through the process! Gateway to Care can help find a 'health home' for those in need. That includes case management such as:

     

    1. * Outreach
    2. * Eligibility determination
    3. * Health promotion
    4. * Referral
    5. * Advocacy
    6. * Facilitation and coordination of services

     

    Eligibility for navigation services: no eligibility requirements to utilize Gateway to Care's navigation services

     

     

    Also, the Provider Health Network-- a network of physicians and other healthcare providers have agreed to see a limited and defined number of low income, uninsured patients annually, on a pro-bono basis-- is an amazing program offered by Gateway to Care. 

     

    Eligibility for Provider Health Network: 150% of federal poverty level (meaning, you-- a family of 1-- make less than $16,755 annually)

     

     

    Lastly, Gateway to Care's list of local clinics is a fantastic resource! 

     

     

    In closing, we realize this information doesn't solve everyone's problems, but we hope you will find these resources to be helpful. We also want to know that we're hearing you when you tell us this is a big need in our community. In our small way, your local arts service organizations are working on it!  Please stay tuned for a "Houston Guide to Affordable Health Care for Artists" and the upcoming Houston Arts Resource Fair... both are small steps towards our collective goals!

     

    Cheers,

    The Folks at Fresh Arts

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Apr 10, 2012

     

    Last week, we announced our merger between Spacetaker and Fresh Arts Coaltion.

     

    This week, we are combining our entire newsletter subscriber list as well as our weekly event newsletter! What does this mean for you?!

     

    This means that:

    • - If you were previously subscribed to both Spacetaker's and Fresh Arts Coalition's weekly event newsletters, you will now only receive ONE event newsletter per week. A lighter inbox is a good thing these days, ya know? It will look slightly different, but rest assured, it'll be the same weekly treasure trove of exciting arts events happening all over town.
    •  
    • - If you were previously subscribed to either Spacetaker's or Fresh Arts Coalition's news but at some point chose to "opt out," then your email was scrubbed when we combined lists and you won't receive any news from the new Fresh Arts unless you opt back in (this means you will need to re-subscribe...click link below).
    •  
    • - If you were previously subscribed to the Fresh Arts Coalition newsletter list but haven't opened any of their emails in the past three (3) months, your email was scrubbed when we combined lists and you'll have to re-subscribe. 
    •  
    • - If you're new to Fresh Arts (Spacetaker + Fresh Arts Coalition) and want to receive our weekly event newsletter, artist resource newsletter, volunteer calls, or just news about Fresh Arts events, please click the link below to sign up.

     

    CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR FRESH ARTS NEWS

     

    Stay tuned on Facebook, Twitter, and here on our blog. If you have specific questions about the merger and how it might affect you, please visit our Merger FAQ page.

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Apr 3, 2012

     

    It's official! Fresh Arts Coalition and Spacetaker are joining forces.

     

    Friends,

     

    What’s better than two Houston arts service organizations? Well, actually, one really awesome arts service organization. Spacetaker and Fresh Arts Coalition are merging! 

     

    With similar missions, activities and a passion for the Houston arts community, it just made sense to join forces. As one organization, we will be able to serve our members more effectively and responsively, act as a better steward of funds and bring you even better access to the creative talent thriving in our city.

     

    The merged organization will be called Fresh Arts because we think the name represents our current missions, as well as our joint vision for the future. At this time, the core programs and services that Spacetaker members have come to rely upon will be retained, and the organization will continue to provide marketing services to Fresh Arts Coalition members on an ongoing basis. I will be the executive director of the new Fresh Arts, and K.C. Scharnberg will continue to support PR and program activities.

     

    Over the next couple of months, we’ll be working to develop a business strategy and looking at national arts service organization models to improve our service offerings for artists and arts organizations. We want this process to be as transparent as possible, so we’ll be updating you frequently. Stay tuned on Facebook, Twitter, and here on our blog. If you have specific questions about the merger and how it might affect you, please visit our Merger FAQ page.

     

    Beginning next week, we will combine both Spacetaker and Fresh Arts Coalition weekly event e-newsletters into one. We hope that you'll want to continue receiving our weekly treasure trove of exciting events happening all over town, but if you don't, you will be given the option to "opt out" with a single click. If you're not already on our list, subscribe to our newsletter here!



     

    Whether you love dance, theater, film, chamber music, literary events, and all types of visual art...or you want to discover something completely new, you can depend on us to connect you to what's fresh!

     

    Thank you for being a part of our family and for supporting Houston arts. Cheers to you and to the new Fresh Arts!

     

    Jenni Rebecca Stephenson
    Executive Director, Fresh Arts (Spacetaker + Fresh Arts Coalition)

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Mar 12, 2012

    It’s been over a year since we first started talking with our friends at the Houston Downtown Management District about how we could collaborate together to create ways for Houston artists to activate some of our downtown retail spaces in creative, thought-provoking ways.

     

    Finally…we are excited to have helped connect Houston artist Stephanie Toppin with Char Bar for a site-specific window installation and you’re all invited to the Opening Reception Tuesday, March 13 from 6-9 p.m.! Click here for more info.

     

    In her soft sculpture installation entitled Self Portrait, Toppin uses a variety of fabrics to create a landscape of panels that explode with color, texture, patterns, and layers to form a three dimensional interpretation of her current abstract self-portrait painting. Self Portrait will hang in the front window of Char Bar for viewers to enjoy through summer.

     

    You’ll get to know Stephanie a little better in our interview below with her. She’s absolutely delightful.

     

    Tell us a little bit about yourself as an artist.

    I’m a painter branching out in combining craft (which I’ve done separately for quite some time) with my fine art. My self portrait work focuses on a language of lines I’ve created in a landscape or timeline form. It’s necessary for all the pieces to be somehow physically linked to the one before and after as if creating one large picture. The work does not end…it simply continues to flood out. I have a desire to make different work, yet it always comes out this way.

     

    Now tell us about yourself as a human being. What would you like us to know about you?

    I’m from Houston, TX, born and raised. I do graphic design and admin work at a local IT company. I make little comical drawings promoting the underdog, crochet. There is a blog. We have buttons. I’ve made a few sculptural cakes for fun. I think it’s fun to get an outdated medical text book and make a collage out of the entire thing. I like sewing, reading, podcasts, crochet, traveling, embroidery, thrifting. I’m a person who sleeps little and does much, always willing to learn new things and make new things. I’m always trying to be more efficient with my time and am intense about multi-tasking. I want to eventually do it all.

     

    What was your first impression when we approached you about this window installation project?

    Thrilled to do something different. Painting is my first love, but a chance to get out of my comfort zone means so much more.

     

    What did you learn from this site-specific installation process?

    This project was difficult because of the small space. The bay window starts at about my waist and is closed in by two smaller doors with a beam running through the middle. I am so grateful to be 5’4”and not claustrophobic. If I were any taller I would not be able to stand inside. I learned how to hang an installation without penetrating the surface of the space. It would have been simple to grid everything out with nails. It took research, 3M tape, a wire grid, many a zip tie, and asking others for advice. There is no artist manual on ways to hang art. Please send me any if they exist.

     

    What do you hope people get from your Self Portrait installation at Char Bar?

    While installing, people stopped, looked, some came inside and asked questions; a woman said she loved looking at the piece on her walk to work. Maybe she never gets to go to art galleries as often as she would like to, or at all. Most people are busy. I hope it’s a reminder that not all art is in quiet buildings with art hung on big blank walls. I like the idea of turning the city into an art gallery. I like reminding the public that artists are here to serve a purpose in the community and to the public and please don’t cut funding for art programs in schools. I hope they miss the installation it when it’s gone and I hope they want another piece from another artist after that. I hope it makes some school kid want to take a sewing class.

     

    What is your biggest inspiration as an artist?

    I make art for the clarity and release. I have to make things to help myself. I get inspired by having the tools in my hands. How could I not make something?

     

    Who or what has been the most influential to your work?

    Solitude. Having the time to drift through a piece of work and create when all the thoughts of the day have melted away, when objects and sounds aren’t shrouding your view, and when you are finally letting go, when it is just you and the work.

     

    What is the best art-related piece of advice you’ve ever received?

    Keep painting.

     

    What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

    I once showed all my paintings upside down at a gallery, I am not at liberty to say which, and no one noticed. I am not sure what that means.

     

    What’s next for you?

    I’ve shed some hours at my day job to dedicate more time to art and craft. I would love to make a larger installation as well as make new discoveries in my paintings and other work. I want to do more work with the public in the future.

     

    On Twitter, follow Stephanie @fabricandlines, Char Bar @TheCharBar, Downtown Houston @DowntownHouston, and Market Square Park @MarketSquarePrk

     

    Major thanks to the Downtown District and Char Bar for supporting this project!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Mar 6, 2012

    (Written with great enthusiasm and intensity by Spacetaker's darling intern, Nicole Sackllah!)

     

    Listen up, Houston! Our city’s cultural art scene is set to EXPLODE!

     

    Performance artists from around the world will be in the city March 8-10 for the first Houston International Performance Art Biennale 2012!

     

    For anyone who seeks the rare, the risk, the abstract, and excitement in real art, this is something you have to see!

     

    Hosted at DiverseWorks on March 8th, AvantGarden on March 9th and NotsuoH on March 10th, the festival will feature international artists such as Myk Henry (Ireland), Elena Nestorova (Finland), Gim Gwang Cheol (South Korea), Marcus Vinicius (Brazil), and Non Grata (Estonia). National artists include: Nyugen E. Smith (New Jersey), Jamie McMurry (Los Angeles), Jill Pangallo (New York) and a diverse collection of local artists including The Art Guys, Jim Pirtle, Nestor Topchy, Emily Sloan, Julia Wallace, Jonatan Lopez, Rahul Mitra, Daniel Adame, Nancy Douthey, and Daniel-Kayne.

     

    With this array of different cultures and artistic styles, we can only anticipate what inspiration they will collectively offer. Be sure to open your mind to their drastic measures. The momentum, passion, and whit of action they propose is unlike any art performance I have ever seen. This is absolutely going to be on my bucket list performances to attend this week! For it exposes you to the life challenges we face in society, the silence society conceals, and explosion! Who wouldn't want to witness this?! So intriguing, it's like you’re committing a sin. Watch out, mundane world, reality is about to set in.

     

    FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS THREE-DAY PERFORMANCE ART EXPLOSION, CLICK HERE.

    To see their awesome promo video, visit YouTube here! (warning! video includes nudity. viewer discretion advised.)

     

    And guess what?! The Houston International Performance Art Biennale is looking for volunteers!!! They need 5 to 8 people to assist with the performances. In return, you get free entry, complimentary drinks, t-shirt, and poster, and best yet, lots of love from the artists. CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW TO VOLUNTEER.

     

    Photo Credit:  Myk Henry, Freedom. Photo Courtesy of the artist

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Feb 23, 2012

    Hello, everyone!

     

    Since late Spring 2010, Spacetaker has presented a regular Exhibition Series in our Artist Resource Center (ARC) Gallery. As an extension of our professional development services, the ARC Exhibition Series is designed to provide emerging and established artists with an alternative space to show their work outside of a commercial gallery setting and mentor through the process of presenting a public exhibition, from marketing, to pricing, presentation skills, cultivating clientele, and more. During this time, we've had the pleasure of working with several stellar artists with varying levels of exhibition experience and it has been so fulfilling to see each of them grow personally and develop professionally through this process, not to mention make some sales!

     

    So the word must have caught on throughout the artist community about our gallery and exhibition opportunity…because we were happily surprised to receive nearly 50 exhibition proposals in early January, MANY of which were very strong submissions.

     

    This, combined with a decision to slow down our pace ever so slightly and present only seven exhibitions in 2012 (instead of 11, which we did last year), resulted in a much more competitive review and selection process than ever before. There were more worthy proposals/bodies of work than we could reasonably accommodate this year and we appreciate every single artist who took the time to submit a proposal to us.

     

    Without further ado, we are excited and honored to announce our 2012 ARC Exhibition line-up!

     

     2012 ARC EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

    Curtis Gannon
    "and everything in between."

    January 13 - March 3, 2012
    Opening Reception: Friday, January 13, 6 - 8 p.m.
    Closing Reception: Saturday, March 3, 6 - 8 p.m.
    More info here

    Jaime Leigh Collier
    Home Spun

    March 19 - April 28, 2012
    Opening Reception: Friday, March 23, 6 - 8 p.m.
    More info here

    With Home Spun, Spacetaker's ARC Gallery is an official Participating Space of the FotoFest 2012 Biennial.

    Stephen Kwok
    May - June 2012
    Details TBA

    Lisa Chow/Y. E. Torres
    July - August 2012
    Details TBA

    Lydia Hance of Frame Dance Productions
    August - September 2012
    Details TBA

    Regina Agu
    September - October 2012
    Details TBA
    Sandy Ewen
    November - December 2012
    Details TBA

     

    We'll be posting updates on our ARC Exhibitions page as we solidify the details of each exhibition.

     

    Cheers!

    KC

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Feb 1, 2012

    Woohoo! Our fabulous friends at 002houston Magazine featured our current exhibiting artist CURTIS GANNON in their Febuary 2012 issue! If you've visited the 002 headquarters at Spring Street Studios, you'll know that publisher Alejandro Martinez has a not-so-secret obsession with the comic genre. Since Curtis' show opened on January 13th, we've observed many cases of instant COMIC CONNECTION between comic book lovers.

     

    If you have a soft spot for the comics of the Golden Age of the 50s & 60s or the Silver Age of the 70s, you will enjoy this interview with Curtis that much more.

     

    For Art's Sake | 002houston Magazine | Feb 2012

    Is there an era, a cutoff point for an era of comics that interest you from which you tend to work?
    Good question. Primarily the ’60s and the ’70s, I guess even the ’50s. What they would call the “Golden Age” is kind of ’50s, ’60s, and the “Silver Age” is primarily ’70s. They’ve been making reprints for quite a bit of these comics for about 10–15 years, and I make my work from these reprints. I love the colors they use. I love the way they were drawn back then, the simplicity of the printing… now, with digital, they’re almost photographic they’re so well printed. Plus, there’s something about the comics from that day and age. You know, you always knew the good guy was gonna win, no one ever really got killed, there was no cussing, there was no… a very latent sexuality – and comics today, it’s pretty much like cable television. They’re pretty over the top. So I like that innocence, you know?

    [Read the full interview here]

     

    One important correction to this article that we must point out (and entirely our fault for switching the date at the last minute): Contrary to what this article states, the CLOSING RECEPTION FOR CURTIS GANNON'S SHOW "AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN." will take place on SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 6-8pm.

     

    [More about Curtis' show here]

     

    Thanks for reading!

     

    Interview by Lance Scott Walker

    Photo by Cody Bess

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jan 4, 2012

    While the ink is still drying on our New Year's resolutions, the Spacetaker staff has been reflecting on the last year-- our accomplishments and our deficits-- in an effort to refine our vision and aspirations for 2012. We're proud of our progress, but the one thing we know, more than anything, is that we couldn't have made it this far alone. As we take a moment to consider all those who made Spacetaker's programming and services possible in 2011, we are OVERWHELMED by the sheer number of generous people who gave us a leg up in one way or another. Whether it be through financial support, the sharing of talent or resources, or volunteer help, we have been truly, truly blessed.

     

    In short, you are our heroes. And guess what-- we think you deserve a big salute! So, here it is:

     

    We are continually amazed by the dedication exhibited by Spacetaker's Board of Directors. Knowing how much they care about our organization is a true inspiration to those of us in the office. We would be remiss for not pointing out how lucky we are to be led by Board President Amy Tanner and Vice-President Elaine Becraft (formerly Conway). These two ladies have earned matching capes encrusted with sparkles and bathed in unicorn tears for the amount of time, talent, and treasure they have invested in our organization. (And we also need to thank Susan Clifton and Jay Becraft for their support and willingness to lend us their other halves.)

     

    Also, on the top of our list are board members Jonathan Beitler (the whole Beitler family deserves our undying love), Joel Luks, Linda (and Tony) Aguilar, Sally Kolenda, Michelle (and John) Arnold, Nicole Laurent (and Joey Romano), Taft McWhorter, David A. Brown (and Christa Forster), and Ed Schipul-- not to mention the advocacy and painstaking efforts of board members Thomas Nauls, Carey Kirkpatrick, Bob Abbinanti, Steve Astrich, and Grace Rodriguez. (We have to also give a special nod to some additional committee members who are true rockstars in our book: Harry McMahan, Allie Herzog, Aimee Woodall, Monica Danna, Liz Gorman, and Carlos Vincente.) We don't know what we'd do without their time, energy, and generous financial support of our work.

     

    We are repeatedly moved by the generosity of our donors who may not be as intimately involved as our board, but who nevertheless contribute to the work we do. A simple thank you is insufficient for our Donors and New Patron Members: Nina and Michael Zilkha, Vicki and Brad Beitler, Adan Medrano and Richard Jimenez, Alexis Melvin, Peter Glynn, Reda Marie Hicks, Rebecca Henson, Michelle Parker, Sara Speer Selber, Wendel Skolaski, Tina and Josh Zulu, Carolyn Casey and Gonzo247, Mary Anne Gatchell, Robert Knox, Paul Nelson, Cynthia Conner, David Lake, Jennifer McKinney, Nancy Henderek, Shellie Stocks, Debbie McNulty, Dianne Long, Jennifer and Philippe Tanguy, Karen Lail, Nicky Smith, Virginia Bileaud Anderson, and Jason Stephens.

     

    And where would we be without our Institutional Funders! How lucky we are to live in a city which values culture and demonstrates that fact through its philanthropic community. We are genuinely indebted to The Houston Endowment, Inc., the Houston Arts Alliance, the Nightingale Code Foundation, the Evelyn Davies Charitable Foundation, and the Joan Hohlt and Roger Wich Foundation... as well as the Texas Commission on the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts.

     

    We count ourselves very fortunate to have established some incredible partnerships with Corporations and Local Businesses. The following have made significant contributions to Spacetaker in 2011: Silver Eagle Distributors (Thank you so much, Bob Boblitt and Laura Goodrum!), Wells Fargo, Amegy Bank of Texas, IKEA Houston, Southwest Airlines, Winter Street Studios (special love to Jon Deal, David Deal & Susan Butos), Bayou City Arts Festival (Art Colony Association), Boheme Café and Wine Bar (Eva Sagisaka, Morgan Holleman, and staff are amazing!), Hello Lucky, Jackson Walker L.L.P., Prather Kalman, P.C., Skyline Art Services, CulturePilot, Texas Art Asylum, The Eye Gallery, My City Rocks, and Momentum BMW. Gracias!!

     

    We're also grateful for our Artist Advisory Board, who lend their time and expertise to provide a curatorial voice for our organization, as well as serve as representatives for our local artists. Among them: Michael Crowder, Geoffrey Smith (Michael and Geoff deserve special medals for their blood, sweat, and tears on our behalf!), Brian Piana, Yet Torres, Jennifer Decker, Hannah Rebecca Gamble, Saba Jawda, Lindsay Kayser, and Kevin Holden.

     

    And our fabulous In Kind Sponsors help us manage costs, allowing more funding for our programs and services. Over the last year, these businesses have rocked our socks off again and again: Dripping Springs Vodka, Phoenicia Specialty Foods, Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, My Texas Spirits, Relish Fine Foods, Jenni’s Noodle House, Churrascos, The Azuma Group, Delectable P.I.E.S., Frosted Betty Bakeshop, BRC Gastropub, Oh My! Pocket Pies, Izkali Tequila, Copy.com, Kolache Factory, Kitchen Incubator, Que Imaging, The Modern Beauty Company, and Lush Cosmetics.

     

    As for the Media, we raise our glass to: 002houston Magazine, 29-95 (Houston Chronicle), CultureMap Houston, Houston Press, Houston Modern Luxury, KUHF/KUHA, Yelp, Prime Living, Glasstire, Art + Culture Houston, Free Press Houston, Origin Magazine, and Hater Magazine. (We owe special shout-outs to writers Nancy Wozny, Joel Luks, Abby Koenig, Dan Oko, Hank Hancock, Michael Pennywark, Olivia Flores Alvarez, Steven Thompson, and Devon Britt-Darby…as well as public radio goddess Elizabeth Sosa Bailey and publishers Carla and Alejandro Martinez!)

     

    Worthy of being at the top of this list are the Industry Experts and Practitioners who have presented at and contributed to our professional development workshops for artists. Much appreciation goes to Sara Kellner (Kellner Consulting), Caitlin Kaluza (Schipul Web Marketing Company), Taft McWhorter, Aimee Woodall (Black Sheep Agency), Monica Danna (CoLab), Carey Kirkpatrick (CultureMap), David Smith (USA Benefits Group), Jennifer Ward and Marta Sanchez Philippe (FotoFest), Anya Tish, Bob Linzer (Need Accounting Help), Michele LaRocco (360 Degrees of Art), Blakely Bering (Bering Art Collective), Eleanor Whitney (New York Foundation for the Arts), Jade Simmons, Erin Rodgers (TALA), Lindsay Peyton (Cadence Enterprises), Matthew Lennon (HAA Civic Art Department)... and a host of accountants and lawyers who volunteer quarterly at our Legal/Accounting Clinic with TALA. Merci beaucoup!

     

    Our Interns have been invaluable to us over the last year. Thank you Sandra Vasquez, Kayla Danielle Brown, Kimberly Cedeno, and Angela Compean for your time, your energy, and for putting up with our random midday dance breaks. We appreciate you!

     

    It can be argued that Spacetaker is one of, if not the most collaborative nonprofit arts organization in town judging by the number of artists and administrators from different nonprofits engaged in our programming. Yet, there are a precious few with whom we partner again and again... so, it should be known how much we love Organizational and Programming Partners Fresh Arts Coalition, Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts, Cinema Arts Society, Fractured Atlas, New York Foundation for the Arts, IndieGoGo, City of Houston Re-Use Warehouse, and the Teen Council of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. In 2011, we've also loved working with The Caroline Sessions, Gift Of Gift Of, Nano Fiction, Vault Dance Company, Two Star Symphony, and Suchu Dance... plus almost 50 more orgs who participated in Cultured Cocktails!! (That's not even including our organizational members, all who we value so much!)

     

    Artists are our raison d'être. Therefore, we must show our appreciation for our Exhibiting and Presenting Artists in 2011: Stephanie Anne Clark, Mark Masterson, Montrose Art Society, Jude Theriot, Joshua Alan Smith, Gabriella Nissen, Kerry Adams, Pablo Gimenez Zapiola, Continuum, Sketchy Neighbors, Magid Salmi, Mark Austin, Margaret Colvin, Tracy Manford Carlson, JJ Johnson, Melanie Schlossberg, Javier Fadul, Kristina Koutsoudas, Carrie Schneider, Kristy Peet, Lizbeth Ortiz, Raul Edwards, Monica Vidal, Lydia Hance (Frame Dance Productions) … as well as 60+ artists/musicians showcased at our Winter Holiday Art Market and hundreds of artist members. We've been delighted to work with you all-- thank you for the opportunity! 

     

    And on that note, some artists have helped support our organization through their Donation of Artwork for various fundraisers and programming. Thank you John Painter, Anat Ronen, Kenneth Pierson, Matt Messinger, Ian Anderson, Adam Brackman, Kelley Devine, Kenneth Beasley, Joel Hernandez, Monica Vidal, Taft McWhorter, Emilie Duval, Gonzo247, Noah Quilles, Anne Jensen, Anu Srivastav, Micah Simmons, Brent Groves, Michael Crowder, Raul Gonzalez, Nicola Parente, Lacey Crawford, Michael Meazell, Tomas Glass, Chris Silkwood, Alexis Andrei, Rebekah Tee, Bryan Higgins, Katy Anderson + Patrick Medrano, and Patrick Bertolino for your belief in us and support of our cause.

     

    Speaking of fundraisers, our annual gala takes a small army to produce. Our gratitude to Gala Chairs James Phelan, Jonathan Beitler and Carey Kirkpatrick... as well as an energetic Gala Committee and Contributing (VIP) Guests. Our gratitude to Lisa Benitez, Adam Walker, Teya Sparks, Steven Thomson, Mandy Trichell, Nicole Mora, Vico Puentes, Natalie Davis, Nicole Haagenson and Arthur Langham, Courtney Hurst, Michael Meazell, Jim Peterson, Lester Marks, Nita Moore, Cynthia Miller, Alex Rosa, Amber Roussel, Mahek Shah, Mari Sokolowski, Julie and Marc Wilkes, Alexis Andre, Yvonne Boustany, Catarina Cron, Karen Grace Diaz, Chris & Sarah Dunn, Vika Filippov, Lori Freese, James Glassman, Jamie Glover, Vernon & Keri Henry, Lori & Javier Horvilleur, Sarah Jawda, Jenny McKinney, Beth Newhouse, Paul Pettie, Elia & Noah Quiles, Lanie Ratza, Elizabeth Sosa Bailey, Audrey Trotti, Wade Wilson, Ab Abendshein, James Bell, Trish and Kevin Rigdon, Rhia Robinson, Joni Ogle, Travis Gorman, Melanie Ratza, Scott Sparvero, James Winkle, Allen Bianchi, Lea McKinney, Kim Scates, Nicole Longnecker, Anna Kaplan, Donja and Bill Cohn, Marthann Masterson, Misha Penton and Dave Nickerson, and William Miller.

     

    And our Volunteers have earned warm, fuzzy spots in our hearts.... you know who you are: Jeremy Keas, Jan Rynda, Morgana Davila, Molly Block, Elizabeth Whitworth, Rocio Carlon, Reginald Sidney, Chad Muska, Tricia Briones, Abe Flores, Varina Rush, Nimish Tambe, Monica Rhodes, Maureen Maiuri, Gretchen Heather, Tifani Pust, Julie Lambert, Ayisha V, Nicky Tien Smith, Jennifer Mathis, Mischa Hutchings, Darla Harmann, Kevin Benard, Ekanem Ebinne, Reyes Ramirez, Susan Brown, Alicia Cargile, Ana Lira, Angie Seneff, Bill Hardy, Bill Speakman, Chad Maydwell, Dakao Do, Gabriel Trichell, Guy Yount, Jasmine Williams, Jorge Mancilla, Laura Medard, Lee Mcgraw, Linda Cook, Linda Hardy, Lisa Stewart, Loretta McCarthy, Maggie Baer, Mandy Graessle, Mario Hernandez, Michelle Brown, Natalie Eguia, Nick Dickerson, Nicky Tien Smith, Rachel Gonzalez, Robin Babb, Salvador Munoz, Sarah Pollard, Susan Whitt, Taryn Baranowski, Terri Denton, Todd Meier, Vipul Divecha, Yubitza Lopez, Christopher Oliver, Keith Hollingsworth, Charleen Baugh, Kevin Cabrera, Sonja Cadiz, Lauren Camacho, Cynthia Card, Tim Church, Natalie Cloyd, Lacey Crawford, Joe Davis, Connie Duque, Abraham Flores, Kelly Gamble, Tina Garcia, Besma Gouti, Cynthia Jamieson, Felicia King, Adriana Meza, Lan Ngo, Meredith Nudo, Ruth Plascencia, Gail and Pat Prather, Heather Ringman, Maria Rodriguez, Regina Scott, Kay and Scott Selvig, Matthew Slezak, Nicky Smith, Lori Tatam, Bryce Vincent, Kelley Wiggins, Jasmine Williams, Brandy Wilson, Ashley Yang, and Emily Yinger. We absolutely could not do it without you!

     

    Last, but not least, there are a handful of people who have been important to our organization in a variety of ways... through advocacy, consultation, etc. We must send a special salute to Anthony Thompson Shumate, Frank Vela, Kimberly Sterling, Karen Farber, Candace Kizer, Marita Fairbanks, Jerome Vielman, Mitch Cohen, Graham Gaskill, Cliff Kurtzman and Veronica Butler, Karen Ross, Gail Prather, Rob Meyer and Mark Erogbogbo of Prather Kalman. Your help means a great deal to us!

     

    We realize this list is ridiculously long. Yet, the list's length is precisely why it's important for us to express our thanks to each and every one of you. Your generosity and support do NOT go unnoticed... even among a cast of hundreds, it is valued. Thank you for what you do.   

     

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Dec 23, 2011

    We had a grand ol' time at A Night of Inky Improv together with our talented friends of NANO Fiction and Sketchy Neighbors. What extraordinary creations came out of it!

     

    You might recall a similar event we hosted in 2010 called Poetry & Art - ON DEMAND. The premise of the event is to encourage collaboration amongst artists and writers, two groups that rarely work together in such a free-form way. You'll learn more about the creative process of writer Andrew Kozma and artist Chris Thompson in this radio interview about A Night of Inky Improv on Houston Public Radio's The Front Row.

     

    Here's how it works:

    Four writers and four artists each get a 5-or-so-word phrase suggested by someone in the audience. They have 10 minutes to draw or write something inspired by the prompt they are handed. After the 10 minutes are up, they hand their work over to a writer (if the prompt began with an artist) or illustrator (if it began with a writer) and that person takes a look at what they've been handed and creates a story or drawing to finish the piece over the next 10 minutes. After this 20 minute period of co-creation, the clock stops and presentations begin.

     

    Many thanks to writers Miah Arnold, Hank Hancock, Kirby Johnson, and Andrew Kozma and Sketchy Neighbors Katherine Kearns, Devon Moore, Chris Thompson, and Jeff Whiteley for participating!

     

    Here's a look at four of the final products:

     

    Artist - Devon Moore

    Writer - Miah Arnold

    Prompt - Pumpkins Growing on my Back

     

    There was once a man who lived near a great ocean with water so potent that it killed all the vegetation around it for miles. On his twenty fifth birthday he caught six hundred and thirty three sand fleas inside a glass mason jar. Before sealing the lid he whispered his wish inside it: O please lord may I learn to grow pumpkins.

     

    He dipped the jar in kerosene, lit it on fire, and then shattered it against the rocks in the requisite manner. He saw the fleas all burst into small firey souls and rejoiced, knowing soon they'd deliver his wish to the overlords.

     

    Nothing happened for weeks and he was so ashamed he tried to throw himself into the sea. Instead of drowning though, he floated beachward time and time again until he remembered the shiny fire or his baby boy and decided that once he recovered his strength he would return to the job of his forefathers: fishing.

     

    He dreamed his pimples were exploding. He dreamed it was Thanksgiving. He dreamed of Mace.

     

    He never did wake up, but when his own son grew to maturity and went searching for sand fleas to end the misery of his life on the water he came across the patch of calabazes that had been his father and knew it was his dad all at once.

     

    The horn above his father's anus was wide open and he screamed into it "Father, father, it is I your son, come to chase sand fleas!"

     

    He received no reply, and he sat atop the circular glob of his father's body. He picked a small pumpkin before he left and he understood that once he ate of his father he would have no more excuses.

     

     

    Artist - Katherine Kearns (aka Katsola)

    Writer - Andrew Kozma

    Prompt - My cat has better moves

    Disco is king! (Long live the king!) And when the king says dance, you dance, or you die. (Or become a banker.) Off in the wings, Muzak loves Disco, but Disco, Disco has never loved Muzak. (When Muzak says dance, you look up, surprised.  What about death?  It was all so romantic, before.) What if we are just cats in heat?  What if we could be cats in heat? (Love was so much simpler then.)  When the insect-eyed sun glares at the particle-board night, stars burst into life. (They are smoking.  They are smoking and accepting cancer as their savior, or they are on fire.) Oh, I can see through you as through a lead apron. (Our love radiates, and everything in our path starts to die.  Not from despair, but from pride.)

     

     

    Artist - Jeff Whiteley

    Writer - Hank Hancock

    Prompt - Cuddly Sloth

    Monstrous and perverse. You have no idea. How am I to move about the world? How am I to operate a fork and knife? Others may be worse off than I, wholly without feet. What consolation is it, though, if all I have is feet? Below my obscured pudenda is a set of toes to really crank your kink. I used to cover my shame, but I know now that the looks I get, the slavering stares, signal my mastery over others. I am the monster!



     

    I go nude all day. My belly button is an open invitation.

     

    Last week I attended an art opening and overshadowed all that was merely fabricated. The artist fled. My shame was now his. And without shame, I shook hands and took pictures, and accepted invitations to dine and meet the members of various boards. I will have my portrait made. Nude of course.



     

    Don’t call me bat-boy. Don’t call me freak. I am a monster, simple as that. Don’t ask me what I do. I just am. I’m here only to demonstrate that times are out of tune. My ears – you see them from the end of the block – are attuned to the crack of doom that rings on the great brass bell hanging from all your fine and deliberate makings. It’s fine to pretend otherwise, but you can’t resist my bodily insurrection.

     

     

    Artist - Chris Thompson

    Writer - Kirby Johnson

    Prompt - Snowmen make good lovers

    She told him she liked it rough so that’s how he played. The kids were at their grandparents and the neighbors were out of town on a long vacation so George had at it. It started with a little heavy petting, then some name-calling and spanking. She was the first girl in a long time that had taken an interest to George so he aimed to please. She was so round and white and beautiful. He didn’t want to lose her. He took off his scarf and started to whip her with it. He whipped her and she laughed and punched him. George didn’t know what to think but he didn’t want to let her down either. He was bleeding from his mouth. He could taste carrot but he ignored it and let his scrawny arms fly, his whip soaring through the air, lashing and lashing.

     

     

    This event was made possible by Poets & Writers and held in conjunction with Spacetaker’s ARC Exhibition presenting the Sketchy Neighbors in The Saddest Love Story Almost Never Told: Based on a True Idea.

     

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  • Posted on: Nov 1, 2011

    We are pretty thrilled to feature the work of French born Magid Salmi for our next ARC Exhibition, opening this Friday, November 4th. In Alternate Reality, Salmi takes a playful and humorous approach to his visual commentary our society’s obsession with consumerism and technological progress. His uniquely constructed still life photographs feature the use of common household and perishable items in an alternate reality, investigating the notion that what we consider strange and shocking now may become the status quo in the future.

     

    We sat down with Magid to ask him a few questions about his work, his inspirations, and career plans.

     

    ail-phoneSpacetaker: Your “Alternate Reality” body of work is visually fascinating and quite humorous. In fact, Hank Hancock referred to it as “Still Life Frankenfoods” in his recent post on the Houston Press Art Attack. How or what led you to develop this body of work?

     

    Magid Salmi: I noticed that sometimes people don't react well to the direct approach when you ask them to think more about our society, lifestyle, consummation habits and how that impacts everything and everyone. Using humor is always a good way to express a darker idea.

     

     

    What is your biggest inspiration as an artist?

     

    It's going to sound like a cliché but I would say everything, since I do believe everything can be interesting or beautiful when seen through a certain perspective. If I had to be more precise, then I’d say the news, a good social documentary, or something ridiculous that I’ve heard. In short anything that makes me cringe, which is a lot of stuff.

     

     

    curling mechanismWhat have you learned throughout this process of preparing for and planning this solo exhibition?

     

    Plan ahead and get the pieces to be shown ready as soon as possible. You might not think it will happen, but SOMETHING will go wrong, usually at the last minute. If everything goes as planned, then you can focus on other aspects of the exhibition such as PR and communications. And if possible, get some help.

     

     

    Who or what has been the most influential to your work?

     

    I wish I could give the name of someone that will make me sound smart or interesting, but really I think it’s growing up in Paris and going to every kind of museum with my father at an early age and throughout my adult life. I think all that culture, knowledge, and history just opened my mind to the idea that I really know very little about the world around me and that there is always more to things than meets the eye. I think that’s what I’m trying to accomplish in my photography, wanting the viewers to question what they see and find their own stories or explanations.

     

    Tell us about your career path. Where have you been & where would you like to end up?

     

    I was an amateur photographer while traveling and living abroad in Asia before I began pursuing photography as a career at the age of 27 in Paris, which is pretty late in the industry. I learned everything by doing, by being an assistant and working as an intern in different studios. Basically just starting at the very bottom. I had a chance to work with a lot of different photographers in a lot of different kinds of commercial photography before specializing in fashion and events. I still know how to make food look shiny and delicious in pictures, or the most aesthetically pleasing time to set a watch to when doing jewelry still life. I later got the chance to be included in a few exhibits in Paris and decided to move to Houston in 2009, my wife’s hometown. It was really encouraging to be selected in Lawndale Art Center’s Big Show last year and also the Art League Houston’s Gambol exhibition. Winning 2nd place in the "Gambol" show really solidified the idea that I might not be so bad at what I do. Since then, good things have been happening. I’ve been in group shows in London, Los Angeles, Austin and now my very first solo exhibition with Spacetaker.

     

    As to where I would like to end up ...the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, which is the national museum of modern art, so my mum could see what I do.

     

    What is the best art-related piece of advice you’ve ever received?

    plu#4025

    Let's try something else!

     

    What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? Did it pay off?

     

    Coming to Houston, and we will see. 

     

    On a more serious note I don't see risk at face value but rather as just trying something out, an experiment you might say.  Looking at it from this angle means they almost always pay off since I have always learned something from undertaking it.

     

    What’s next? 

    The presidency

     

     

    Learn more about Magid at his website www.magidsalmi.com.

     

    Alternate Reality will be on view November 4th through December 2nd at Spacetaker’s ARC Gallery, located within Winter Street Studios (2101 Winter Street, Houston, TX 77007).

     

    Please join us for the free public opening reception this Friday, Nov. 4th from 6-8pm!

    More info here!

     

    Photos in order from top to bottom: Photo of Magid Salmi; Ail-Phone (2008); Curling Mechanism (2011); plu#4025 (2011)

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Oct 11, 2011

    "Spacetaker is the most efficient way to get skill sets that I’m looking for because the information comes from experts."

    – artist Lydia Hance, Frame Dance Productions

     

    “Spacetaker has really contributed to raising my profile in the community and helping me to raise awareness about my work and that has been very very valuable.”

    – artist Misha Penton, Divergence Vocal Theater

     

    “They just keep giving me opportunities and giving me chances to shine.”

    – artist Tracy Carlson, Funny Girl Photography

     

    Wow. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. No really, in all seriousness, we are MONUMENTALLY flattered and humbled by these statements from these Houston artists.

     

    Through our online services and in-the-flesh programming that serve to support the professional growth of our city’s artists and arts organizations, we are seeing that the numbers are telling us we’re on the right track. But far more valuable than any stats report are the personal anecdotes and success stories from the people we exist to serve.

     

    In this video, the artists do the talking for us. Thank you for watching!

     

     

    Spacetaker is a community-supported non-profit organization and Artist Resource Center that supports hundreds (if not thousands) of Houston-based artists of all disciplines by offering economic development, continuing education, and networking opportunities to support their professional growth.

     

    Tap into the Houston arts scene and Spacetaker news by signing up for our e-newsletter!

    Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube & Flickr!

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  • Posted on: Sep 28, 2011

    Welcome to our third installment of our ongoing series illuminating Why We Love What We Do here at Spacetaker. (If you need to catch up, you can catch part 1 here and part 2 here.) As you may already know, Spacetaker's mission is to provide artists and non-profits access to economic development, continuing education, and networking opportunities to support their professional growth. This week's blog will focus on our efforts involving the first of our three main priority areas: economic development. 

     

    If there's anything that's risen to the surface as a need within the nonprofit community within the last few years, it's the concept of economic development. With the instability of our economic climate, a wide variety of businesses have suffered, especially within the cultural realm. Theatres have shut their doors, galleries have closed, publishers have folded... it's a tough time to be working in the arts! After all, some people believe art is a luxury. While we don't agree, we can't argue that the public is faced with a variety of pressing issues, so what better time to focus on providing opportunities for the art community to generate revenue and equipping artists with tools to improve their entrepreneurial practice within this brave new world.  

     

    How do we do that?  

     

    Winter Holiday Art Market: The biggest means by which Spacetaker addresses the topic of economic development is our annual Winter Holiday Art Market, otherwise known as WHAM. The genesis of WHAM was the annual student sale at the Glassell School of Art, which took place each winter. At some point, the Glassell discontinued the sale, which meant its regular participants were eager for another venue through which they could market and sell their work. Some industrious students and faculty brought the sale to Winter Street Studios (Spacetaker's home) and the management and administration of WHAM eventually fell to Spacetaker. In a nutshell, the Winter Holiday Art Market has grown to be a juried exhibition and art market in one: free and open to the public, displaying the work and wares of over 60 local artists. Unlike other markets, festivals, and fairs (all of which we love and are important to our city), WHAM's spotlight is strictly on Houston artists, facilitating the sale of their work through developing new Houston-based audiences. WHAM:

     

    • Provides an economic engine through which emerging and underrepresented artists and artisans may market and sell their work during the consumer season
    • Brings attention to the First Ward neighborhood housing Spacetaker and Winter Street Studios (Between Winter Street, Spring Street, and Summer Street Studios, the area is home to well over 200 artist studios!)
    • Attracts new audiences to the art community with the festival format, while providing a safe, festive opportunity for community-building

     

     

    Over 10,000 patrons attended the previous five Spacetaker Winter Holiday Art Markets, and art sales have put $244,000 in the hands of working artists.        

     

    In the spirit of WHAM, we continue to experiment with pop-up exhibition spaces (like Block 7 Wine Company, ARTernative Festival in Sugar Land, or the recent Julydoscope at Discovery Green) in an effort to identify and cultivate even more opportunities for artists to exhibit and sell their work. We even brought a bite-sized version of WHAM to the Shops at Houston Center last year to capitalize on some of the area's excellent foot traffic!

     

    Cultured Cocktails: On a totally different note, Spacetaker has been able to create a platform for ongoing micro-fundraisers through our weekly Cultured Cocktails Happy Hour in partnership with Boheme Cafe and Wine Bar (about whom we truly cannot say enough nice things!)*. Each week, a new arts organization is featured and has the ability to invite their staff, artists, friends, and fans to come drink on their behalf. (Boheme donates a generous portion of the bar proceeds to each organization; it's a Pay-it-Forward situation for Spacetaker, as we do not take any portion of the proceeds for organizing and managing these happy hours.) It's never a gargantuan amount of money, but it:

     

    • Provides a low-maintenance, low-impact way for artists and administrators to socialize and cultivate their networks
    • Frequently funds small projects (For example: Artist Emily Sloan's ShadeCloud installation at The Art League was directly funded by their proceeds from our Cultured Cocktails event)
    • Provides a performance or exhibition opportunity for those so inclined
    • Creates an opportunity to sell work (like our friends at Community Cloth did) or sell tickets & subscriptions
    WON HOUSTON PRESS BEST HAPPY HOUR IN 2010 (Awwww, yeah!)

     

    Since its launch, Cultured Cocktails has featured over 116 different emerging and established arts collectives and nonprofits and directed over $30K in funds their way. 

     

    And our work is never done in this regard! We're constantly on the lookout for more economic opportunities for the artists in our network. We realize that one of the biggest boundaries to creative output is funding, and along with our own fundraising priorities, Spacetaker makes every effort to connect our artist community with the outlets capable of generating that income-- both earned and contributed. 

     

    If only money grew on trees! But we're confident, even as public funding for the arts is disappearing, that concerted advocacy efforts and the creation of a solid community network connecting audience/collector/patrons to businesses, nonprofits, and artists will fuel the economic viability of our arts scene. Be an active part of that network!

     

    Signing off for this week...salut!

     

    xo,
    Team Spacetaker

     

    *No, really... we're serious. Morgan Holleman and the Boheme management deserve mad props for their generosity. 
     

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  • Posted on: Sep 21, 2011

    This week's blog is the second in our series of updates about Spacetaker's programming (the first is here) and is dedicated to a few of Spacetaker's physical programs that may or may not already be on your radar: the Spacetaker ARC Workshop Series and the ARC Exhibition Series.

     

    It's no secret that artists struggle with their business savvy. And it's no secret that while nearly every other profession is designed to make money, the art world has a peculiar relationship with marketing, commerce and entrepreneurial pursuits. And while most artists work as independent contractors of some sort, one can graduate with a string of BFAs, MFAs, and PHDs following their name and never take a single business-oriented class. In my own experience, my schooling may have taught me why Wagner and Brecht were important... but nary a mention of nonprofit tax code or QuickBooks basics, which (forgive me, dear professors) have a bigger impact on my ability to run an arts organization.

     

    Spacetaker has always functioned as a sort of 'help desk' for artists working in the Houston area. We field inquiries ranging from how to best connect with media contacts to how to utilize social media for arts marketing to how to create art project budgets for funders. The constant feedback has been useful in gauging the industry-wide gap in practical business skills, but historically, Spacetaker's small staff has only had the capacity to work with a limited number of artists.

     

    Starting with an info session on financial literacy late in 2008 (led by our fabulous partners at Amegy Bank, who have been instrumental in getting Spacetaker's finances in order), the organization began looking toward the workshop model which would allow Spacetaker to reach more artists at once, as well as justify retaining the input and participation of outside field experts. At that point, Spacetaker launched an informal needs-assessment, asking artists which professional development resources were most needed, as well as asking the industry establishment for input on the local art community's strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth. Thus, the ARC Workshop Series has been developed as a direct response to the needs of our local arts community.

     

    Throughout 2009-2010, a variety of workshops were proposed and tested, and the resulting observations have significantly shaped Spacetaker’s approach to professional development. For example:

    •  
    • ---Working artists are pressed for time: workshops must be outside of business (day-job) hours
    •  
    • ---Local artists are seeking community: peer-to-peer feedback is needed, as well as networking with seasoned professionals and experts
    •  
    • ---Artists have strengths and weaknesses as varied as their art itself: while a comprehensive business strategy is ideal, a one-size-fits-all approach is not, and artists should be able to plug into professional development services as needed
    •  
    • ---The time-poor artist needs help turning big-picture concepts into an actionable strategy

     

    These factors have informed how we’ve designed our ARC Workshop programming in 2011, which has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. We strive for our professional development resources to be practical, efficient, community-driven and locally pertinent, and immediately translatable into action. Case in point, our upcoming workshop on grant-writing for the individual artist will allow participants to submit their actual proposal to the Houston Arts Alliance’s Individual Artist Grant program for feedback and editing. Not only will the process be a vehicle to hone overall grant-writing skills, but participants will complete the workshop with a stronger proposal to submit when the HAA deadline rolls around this fall. Two birds, one stone!

     

    To date, since the launch of Spacetaker’s ARC Workshop Series in 2009, Spacetaker has hosted over 1,000 (1,071 to be exact) individual artists in 50 professional development workshops and consultations. (The subjects Spacetaker has covered and have in the works are listed below.)

     

    Similarly, the ARC Exhibition Series has sprung out of a need for more exhibition/performance opportunities for local artists, as well as a mentorship program for coordination, production, and promotion. Plenty of independent artists are realizing they need to organize their own exhibitions and build a collector/patron base on their own. (Like our friends at Glasstire suggest, artists shouldn’t wait to be invited to show by curators and dealers.) But how does an artist execute an independent project in a professional manner?

     

    Spacetaker dedicates time and resources to mentoring each artist in the ARC Exhibition Series through the process of public exhibition and performance… from marketing and promotion to pricing, presentation skills, and cultivating clientele. Our goal is not only for participants to leave with another show on their resume, but with applied knowledge to improve their professional practice in the present, as well as throughout their careers. As the proverb says: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

     

    To our knowledge, Spacetaker is the only Houston-based organization whose presenting series focuses on the professional development and entrepreneurial aspects of exhibition and performance production.

     

    Last, but not least, this blog post is being composed from New York City, where Spacetaker is currently meeting with a variety of NYC-based arts service organizations. Already, our meetings have sparked several ideas for how we can modify and improve our existing programs to better serve Houston’s artists as we move into 2012. Exciting things afoot…stay tuned!

     

    Yours truly,

    Team Spacetaker

     

     

    Workshops on the books and/or in the works:

     

    Career Development

    • Functioning as Your Own Agent (for performers)

    • Evolving Your Career: Basic Business Skills for Visual Artists

    • Portfolio Preparation & Review

    • Gallery Relationships

    • Preparing Your Audition for a Casting Agent

    • DIY Event & Exhibition Planning

    • Introduction to Civic Art

    • Arts Leadership Forums

     

    Finances

    • Financial Literacy Series with Amegy Bank (basic budgeting, organization & cost-center budgeting, loans, business plans, etc.)

    • QuickBooks Training

    • Quarterly TALA Legal & Accounting Clinics

     

    Funding

    • Fiscal Sponsorship & Crowd Funding Info Session with Fractured Atlas and IndieGoGo

    • Info Session on New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Services & Resources for Artists

    • Funding Strategies for the Individual Artist

    • Grant Writing Practicum

    • “From the Funders Point of View” Panel Discussion

     

    Health

    • Art for the Healthcare Industry

    • Info Session: Health Insurance Options for Individual Artists & Small Organizations

     

    Legal

    • Art Licensing & Leasing

    • Copyright for Artists & Performers

    • Right to Publicity

    • Quarterly Legal & Accounting Clinics with Texas Accountants & Lawyers for the Arts (TALA)

     

    Marketing

    • Art Markets & Festivals: Pricing, Presentation & Sales

    • Social Media Management

    • Developing a PR & Marketing Strategy

    • Writing Press Releases & Working with the Media

    • Art of the Interview

    • Optimizing Tools to Enhance Your Web Presence

    • Harnessing the Power of WordPress to Create Blogs, Websites & Portfolios 

     

    Stay up-to-date on all our workshop offerings by visiting our ARC Workshop web page.

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  • Posted on: Sep 14, 2011

    Whenever we’re out networking, people hear our organization’s name and are intrigued. “Spacetaker? What’s that?” they’ll ask. And since the name doesn’t really help us out much, we typically have to field a few questions about our affiliations with NASA or real estate interests before we have a chance to explain that we’re an Artist Resource Center. The easier way to make people understand what we do is to simply say, “We help artists become better business people.”
     




    Our answer is usually met with a confused face (as if we’d just announced our plans to permanently end world hunger), and the next question is inevitably, “Well, how do you do that?” At which point, we get to tell them about all the different ways we work with artists: like our workshops or online resources or even our Cultured Cocktails series.
     
    Which got us thinking: there are so many new ways for an artist to plug into our programs and services that even those people already familiar with Spacetaker as an organization may not be totally aware of everything we’re doing these days. So, we thought we’d take the next several weeks to try and get everyone on the same page. Here goes!
     


    If you’ve been around Spacetaker a while, you probably remember us primarily as an online event calendar. (This is how Spacetaker first hit my radar: the weekly newsletter opened my eyes to a whole new world of art events I wouldn’t have otherwise heard about. Kind of like a gateway drug.)* What you may not know about our Culture Guide calendar now is:
     


    --- Our Culture Guide is 100% user-driven– anyone can add their events, performances, and exhibitions. (Over 1,200 users are adding content!)


    --- In our related Art on Tap newsletters, we do our best to feature Spacetaker member events, but also do a lot of digging to bring you a variety of events from indie artists & upstart collectives. The more unusual, the better!
     
    The Artist Registry has also been an important trademark of Spacetaker from the beginning, but here’s some new stuff of which you might not be aware:

     

     



    --- To our knowledge, the Spacetaker Artist Registry is the biggest registry in Texas.


    --- Partnering with the Houston Arts Alliance, Spacetaker’s Artist Registry the official registry used for culling public art proposals for the city.


    --- Every day, we hear about the Registry serving to connect artists with a variety of opportunities: whether it be curators or consultants scouting artists for jobs or exhibitions, people seeking to commission artists for projects, or teachers inviting artists from the registry to speak to area students.
     
    Helpful Hint for artists: Sure, you’re an artist with a fabulous flash website you sold your first-born to pay for… but how are you driving people there? Facebook is only one tool (and again, relies on your existing network)– our Artist Registry is another. Take advantage of it!
     


    The newest section of our website is the Artist Field Guide, which is a growing database of opportunities like calls for entry, residencies, job openings, and workshops… basically, anything useful for furthering the careers of creative types.
     


    --- Anyone can add opportunities and calls to the Artist Field Guide, but Spacetaker interns are hard at work doing the research that artists (with their day jobs) so rarely have the time to do.


    --- Bonus! Spacetaker’s working on a searchable database of rentable venues of performances, exhibitions, rehearsals and all that good stuff. We’ll give you a sneak peek… but keep in mind, we’re still working out bugs, as well as verifying/updating over 600 space profiles before we publish them publicly!
     
    And within the Artist Field Guide, we’re hard at work on the ARC Library: a comprehensive database of online resources related to the business of art. (See some content mock-ups below!) What’ll be in the library?
     


    --- Links to relevant resources & articles on Marketing, Accounting, Financial Management, Fundraising & more


    --- Sample forms, contracts, templates


    --- Timelines & checklists (Everyone works better with deadlines, n’est-ce pas?)


    --- An online archive of all our ARC Workshop programming, including slideshow presentations, handouts, and videos
     
    So, here’s your first snapshot of what’s going on in the Spacetaker offices. Stay tuned for more programming updates from Team Spacetaker in the coming weeks… signing off!
     
     
    ~Captain Stephenson and First Officer Scharnberg
     
     
    *A gateway drug of the legal variety, of course. Like coffee or queso.
     
     
    PS: If you want to jump ahead to the next blog post on our programming, click through here!
     
     
    ARC Library Mock-ups!
     
     

     

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  • Posted on: Sep 6, 2011

    Money is nearly always a main factor in determining when and how you will do your next art project. Other than art sales, commissions, performances, and/or your day job, where do you find it?

     

    We recently hosted a workshop on Funding Strategies for the Individual Artist that touched on this very subject – where and how to find funding for your work as an individual artist. Workshop presenter and ED of Spacetaker Jenni Rebecca Stephenson covered four sources:

    • - grants
    • - fiscal sponsorship
    • - contributions
    • - crowdsourcing

     

    GRANTS

     

    When searching for and identifying potential grant opportunities, Google is your best friend.

    • - Be specific in your queries. Start narrow, then open up your criteria
    • - “individual artist grants Houston Texas” will obtain better results than “arts grants”
    • - Specificity will help narrow down the results for which you’re eligible. For example, some grants won’t fund degree-seeking artists, some require 501(c)3 status, some fund only specific aspects of projects…take care to read the details so you don’t waste your time applying for a grant that you’re not eligible for in the first place.

     

    For example:

     

     

    In addition to Googling, here are a few good resources:

    Creative Capital 

    United States Artists

    The Foundation Center

    National Performance Network

     

    Local resources:

    Spacetaker’s Field Guide 

    Glasstire

     

    Pay careful attention to eligibility and grant terms! (For more on this, view the full presentation.)

     

    Once you’ve found a few grant options that sound like they might fund the type of work you do (or want to do), actually completing the grant application can be a daunting task at first. If you are new to grant writing or have a little practice and are looking to refine your skills, SIGN UP TO TAKE OUR GRANT WRITING PRACTICUM course on October 1st! (space is limited!)

     

    FISCAL SPONSORSHIP

    Moving on to another option for individual artists (and groups without 501(c)3 status)…fiscal sponsorship! What does that mean?

     

    Definition (from our friends at Wikipedia):

     

    "...the practice of non-profit organizations offering their legal and tax-exempt status to groups engaged in activities related to the organization's missions; typically involving a fee-based contractual arrangement between a project and an established non-profit."

     

    In a nutshell, artists can become fiscally sponsored by an organization and, in effect, use the organization’s 501(c)3 status as their own in order to become eligible for additional grants and funding opportunities. Additional benefits include having a degree of legitimacy (depending on the fiscal sponsor) and a tax deduction for your contributors!

     

    Here are some national* organizations who offer fiscal sponsorship services:

    Fractured Atlas 

    The Field 

    NYFA       

    (Plug: DON’T MISS our upcoming INFO SESSION ON NYFA’s RESOURCES & SERVICES FOR ARTISTS, Sept 14)

     

    *Be careful here! Some funders want fiscal sponsorship in the same state as the granting institution. Read the fine print.

     

    Here is a quick comparison of Fractured Atlas vs. The Field’s fiscal sponsorship programs*:


     

     

    CONTRIBUTIONS

    Contrary to popular belief, here at Spacetaker, we believe that patronage is NOT dead. We see and hear of plenty of examples of individually-driven projects being supported by other individuals.

     

    What it comes down to in fundraising is relationships. We all know this, right, but who is really doing it well? Your friends, family, and colleagues are the foundation for a support network. Their support can also be used to leverage other funds.

     

    Developing a supporter base doesn’t happen overnight. Here are steps you can take to get the ball rolling in the right direction:

    • - Stay in regular contact with those who buy your work or attend your shows
    • - Communicate with patrons in a way that’s not esoteric, sophomoric, or needy
    • - Keep it casual and low pressure
    • - When someone does you a favor, thank them (consider small art gifts)
    • - Explore commissions; they’re a great way to develop relationships
    • - Recognize your champions; treat them as such
    • - Work on developing relationships BEFORE you need something
    • - Consider that even someone who might not be able to afford your work might be willing to support you

     

    We know that asking for money can feel tacky or uncomfortable. The key to breaking out of that mentality and seeing results is to change the way you think about asking/giving. If you are passionate about what you’re doing, that will shine through and people will be more likely to want to support you. The reality is that many will happily support your projects if only asked.

     

    CROWDSOURCING

    Crowdsourcing allows you to present a project to a cultivated audience to seek funding. It’s an online platform to aggregate any fundraising efforts.

     

    Popular Options:

    Kickstarter

    IndieGoGo 

    Crowdrise

     

    What crowdsourcing does:

    • - Showcases the campaign in a public forum
    • - Expresses the fundraising campaign’s need
    • - Presents the fundraising goal
    • - Aggregates & showcases fundraising activity
    • - Incorporates social media, allowing donors to engage with & share your fundraising message

     

    How crowdsourcing works:

    • - All campaign info lives on crowdsourcing site
    • - Campaign owner (you) designs giving levels & corresponding “perks” for donations
    • - All donations filtered through site
    • - Receipts & campaign updates go through site
    • - Crowdsourcing site retains a portion of the proceeds (% to site, % to any 3rd party processors, etc.)
    • - Funds disbursed after campaign is completed to your Paypal or bank account

     

    We are partial to IndieGoGo’s crowdsourcing platform, primarily because, unlike Kickstarter, you get to keep whatever money you raise even if you don’t reach your campaign goal (however a higher % is taken).

     

    Here’s a quick comparison of using Kickstarter vs. IndieGoGo campaigns:


     

    We asked our friend Jerry Ochoa, violinist and composer for Two Star Symphony, if he had any advice or tips on how to run a successful IndieGoGo campaign and he went above and beyond our expectations. To give you some background, Jerry Ochoa has worked in nonprofit and arts fundraising for several years and recently ran a successful IndieGoGo fundraising drive for Two Star that raised over $7,000 for the recording and release of a new album, Titus Andronicus.

     

    This is GOLDEN INFORMATION, PEOPLE!

     

    Tips and advice on running a successful IndieGoGo campaign

    1.  Make a video. It doesn't have to be pro -- Two Star Symphony made our promotional videos on an iPhone -- but you want prospective donors to get to know you and your project, and a short intro video is a great way to do it. Introduce yourself and your project, ask for support, crack a joke, demo the project, whatever works best, but you're asking people for money. Put yourself out there and personalize the ask.

     

    2.  Scale your giving categories and incentives to fit your fundraising goal. If you're trying to raise thousands of dollars, skip the $1 and $5 giving options. There are two main arguments for this: A) for a $5000 goal, success would take literally thousands of donors contributing at the lowest giving levels. Do you have that many willing donors? B) If someone supports you enough to dig out their credit card and enter it online, they'll be willing to give you $10 instead of $5. Make it easy for them by limiting the options to $10 and above.

     

    3.  Assemble a team. Before the campaign begins, know that you'll need all the help you can get. Take a good look at your friends, fans and family and identify the people who can help spread the word about your fundraiser. Remember that publicity and opportunity are vital to your success and ask your team to create those opportunities. One supporter of Two Star offered to turn his annual birthday party into a fundraiser -- he hosted an in-home recital and asked guests to donate to us in lieu of gifts -- and we raised over $1000 dollars from the event.

     

    4.  Maintain momentum. You'll want to make an initial splash by throwing some dollars up early, but you also need to sustain the momentum. There's danger to the perception that your campaign has stalled out -- people don't want to donate to a lost cause -- so avoid this by arranging with friends or family (your team) to make gifts at specific intervals, so that people will see your numbers rising steadily.

     

    5.  Do the legwork. Remember that an Indiegogo page is a fantastic tool, but it's just that -- a tool. It is NOT a substitute for doing the work and you still have to take all the steps that fundraising has always required. Throw fundraising parties, hold benefit shows, make phone calls to friends and relatives with money, and blast it out through email lists. An Indiegogo page is most useful as a one-stop- shop; a place you can direct people that holds all the relevant info and includes a way to donate. But it's not magic and it's useless unless people are visiting it.

     

    6.  Make giving as convenient as possible. When you throw benefit parties, host events and approach potential donors, have a wifi-enabled laptop or iPad with you. If someone says they're willing to make a donation, hand them the open page and offer to walk them through the steps to donate. If they say they'll donate later, they will have forgotten about it by the time they walk away or close the email window. One reality of fundraising is that people have short memories -- get them to do it on the spot, or it most likely won't happen.

     

    7.  Take advantage of the Fractured Atlas/Indiegogo relationship. With a little advance planning, you can get your fundraiser fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas. This means that people can write off their donations to you as a tax deduction, just like nonprofits offer. It makes a huge difference (especially with higher dollar donors) and increases your legitimacy, but the biggest benefit is that most major corporations offer to match the nonprofit donations their employees make. With fiscal sponsorship from Fractured Atlas, your project qualifies! It's an easy way to double (sometimes more) any donations you receive from employees of those companies.

     

    8.  After the campaign ends, follow through. One of the great long-term benefits of running an Indiegogo campaign is that it allows you to find out how deep and how wide your support runs. Once you have the names and email addresses of people who will donate to you, build a relationship with them. The first way to do that is by completing your project the way you described it in your campaign. Stay on schedule, keep your donors updated and make sure they know that you are upholding your end of the bargain. Help them to feel ownership and a personal stake in your achievement, and never give them reason to question your ability to finish. Once they know you're responsible with their money, they'll support you that much more strongly down the line.

     

    Artists everywhere – you can do this! Even in these troubled economic times, money is still out there…it just takes deliberate effort on your part to do your research, cultivate your fans, and share your passion about what you do with others.

     

    For additional tips and resources, download the full ARC Workshop: Funding Strategies for the Individual Artist presentation and make sure you’re signed up to receive our Artist Resource Newsletter.

     

    Happy fund hunting!

    xo

    Team Spacetaker

     

    PS: Here are a few more links to enhance your fund-seeking experience... enjoy!

     

    Grant Information Clearing Houses

    Art and Art Deadlines.com

    Foundation Center: Granter list & resources

    Foundation Center FAQ (scroll down)

    Philanthropy News Digest

    NYFA Source

    Art Deadlines List

    Artist Help Network

    Mid-America Arts Alliance: Travel Stipends

    Texas Commission on the Arts: Artist Opportunities

    Café: CallforEntry.org

    Artists Wanted

    Mira's List

    Poets & Writers

    Spacetaker Artist Field Guide

    Glasstire Classifieds

     

    Granters

    Houston Arts Alliance

    Texas Commission on the Arts

    National Endowment for the Arts

    Foundation for Contemporary Arts

    Creative Captial

    Map Fund

    United States Artists.org (Artists must be nominated)

    Puffin Foundation

    The Awesome Foundation for the Arts and Sciences

     

    A Few Local Prizes & Grants Not to Miss

     

    All disciplines:

    Idea Fund

    Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grant

    MAP Fund

     

    For visual artists:

    Hunting Prize

    The Big Show

    Artadia Fund

     

    For writers:

    Poets & Writers

    NANO Prize

    Barthelme Prize

     

    For dancers:

    Weekend of Contemporary Dance

     

    For musicians:

    Ima Hogg Competition

     

    *Information valid as of September 7, 2011.

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  • Posted on: Aug 26, 2011

     

    Hello, Spacetaker fans!

     

    Traditionally we have only had two big volunteer opportunities per year – WHAM and our Gala – where we really count on our fans and supporters to lend a hand.

     

    We’re excited to announce that we now have one more annual volunteer opportunity and this one is SUPER FUN!

     

    We are HONORED to be a BRAND NEW NON-PROFIT PARTNER of the Bayou City Art Festival (BCAF) Downtown taking place October 8 & 9, 2011 in the streets of Downtown Houston!

     

    What does it mean to be a Non-Profit Partner?

    Put simply, as a participating Non-Profit Partner, Spacetaker is asked to provide volunteers to help staff the festival and in return, we are awarded with money from the Festival after it's over. Pretty neat, huh? Therefore, your volunteer hours help raise money for Spacetaker

     

    Volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and free admission to the festival for the entire day of their shift. Dates, times and opportunity descriptions are listed below.

     

    SIGN UP TODAY!

     

    Make sure to select “Spacetaker” as your organization!

     

     

    Shift Schedule

     

    The Festival runs Saturday, October 8th and Sunday October 9th, 2011. Each day is divided into the following shifts:

     

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Shift 1 - 9:00AM-1:00PM

    Shift 2 - 12:00PM-4:00PM

    Shift 3 - 2:30PM-6:30PM

     

    Sunday, October 9, 2011


    Shift 1 - 8:30AM-1:00PM (shift begins half-hour earlier due to accessibility hour
)

    Shift 2 - 12:00PM-4:00PM

    Shift 3 - 2:30PM-6:30PM

     

    *Anyone wishing to volunteer for more than one shift is welcome to do so. However, you MUST remember to sign-in for each shift that you work.  We ask that volunteers report 15 minutes early for their scheduled shift(s).

      

    Volunteer Activities

     

    (Spacetaker volunteers are not assigned to any specific shift so you are welcome to sign up for any Volunteer Activity below that you want! HOWEVER, the activities with an * by them are highly recommended!)

     

    Ticket Taker*

    Take admission tickets from patrons at the entrance gate. You will be given pocketed smocks and a box to place collected tickets. This position has direct exposure to sunlight. Please remember to bring a hat and sunscreen!

     

    Coupon Booth*

    You will be selling food and drink coupons to patrons. This is fun and fast-paced!

     

    Greeters

    Volunteers greet and hand out festival maps as patrons enter the gate. This position has direct exposure to sunlight. Please remember to bring a hat and sunscreen!

     

    Artist Relief*

    Provide relief to artists, eg- hand out beverages, snacks, booth sit (when applicable).

     

    Festival Market Booth

    You will be selling festival t-shirts, posters, and hats. Some basic training will be given at beginning of shift.

     

    Patron Art Pick-Up

    Volunteers will monitor artwork being held after purchase and assist with loading artwork into patron's vehicle. You must be 21 years old to work this position.

     

    VIP Lounge

    Monitor VIP area, check guest wristbands, assist with food and drink service.

     

    Stage Runner

    Assist with performances and performers at the Houston Arts Alliance Stage

     

    Volunteer Relief

    Monitor volunteers throughout the festival and ensure they have relief, water, etc. as needed.

     

    Feel free to email or call us if you have any trouble signing up for your volunteer shifts or if you have any questions about volunteering at the festival.! You can also check out the Bayou City Art Festival website and their Volunteering FAQs page as well!

     

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  • Posted on: Aug 23, 2011

    Hello everyone! This Friday, August 26th marks the opening of the first ever performance art-based exhibition in our ARC Gallery. Created by Continuum, a new performance art group in town, iPerform is an exhibition that will showcase work that has been developed over the past several months in and outside of the group's Performance Art Workshops. We interviewed the group’s head honcho Julia Wallace to get insight into her artistic process and what makes a performance artist tick.

     

    Q

    Tell us a little bit about yourself in relation to your art form, Julia. How did you get into performance art?

     Julia Wallace

    A

    I was introduced to performance art by Elia Arce at the University of Houston. I was absolutely scared to death. In fact, I dropped it due to immense fear of my first assignment, which I could not bring myself to complete, even after sneaking a shot of whiskey on the way to class. I got brave and took it the next semester and my life was never the same. Through performance art I learned how to live.

     

    Q

    Tell us a little bit about your artistic process. Where do you get your ideas? How and when do you manifest those ideas?

     

    A

    For my first performance art piece I thought I had discovered the key to creating: Do the thing you are absolutely the most scared of doing. I still think this is a fabulous way to create, perhaps the most rewarding, but unfortunately I don’t always have the stomach for it. Now, I usually just sit and listen and listen to myself and then eventually, Poof! a seemingly ridiculous idea pops into my head. Usually it doesn’t make too much sense at the time, it just feels very right. Six months or so after I have created it, it becomes very obvious that I did the exact right thing. I create art in order to grow as a person. It is always a therapeutic experience in some way or another. I think my ideas come from deep down in the murky subconscious (mine or ours). My consciousness catches up eventually. I manifest my ideas whenever time, inspiration, energy and the universe all align perfectly. I wish it happened more often. Fortunately I think a lot of people get the same ideas I do, so if I don’t get to it in a timely manner, they do it for me!

     

    Q

    What is Continuum, who is involved, and how did the group get started?

     

    A

    Continuum is a group of Performance Artists. We create together, helping each other make ideas happen, experimentingContinuum with each other, encouraging each other and giving others opportunities to experiment with performance art in a safe and encouraging environment.  Continuum was born out of a Performance Art Workshop that I facilitated in April at the Jenner House. After getting such a positive and creative group of artists got together, it became apparent that this group was meant for much more than my four session workshop, so we decided to move forward as Continuum. Anyone is welcome to come in and out so lots of people have been a part of Continuum, but currently the artists involved are Meghan Carey, Bryce Galbraith, Koomah, Jonatan Lopez, Raindawg, Hilary Scullane, Christine Cook, Emily Sloan, Eric Ling, Sway Youngston and me! [photo: Asweep, a performance by Emily Sloan, facilitated by Continuum, photo courtesy of Matthew Marand]

     

    Q

    Continuum’s show iPerform at Spacetaker’s ARC Gallery is coming up on Friday, August 26th. What are you looking forward to most about the show and what can visitors expect?

     

    A

    I can’t wait to see the performances of the members of Continuum! I have been watching these artists grow, and I can’t wait to see them sharing themselves for a wider audience. I love all of the members of the group, and I know that they are going to be really sharing from the heart, and seeing their sincerity and growth displayed will be beautiful. I am also really looking forward to the workshops. Creating intimately with a small group of people is really a thrilling experience, and I know I will learn a lot! [note from Spacetaker: you can read brief descriptions of each performance element on the show's event page here.]

     

    Q

    What is it about performance art that you love?

     

    A

    I could go on forever. Performance art gives me a reason to do something simply because I feel like it, and that has shown me that the urges and impulses that we have are here for a reason. When you follow them, they take you exactly where you need to go.

     

    Q

    What is the wildest thing you’ve ever done?Julia Wallace and her baby

     

    A

    I had a baby! All natural! It was definitely wilder than all of the performances I have done, including the ones where I was masturbating on stage, in class, and in the bathroom at Notsuoh. It was EVEN WILDER than showing myself giving a blowjob at Spacetaker’s Artist Speakeasy or hiding pictures of my [nether regions*] on construction sites. It is interesting though, even though so many of my sexual performances seem wild, they don’t feel wild to me. I suppose I am being rebellious towards the fear of sex in our culture, but all of these actions have been sincere steps of personal growth. To me they feel like pure and righteous acts of investigation.

     

    Q

    Anything else you’d like to share?

     

    A

    I just want to encourage anyone shy or intimidated out there to come give it a try! Performance art can be almost anything you want it to be, and we would love to give you the opportunity to share things that you never have had a chance to share before. Continuum is just about the nicest group of people in the world and this is a wonderful opportunity to transcend, to grow and to heal.

     

     

    Continuum’s iPerform opens Friday, August 26th with a public reception/performance from 7 - 10 PM at Spacetaker’s ARC Gallery. We’re really excited to see what live performance elements they feature and to see how the audience interacts or reacts to the show. One thing is certain though: parental discretion is advised.

     

    In addition to the opening reception performances, Continuum will host three free performance art workshops where participants will be a part of an encouraging and safe atmosphere in which they can explore themselves through the medium of performance.

    Performance Art Workshop #1: Monday, August 29, 7 – 10 p.m.

    Performance Art Workshop #2: Monday, September 5, 7 – 10 p.m.

    Performance Art Workshop #3: Monday, September 12, 7 – 10 p.m.

     

    On Friday, September 16th from 7 – 10 PM, the exhibition will culminate in a closing night showcase of the work that has been developed during the workshops.

     

    Visit the iPerform event page in our Culture Guide calendar for more information about the show.

     

     

     *we aren't supporters of censorship, but there's just something about the p-word that makes us a bit squeamish! is that wrong?

     

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  • Posted on: May 24, 2011

    Last Wednesday we held our first info session on Health Insurance Options for Artists & Small Groups, led primarily by our new insurance broker David Smith of USA Benefits Group.

     

    Let me first say that David is an independent insurance broker. He is not on the payroll of any insurance company. He is a regular guy whose job is to know the current insurance industry inside and out so he can make the best recommendations to his clients for their particular lifestyle and needs.

     

    When we poll the arts community here in Houston about what they want to know more about, one of the main topics that comes up is health insurance. With that in mind, what prompted us to host this info session at this particular time was because of what we experienced just recently here at Spacetaker in regards to our own health insurance.

     

    When our annual insurance renewal came up at the beginning of April, we discovered that our insurance rates were going to go up by 46%. FORTY-SIX PERCENT, PEOPLE! Not only is that crazy, it was not going to be feasible for this office of two full-time staff during an economic recession.

     

    We scrambled to find out what other options were out there and were referred to David Smith. We got him on the phone and within a short conversation learned that he could save us $2,500 per year per person by switching us from our small group health savings account policy to individual policies. AND, our insurance coverage is BETTER than it was before!

     

    We were so pleased with our experience working with David that we wanted to share the wealth and make sure that the artists and non-profits we serve know what moves to make to get the best deal on their health insurance.

     

    At the info session, David guided us through the questions one should ask when looking for health insurance. In addition, he covered the main changes in the current federal healthcare reform legislation and the timeline over which these changes are taking place.

     

    A basic rundown of the main points you might want to know:

     

    The new reform legislation was signed in March 2010.

     

    The initial changes began to go into effect in September 2010 and therefore, once your plan is up for renewal, you may see (or may already have seen) a difference in the following:

    • *Annual dollar-value limits on benefits are restricted. (translation: now there is no cap on how much an insurance company will cover; for example, insurance carrier X previously might have had a $2 Million cap on what they would pay for if you were undergoing major medical treatment. Now there is no cap – they must pay whatever it takes to get you well/healed.)
    • *Insurers may not rescind (void) health insurance policies, except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation.
    • *Adult children who are currently on their parents’ policies and unable to get insurance through their jobs may stay on their parents’ policies until age 26, regardless of their marital status.
    • *Plans may no longer impose pre-existing condition exclusions on children under 19. (Does not apply to “grandfathered” individual plans*)
    • *New policies must cover the full cost of preventive care. (Does not apply to “grandfathered” individual plans.) (translation: Preventative care includes: office visits, lab, X-ray, child immunizations age 6-18, Pap smear, mammogram, prostate screening, and endoscopic services)

     

    *“Grandfathered” plans include all plans purchased before March 2010. There are some rules surrounding what constitutes a “grandfathered” plan, see David's presentation included below.

     

    These are the main changes that have taken place that are affecting current policies. While these changes are beneficial overall, we are already seeing a cost increase imposed on policy holders, and it seems like the brunt of the costs are being placed on small businesses.

     

    By 2014, all insurance carriers must accept everyone whether they have preexisting health conditions or not.

     

    Here are some questions that were answered during the session:

    Q:  If you are an employer or have a business, do I have to offer a group insurance policy?

     

    A:  NO. Businesses with less than 15 full-time employees can explore the option of paying for their employees’ individual policies (this is assuming that everyone in the company is relatively healthy and has not had trouble getting covered because of pre-existing conditions). Just like in our case here at Spacetaker, we went from a group policy to individual policies that are still paid for by the business (we are so lucky!) and it is saving the company thousands of dollars a year. This will only work for certain situations so please consult an insurance broker before you make any decision.

     

    Q:  Does it cost me anything to work with an insurance broker?

     

    A: NO. Just like an apartment-finder, an independent insurance broker gets paid by the insurance company when a plan is purchased so there is no cost for the policy-seeker to consult a broker. An honest broker typically works with all major insurance carriers and has no allegiance to any one of them over the other. It behooves them to make sure you are happy with the plan that is right for you.

     

    Q: If I’m paying a regular monthly insurance premium for major medical insurance and then get cancer or another illness, will my monthly premium go up when I renew my plan?

     

    A: NO.Insurance companies cannot single out individuals and raise their rates due to changes in their health once they are already covered. The only time a person’s rate will go up is when that person’s particular pool (age range) goes up.

     

    RESOURCES:

    Fractured Atlas - As a partner in Fractured Atlas' Open Arts Network, we recommend Fractured Atlas to our Culture 365 members and others who are interested in affordable healthcare and liability options. If you are a Culture 365 member you are eligible to become an Associate Member of Fractured Atlas for free. Check out this amazing national arts services organization and all they have to offer.

     

    Texas Health Insurance Pool – state-funded insurance for those who can not get insured through a major medical insurance carrier

    http://www.txhealthpool.org/

     

    Healthcare.gov – As of July 2010, the federal reform act mandated that the government must provide an Internet portal where individuals and businesses can go online to explore and compare insurance options.

    http://www.healthcare.gov/

     

    *UPDATED*

    The Artists Health Insurance Resource Center - AHIRC.org is an up-to-date, comprehensive and unbiased database of health care resources for artists, performers, freelancers and the self-employed.

    www.ahirc.org/

     

    Texas specific resources on the AHIRC website.

      

    CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND DOWNLOAD THE INFO SESSION PRESENTATION

     

    OTHER INTERESTING LOCAL HEALTHCARE RESOURCES:

     

    Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine

    The physicians and therapists of the Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine (CPAM) at The Methodist Hospital are here to help you by treating and/or preventing health problems associated with being a performing artist. CPAM's doctors have specialized knowledge and experience pertaining to the particular medical needs of performing artists, offering care through the only institutionally backed program of this kind in the country. Whether you are sick or injured, our specialists are committed to both helping you get back on stage quickly and supporting you through a long and healthy artistic career.

     

    What Does CPAM Offer?

    • The nation's most comprehensive group of medical professionals, based in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center and is teamed to provide preventive, diagnostic, specialty and emergency care to performing artists.
    • Home to nationally recognized specialists in the fields of otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), voice disorders, orthopedics, ophthalmology, kidney disease, neurology/neurosurgery, psychiatry and urology.

     

    More here: http://www.methodisthealth.com/basic.cfm?id=35580

     

     

    Personal Physician Group LLP

    Personal Physician Group LLP(PPG) was founded in 1999 and offers a high level of patient-oriented medical care.  PPG has a specific interest in Arts Medicine. Dr. Rebecca Clearman, Executive Director of Personal Physician Group LLP, has always had a special interest in performing artists, visual artists, writers and designers; she has been working in Arts Medicine since the 1980s.

     

    Dr. Clearman and the Arts Medicine team are committed to the care of the Houston artistic community and are willing to give our services with full time performing and visual artists who would not otherwise be able to receive medical services.

     

    Once a month, Personal Physician Group LLP sponsors a free Arts Medicine Clinic from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

     

    If you are a professional artist or performer, lack of funds should not prevent you from getting help for your medical problem. If you are a dance, music, performance or visual arts student and require financial help for medical care, you may be eligible for this clinic.

     

    To find out if the Arts Medicine Clinic is right for you, please visit http://ppghouston.com or call the office at 713-524-9800.

     

    Harris County Hospital District “Gold Card”

    Financial assistance for those who qualify, based on household income. To learn more and apply for the “Gold Card,” visit the HCHD website.

     

     

    We plan to host an info session on healthcare at least twice a year and continually improve the quality and relevancy of information for artists and arts non-profit administrators. Next time we’ll tailor the session to pertain directly to self-employed artists.

     

    In the meantime, if you have any questions that we can consider for the next session, please let us know by emailing us at info[at]spacetaker.org.

     

    Thanks for reading!

     

    Xo,

    Team Spacetaker

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: May 16, 2011

    Hello, Culture 365 members and Spacetaker visitors! Our dear intern Sandra ended her internship with Spacetaker (and, in fact, is graduating from the University of Houston-Downtown this Saturday!) but we are going to try our best to continue her Culture365 Q&A legacy since it sheds well-deserved light on our awesome Culture 365 Artist and Nonprofit members and their artistic contributions to our city.

     

    This week we are featuring Writers in the Schools, a Culture 365 nonprofit member and incredible literary organization that we have come to know well. In a nutshell, Writers in the Schools (WITS) engages children in the pleasure and power of reading and writing through a variety of programs that reach a large cross section the community.

     

    Communications Manager Jennifer Watson shares a little bit about WITS in this week’s Culture365 Q&A.

     

    Q
    What kind of programs does WITS offer?

     

    A
    WITS offers creative writing programs to underserved children in schools, hospitals, museums, community centers, and juvenile detention centers. WITS also offers free creative writing workshops at Discovery Green (Saturdays 10:30 am - 11:00 am now until June 26th). For over 20 years, WITS has partnered with Rice University's School Culture & Literacy Project to offer the Summer Creative Writing Workshops to students in grades Pre-K to 12.

     

    Q
    What has been the response from the kids that have been in the WITS programs?

     

    A
    Says one 11th grade student, "I didn't know that I had a gift for anything, and now I know that I have a real gift for writing." WITS teaches kids that their voices are important and that their stories should be heard. They enter our program as shy, hesitant people and leave feeling empowered to share their stories with strength and conviction.

     

    Q
    Tell us about a recent inspiring moment at WITS.

     

    A
    Recently I attended the Public Poetry Reading series at Houston Public Library (May 7, 2011). Choreographer Dominic Walsh took my breath away with an excerpt of his poem on the subject of Time as a nonlinear phenomenon, and a dancer from his company performed a moving interpretation of the piece. But what impressed me even beyond that was a poem written by a 3rd grade WITS poet named Anna Miller. In the spirit of dance, she recited this poem:

     

    A Dancer’s House

     

    This house is very empty.
    There are only cleared-out spaces.
    But this house has
    something special.
    This house is a dreamer.
    It wakes me up early in the morning
    So that I can dance to its ancient
    song of
    praise.
    This house is set where
    two rivers meet and rush.
    Have you ever danced until the
    thieving sunset stole your light of day?
    Because I have, in my house.
    The blue stones in the rain
    are the music that I dance to.
    My house is made of brick and wood.
    But my house has a soul. Believe it.
    My house is old, but comfortable.
    I touch the rusted pipes that still let me live.
    My pliés and pirouettes are better
    when I’m in my house on the top floor.
    My blood, pumping out imagination until
    the day draws to
    its close.
    I leap and bound on my garden path.
    I skip across the quiet river.
    A peaceful house,
    a peaceful setting,
    a dancer’s house.

     

    Anna Miller
    3rd grade

     

    Pretty amazing, huh?

     

    Q
    What tips do you give parents to help their kids with reading and writing?

     

    A
    To promote literacy to children in the home, WITS suggests parents:

    • • Write an ode, a poem dedicated to his/her favorite person, place, or thing,
    • • Design and write a comic book,
    • • Make a family tree and write a funny story about each relative,
    • • Write a letter to the author of a favorite book, and mail it to the publisher,
    • • Set a goal for the number of books your child wants to read in a month,
    • • Keep a list and reward your child after he or she completes it, and
    • • Write the biography of his or her best friend.

     

    Q
    Do you have opportunities for local artists to partner with WITS? If so, what are they?

     

    A
    Yes, WITS invites local visual artists like Nicola Parente and Raul Gonzalez into the classroom to combine art techniques with creative writing. The results are mind blowing! The children develop an aesthetic all their own and learn that writing is fun. We're also collaborating with Camilo Gonzalez at Aurora Picture Show for a digital story project that translates imagery from short stories and poems into images on film. Not only do our kids benefit from the lessons learned, but our writers gain valuable knowledge about the visual arts as well.

     

    Q
    What are WITS plans for the future?

     

    A
    WITS is a leader of the WITS Alliance, a national network of literary organizations offering creative writing residency programs in schools and universities. WITS goal is to strengthen this network and gain more membership. We also plan to continue our partnerships with nonprofit organizations. We're developing a strategic plan to raise more awareness about WITS. All in all, we're working hard to keep our program in the classrooms and other places where creative writing is valued. At a time when arts funding is on the battlefield, so to speak, we are happy to remain a forerunner in arts education. We're grateful to find a fellow advocate in Spacetaker.

     

    To learn more about WITS, check out their Spacetaker profile and website. Many thanks to Jennifer for sharing this great insight into this gem of an organization in our backyard!

     

    XO,
    Team Spacetaker

     

    Cover photo: Sadie Many, a 2nd grade student from the WITS program at Texas Children's Cancer Center, performs her poem, One Around the World. Photo by Yvonne Feece.

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Apr 22, 2011

    Hi Culture365 members and Spacetaker visitors, I’m back with another entry in our Culture 365 Q&A series. This week we are featuring Raul Gonzalez, a Culture365 member and visual artist.  Also earlier this year he was in a group exhibition in the ARC entitled Candy Shop. Raul Gonzalez studied Graphic and Fine Art at Washington University in St. Louis for two years. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Houston. All this information and much more can be found at his website and in his Spacetaker profile.

    Raul shares with us some of his experiences and knowledge in this week’s Culture365 Q & A.

     

    Q 

    How does your culture infuse your artistic work?

    A

    My culture always finds it's way into my artwork, whether intentionally or not.  I am Mexican American, but very American.  I'm kind of upset with myself that Mexican culture wasn't a true part of my upbringing.  I ate Mexican food and my parents spoke Spanish.  That's about it.  As a kid, we didn't go to any cultural events or participate in any Mexican traditions.  As I've gotten older, I'm realizing how important it is to reflect on my roots. 

     

    I know what I know and I translate that into artwork.  Food, music and social problems.  Latin Americans are always in the news - usually in the bad news.  I can definitely relate to that.  Relatives of mine have been victims of gang violence on the Mexican border.  My dad was once an illegal immigrant and at times I've been the victim of racism.  All that effects my artwork.  I don't want that to be my subject, but when it's time to talk about it, I definitely want to be loud about it.

    Q

    You are one of our regular visitors at Spacetaker. I want to know, how did you originally find out about Spacetaker?

    A

    Let's see.  I think I did a search for artist resources in late 2009 or maybe early 2010.  I just know I found the website and then signed up for the newsletter, which has been extremely helpful.  Once I found out I could use the site as a way to promote my work and exhibitions, I totally took advantage of it.  I believe I became more involved after Jenni asked me to be part of ARTernative Festival in Sugar Land.

     

    Q

    What do you hope people gain from viewing your work?

    A

    This answer could get lengthy, but I'll try to keep it simple.  A lot of my work is of ordinary things - people, music, candy, and culture.  I just want people to see the subject matter I use, differently.  For example, my series of construction workers and road signs; it's something we see and deal with every day.  But...how many people take the time to appreciate what these people are doing?  How many people realize that all this "annoying" construction work is providing thousands of people across the country jobs?  I guess that's it.  I just want people to open their eyes a little bit and see the world in a new light.  There are so many things around us that we take for granted.  I'm just putting the things I know on a pedestal and saying..."Hey, look at this."

     

    Q

    If you had the chance to exhibit your work in any part of the world, where would that be?

    A

    I'm going to be completely honest.  I would love a huge solo show in New York City.  It really is the epi-center of the world.  People go to New York to see what's happening, and I think my art is what's happening.  I'd also like to do some solo shows in Europe and China.  Seriously, I want to go global. 

     

    Q

    What are your plans for the future as an artist?

    A

    As I stated in the previous question, I want to show my art around the globe.  I think a lot of people would appreciate what I'm doing and the subject matter I'm depicting.  I would also love to have my own gallery here in Houston, that way I can host other artist’s events as well. 

     

    There are a lot of great artists, both here in Houston and around the world.  It would be pretty cool to show artists I like in my gallery.

    I would also like to continue to teach and mentor kids.  If I have my own gallery, I would seriously do it for free.  I would invite kids once a week for a whole day of art activities.  It would be awesome.

     

    To learn more about, Raul Gonzalez make sure to check out his Spacetaker profile and his website. I want thank Raul for taking time out of his busy schedule and answering my questions. I hope you enjoyed another informative Culture365 Q & A. Have a wonderful day and I hope to see you next week.

     

    Sandra Vasquez

     

    Spacetaker Intern

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Apr 20, 2011

    Hi Culture365 members and Spacetaker visitors, I’m back with another entry in our Culture 365 Q&A series. This week we are featuring Raul Gonzalez, a Culture365 member and visual artist.  Also earlier this year he was in a group exhibition in the ARC entitled Candy Shop. Raul Gonzalez studied Graphic and Fine Art at Washington University in St. Louis for two years. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Houston. All this information and much more can be found at his website and in his Spacetaker profile.

    Raul shares with us some of his experiences and knowledge in this week’s Culture365 Q & A.

     

    Q 

    How does your culture infuse your artistic work?

    A

    My culture always finds it's way into my artwork, whether intentionally or not.  I am Mexican American, but very American.  I'm kind of upset with myself that Mexican culture wasn't a true part of my upbringing.  I ate Mexican food and my parents spoke Spanish.  That's about it.  As a kid, we didn't go to any cultural events or participate in any Mexican traditions.  As I've gotten older, I'm realizing how important it is to reflect on my roots. 

     

    I know what I know and I translate that into artwork.  Food, music and social problems.  Latin Americans are always in the news - usually in the bad news.  I can definitely relate to that.  Relatives of mine have been victims of gang violence on the Mexican border.  My dad was once an illegal immigrant and at times I've been the victim of racism.  All that effects my artwork.  I don't want that to be my subject, but when it's time to talk about it, I definitely want to be loud about it.

    Q

    You are one of our regular visitors at Spacetaker. I want to know, how did you originally find out about Spacetaker?

    A

    Let's see.  I think I did a search for artist resources in late 2009 or maybe early 2010.  I just know I found the website and then signed up for the newsletter, which has been extremely helpful.  Once I found out I could use the site as a way to promote my work and exhibitions, I totally took advantage of it.  I believe I became more involved after Jenni asked me to be part of ARTernative Festival in Sugar Land.


    Q

    What do you hope people gain from viewing your work?

    A

    This answer could get lengthy, but I'll try to keep it simple.  A lot of my work is of ordinary things - people, music, candy, and culture.  I just want people to see the subject matter I use, differently.  For example, my series of construction workers and road signs; it's something we see and deal with every day.  But...how many people take the time to appreciate what these people are doing?  How many people realize that all this "annoying" construction work is providing thousands of people across the country jobs?  I guess that's it.  I just want people to open their eyes a little bit and see the world in a new light.  There are so many things around us that we take for granted.  I'm just putting the things I know on a pedestal and saying..."Hey, look at this."

     

    Q

    If you had the chance to exhibit your work in any part of the world, where would that be?

    A

    I'm going to be completely honest.  I would love a huge solo show in New York City.  It really is the epi-center of the world.  People go to New York to see what's happening, and I think my art is what's happening.  I'd also like to do some solo shows in Europe and China.  Seriously, I want to go global. 

     

    Q

    What are your plans for the future as an artist?

    A

    As I stated in the previous question, I want to show my art around the globe.  I think a lot of people would appreciate what I'm doing and the subject matter I'm depicting.  I would also love to have my own gallery here in Houston, that way I can host other artist’s events as well. 

     

    There are a lot of great artists, both here in Houston and around the world.  It would be pretty cool to show artists I like in my gallery.

    I would also like to continue to teach and mentor kids.  If I have my own gallery, I would seriously do it for free.  I would invite kids once a week for a whole day of art activities.  It would be awesome.

     

    To learn more about, Raul Gonzalez make sure to check out his Spacetaker profile and his website. I want thank Raul for taking time out of his busy schedule and answering my questions. I hope you enjoyed another informative Culture365 Q & A. Have a wonderful day and I hope to see you next week.

     

    Sandra Vasquez

     

    Spacetaker Intern

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Apr 12, 2011

     

    Hi Culture365 members and Spacetaker visitors! This week we are featuring Joshua Smith who, not only is Culture365 member, but also is our next exhibiting artist here at Spacetaker’s ARC Gallery! He will be exhibiting a body of work entitled “Memory Pendingfrom this Saturday, April 16th through Saturday, May 14th.  Join us for a free public opening reception this Saturday, April 16th from 5 – 7 p.m. Joshua Smith, a Houston native, is a painter, photographer, and musician. After spending a number of years focusing on writing, recording, and touring with a Houston instrumental band, Smith graduated with a B.F.A. in Painting from Texas State University. He has shown his work throughout Texas and has collaborated with musicians and independent record labels. Smith spent time in Austin and Dallas before returning to Houston, where he currently lives and works. Visit his website and Spacetaker profile for more information. 

     

    Joshua shares with us some of his experiences and knowledge in this week’s special edition Q & A.

     

    Q

    What is your biggest inspiration as an artist?

    A

    Inspiration can come from just about anywhere. I’m constantly listening to music for one thing. There’s nothing that can get me excited to work quite like a good record. When I paint I listen to a lot of Talking Heads, Steve Reich, Flying Lotus, Bob Dylan, things like that. I like singers that have really visual lyrics. It gives me things to think about in terms of themes or titles for paintings. 

    I’m also a bit of a movie nerd. Before deciding to study art I came really close to applying for film school. Any time I see a film like City of God I feel the need to make something.

     

    Q 

    Describe your artistic process?

     

    A

    The process begins with collecting. I work with an ever-growing archive of found and appropriated images. For the paintings, one of the foremost tools I use is a copy machine. Using a copy machine creates a separation between what I can make an image say and what the original intentions of the picture were. Photocopies allow the image to be resized and stripped of all color, forcing various images to be condensed into one family and eventually into one painting. I’m interested in the idea of using a machine of mass-production to help generate handmade art.

     

    The new work has a different approach. It involves taking a rotary cutter to old photography books, basically destroying them, photographing them, and reconstructing them with tape. It’s given me two new avenues to go down. Once I get a handle on this new way of working I’ll start using the results as the source material for larger paintings.

     

    Q 

    What do you feel is unique about your work that sets it apart?

     

    A

    I place a lot of importance on the narrative in my work. I think what sets my work apart is the place where my thematic interests and the type of imagery I choose to work with meets. There are a lot of very different, very specific elements that go into the work. Once these elements begin to have a successful rhythm together it begins to speak its own language. 



    Q 

    Who or what has been the most influential to your work?

     

    A

    Robert Rauschenberg has always been a hero of mine. When I began working with collage I was definitely trying to emulate his work. It helped me understand the possibilities of the medium. It also appealed to my love for found objects. My parents owned an antique store when I was growing up. We spent every summer traveling the country and would stop in small town antique shops, flea markets, and auction houses. It gave me an eye for the unique. As a kid, I decided I would start collecting things from these places to keep myself entertained. Eventually it led to me collecting photos.

     

    Q 

    Tell us a little bit about your upcoming show here at Spacetaker’s ARC Gallery. What can people expect?

     

    A

    Memory Pending is an exhibition consisting of mixed media paintings, collages, and photography. It is the culmination of five years of work spanning from my undergraduate studies to my most recent work. Having this stretch of time represented shows an interesting development of ideas in terms of both process and narrative. The narrative explores the manipulation of memory and the role that it plays in shaping public and personal histories. 

     

    Q 

    We understand that you’re also plugged into the music scene as a musician. What band(s) are you in?

     

    A 

    I guess the band most people around here would know me from is By the End of Tonight, but it’s been a few years since I played with them. I’ve spent time since recording more than performing. I released a limited edition EP at the end of last year called Still Life Orchestra. Each copy of the EP was completely unique with its own drawings, paintings, prints, and collages. I plan to do similar projects in the future under the name Weather Theft.

     

    Q 

    Does your music influence your work as a visual artist?

     

    A

    Yes, I think it does. I tend to move back and forth between the two depending on what seems to be clicking in the moment. I spend a lot of time every night in the studio so if I’m having a hard time getting into a rhythm with one I’ll give the other a shot.

     

    Q 

    So you’re one of those artists who (gasp) lives OUTSIDE the 610 Loop! Tell us, what’s it like?

     

    A

    It’s a bit isolating in a way. It’s funny to me because it’s only 15 or 20 minutes to the heights from my place, but for friends that live inside the loop I might as well live in another state. Maybe there’s a space-time-continuum I don’t know about. I don’t get very many studio visits, that’s for sure. 

     

    To learn more about Joshua, make sure to visit his website and Spacetaker profile. Also don’t forget to come to the opening reception this Saturday, April 16th from 5 -7 p.m. where you can see his work and meet him in person. Have a great day!

     

     

     

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Mar 30, 2011

     

     

    I’m back with another entry in our Culture365 Q & A series. This week we are featuring multi-disciplinary artist Vincent Fink. He is a graphic artist, web designer, and singer songwriter. He also has experience in screen-printing. Currently, he is focusing his attention on being a T-shirt artist/designer and singer. All of this information and much more can be found on his website

     

     

    Vincent Fink shares with us some of his experiences and knowledge in this week’s Culture365 Q & A.

     

    Q

    What inspired you to be a T-shirt artist?

     

    A 

    T-shirts speak to me like no other medium of art for its higher sense of representation. You wear it to death, when you really love it, and everyone sees it wherever you go. It can be a message to the world about who you are. I fell into t-shirt design, but I immediately knew this was something I would never stop doing. I found myself looking at the t-shirt as a whole new medium to explore. Also, around the same time, clothing design in general was becoming more of a fine art with the popularization of the all-over prints and more complex design work.

     

    Q

    What do you feel when you see people wearing your designs?

     

    A 

    When I see someone who has continuously worn one, wash after wash, and the print is still looking good, and it's still one of their favorites that's probably the one of the best feelings ever.

     

    Q

    Do you have any famous designers that you would like to work with?


    A 

    I find myself in line with a lot of what Austin Pardun is up to lately.

     

    Q

    Other than wearable art, what other mediums do you enjoy working with?

     

    A 

    I'm big into my acrylic paintings lately, but I am also continuing on the next stage of the Atlas Metamorphosis. It started with an illustration known as “Lord Worm” which came to me in a dream I awoke from in 2010. So I enjoy the dream medium too, you could say. Also I consider my songwriting an extension of my art and will be releasing a CD this year. 

     

     

     

     

    Q

    Why do you think art is important in today’s society?


    A 

    Art is always important and relevant, but as for today's society, people really appreciate it because it is one of the best ways we can freely express our ideas, emotions, and also our reasoning. We're coming to a point in time, the telescoping of time, if you will, where things seem to be speeding up. The world, and our country are changing rapidly. Information is at our fingertips, but misinformation is as well. We're adapting, we're becoming. We smile at death. Mankind as a whole changes his view of the world. We are creating the next paradigm shift. Art reminds us that one person can make a difference in many people through the exchange of energy, and find common ground where divisions once stood. Creativity shapes our world everyday for better or worse.

     

    Q

    What do you wish to accomplish in the future as an artist?


    A 

    As far as t-shirt designs, that's still my #1, as I have recently begun co-owning a design company called .506 to better serve our freelance customers. I used to only offer design work, but now, we can handle the full process of designing, ordering, printing, shipping, everything. We also are hoping to do well with the 1st Point 506 clothing line possibly launching by the end of the year.

     

    With so many ideas, projects and outlets I sometimes feel overwhelmed. I hope to continue growing as a painter and musician as well.

     

    I want to keep pushing my designs and ideas as far out into the cosmos as possible, my mind expands as for the universe will go.

     

     

     

    To learn more about, Vincent Fink make sure to check out his Spacetaker profile and his website. I want thank Vincent for taking time out of his busy schedule and answering my questions. I hope you enjoyed another informative Culture365 Q & A. Have a wonderful day and I hope you're enjoying the nice cool weather we’re having today.

     

    Sandra Vasquez

     

    Spacetaker Intern

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Mar 22, 2011

     

    Hi Culture 365 members and Spacetaker visitors. Today Spacetaker has the honor of presenting a special edition Q & A with this spring’s Bayou City Art Festival featured artist Dolan Geiman. The Bayou City Art Festival has selected Virginia-based artist Dolan Geiman as the Featured Artist for the 40th Annual Capital One Bank Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park, which takes place March 25 – 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Geiman is a nationally recognized mixed media artist creating original paintings, collages, constructions, and limited-edition reproductions. Produced from salvaged wood, found objects, and other recycled materials, Geiman’s eco-friendly artwork emerges from a folk art tradition infused with a contemporary, urban style. Popular and recurring motifs in Geiman’s artwork include birds, woodland creatures, music, and Americana, creating an artwork that introduces a modern aesthetic while remaining true to its rustic roots. All this information and much more can be found on the Bayou City Art Festival website.

     

    Geiman shares with us some of his experiences and knowledge in this week’s special edition Q & A. 

     

    Q

    You’ve said before that you aren’t a folk artist, but an “American Ruralist.”  What do you mean by that characterization?

     

     

    A

    The American Ruralist is a moniker I use when people try to pigeonhole me and slap an art world term on me. I disbelieve the idea of the folk artist, someone who is mentally incapacitated and stuck in a cabin in the woods, removed from society and drunk on moonshine. While this creates a sensationalized vision of an Appalachian mountain man who might make some art, its place is lost in today’s technologically choked society. So, if labels must be used, as descriptors only, I prefer the term ruralist. A ruralist is someone who has roots in rural America, which are strong, and deep and who often tap into those roots for inspiration and guidance, such as one might consult the Bible.  

     

    Q

    Approximately 90% of materials used to create your original pieces are recycled and/or obtained from materials destined for a landfill, how did you come across this artistic process?

     

    A

    First it was a necessity and then by choice. When I was growing up the stuff that we were allowed to play with was all the discarded wood, old tractor parts, and yard trash. So I developed an affinity for these objects and came to be familiar with their ways and whereabouts, i.e. if I wanted an old tire to make a rope swing, I knew I could look at the old machine shop. If I wanted a pile of horseshoes for sculpture, I could go out to the barn and dig in the back of the stalls.  I compare this type of collecting to someone shopping with coupons. You prepare yourself with practice and train your eye to look for the deal, or in my case, the discarded.

     

    Q

    Have you received professional training for this method?

     

    A

    The best training I received was from my mother. She would point out various forms and colors in nature and make sure I examined them in detail.  It was from her that I learned the true color of shadows. If you want to be a great artist, do not expect to find yourself by attending college. Learn to examine yourself and rely on your own creativity and be aggressive in your creative desires. 

     

     

    Q

    If you have a creative block, what would you say inspires you most?

     

    A

    As the great writer Edward Abbey once said, “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.”  Any time spent in the wildest of places brings me back to myself and any blocks I have creatively will surely be crushed to sand after a few days away from a cell phone.

     

    Q

    You are very involved in the art festival community around the country, why do you prefer to show your work at festivals as opposed to galleries?

     

    A

    Galleries do one thing that I find disagreeable: they alienate a large portion of their audience just by being galleries. I never visited a gallery until I was 21 and even then I thought it was awkward and sterile. Call me old fashioned but I like to talk to real people and shake someone’s hand and actually meet the person who is buying my work. And it’s nice to be outside.

     

    Q

    You are the featured artist this weekend at Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park.  What are you looking forward to most?

     

    A

    I am looking forward to being in that beautiful park and knowing I can relax and just do my job, which is selling art to happy people. This show is organized and professional and I know I can just show up and get in my groove and not have to worry about a thing.

     

    Q

    What can festivalgoer’s expect from your art at this year’s Bayou City Art Festival?

     

     

    A

    I’ve been working like a mad scientist for months trying to turn all of these ideas in my head into real art pieces. I have a veritable platter full of fresh artwork that no one else has seen yet this year. Since this is our first show of the season, a lot of these pieces will be debuting at this show. I’ve been working with new themes this year, moving into the realm of nature more deeply, and also trying to have a more diverse range of sizes for folks. So, really, I have a ton of great new stuff just for this show and I think people will just have to come check it out and let me know what they think. 

     

     

     

     

    To learn more about Dolan Geiman, make sure to check out his website. I want to thank Dolan for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions. And thank you for reading. Don’t forget to go to the upcoming Bayou City Art Festival, which takes place March 25 – 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. See you next week. 

     

     

     

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Mar 10, 2011

    I’m back with another entry in our Culture365 Q & A series. This week we are featuring singer and theater artist Misha Penton and Culture365 artist member. Soprano Misha Penton's diverse performing career includes opera and multidisciplinary performance projects. Most recently, she sang the principal role in Divergence Vocal Theater’s world premier opera, Selkie, a sea tale, composed by Elliot Cole;, and the role of Leah in Ofer Ben-Amots' contemporary multimedia chamber opera, The Dybbuk, presented by the Jewish Community Center Houston's Maurice Adamo Music Foundation Residency. She has also created the roles of Isabelle and Brooklyn in the world premieres of The Masque by Roger Keele for Lone Star Lyric Theater Festival and James Norman’s opera Wake… with Opera Vista; and Marguerite in Norman's Incline, O Maiden, a monodrama for soprano and chamber ensemble, with Audio Inversions, a new music ensemble in Austin, Texas. Misha is the founder, artistic director, and ensemble lead artist of Divergence Vocal Theater, a Houston-based opera and multidisciplinary performing arts company. In 2008-09 she sang Ottavia in Divergence Vocal Theater’s The Ottavia Project, Sapho in The 10th Muse, and was a featured soloist in Autumn Spectre, a multimedia evening of staged arts songs, piano works, and dance. The most recent Divergence Vocal Theater project was the world premier of Selkie, a sea tale, composed by Elliot Cole, a setting of Misha’s libretto. Upcoming projects include Selkie, a sea tale, performances in Austin, Texas in May 2011; and Klytemnestra, with composer Dominick DiOrio, another collaborative musical setting of Misha’s words, premiering in Spring 2011. All this information and much more can be found on Misha Penton's Spacetaker profile.

     

    Misha shares with us some of her experiences and knowledge in this week’s Culture365 Q & A.

     

    Q (Photo by Kerry Beyer)

    Who introduced you to opera and at what age? 

     

    A

    I grew up involved in music and dance from a young age and over time I naturally gravitated toward opera. I'm specifically drawn to dramatic expressions in music-theater. 

     

    Q

    What is your favorite opera and why?

     

    A

    Mmmm... I'm not sure I have a favorite opera! When I think of opera, I think of music-theater in a very broad sense, and of performance that is operatic in spirit -- this can manifest as very traditional or very experiential work. I'm drawn to the music of some composers over others and drawn to the work of certain opera and theater directors. Opera is very much a multidisciplinary art, so there are many disciplines that converge to create the work. In a glimpse: I love Puccini, French grand opera, baroque opera, the work of Meredith Monk, Phillip Glass, Diamanda Galas, Robert Fripp and Robert Wilson. My very favorite work is collaborating with composers. I've worked directly with James D. Norman, Dominick DiOrio and Elliot Cole, creating settings of my words that I've subsequently performed and brought to fruition as collaborative performance works.


    Q

    What do you wish to accomplish when performing in front of an audience?

     

    A

    I'm interested in the intersection between the arts and community building.  By inventively presenting classical music, over time I'm seeing the fruits of what is possible: each performance creates the circumstances for an ever-widening group of people to get to know each other.

     

    Q

    What is your biggest accomplishment to date?

     

    A

    I'm all about the process of creating work and sharing that experience with others. I'm very excited about where I am as an artist and where Divergence Vocal Theater is, right now. Continuing to collaborate with composers and other music and performing artists on the creation of new work is what is most exciting to me. I'm also thrilled that Divergence Vocal Theater will have a new home for performance at Spring Street Studios: Divergence Music & Arts.

    Q

    What future projects are you looking forward to?

     

    A

    The Divergence Vocal Theater spring production is a collaborative work with composer Dominick DiOrio. It is based on the Greek heroine, Klytemnestra, and is a setting of my words. I'm singing in the work and the piece is also includes actress Miranda Herbert, dancer and choreographer Meg Brooker, violist Meredith Harris and pianist Kyle Evans. Serret Jensen and Sarah Mosher are creating wigs and costumes, respectively, and Frank Vela is the lighting artist. The work is inspired by Dr. John Harvey's new translation of Aeschylus' Agamemnon, at the University of Houston Honors College. John asked me to portray Klytemnestra in the play and that was the genesis of the Klytemnestra opera project.

     

    To learn more about Misha Penton, make sure to check out her Spacetaker profile and for more information on Divergence Vocal Theater click here. I want thank Misha for taking time out of her busy schedule and answering my questions. And thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. See you next week for another informative Culture365 Q & A. Best of luck in your life endeavors.

     

    Sandra
 

     

    Spacetaker Intern

     

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Mar 3, 2011

    I’m back with another entry in our Culture365 Q & A series. This week we are featuring artist Y. E. Torres (ms. YET), who is not only a Culture 365 member, but also Spacetaker artist advisory board member. She is a multi-disciplinary artist of the following flavors: visual art, dance, costume design, photography, curation and collaboration on a wide range of projects. Torres received a BFA in Drawing & Painting and a BFA in Fashion Design from the University of North Texas. She has exhibited her work at museums and galleries that include Diaspora Vibe Gallery in Miami, Contemporary Art Association in Chicago, Art House Gallery in Atlanta, and Lawndale Art Center in Houston. Torres has curated performances at Avant Garden in Houston and has worked on arts-related projects as a studio assistant to William Betts and as an artist’s model for Dick Wray, Ben Tecumseh DeSoto, Traci Matlock, Ashley MacLean, and Dr. Sketchy Houston. All this information and much more can be found in Y. E. Torres Spacetaker profile. 

     

    ms. YET shares with us some of her experiences and knowledge in this week’s Culture365 Q & A.

     

    Q

    You’re a visual artist, dancer, costume designer, photographer, curator and collaborator on a wide range of projects; what do you enjoy doing the most?  

     


    (ms. YET)

    A

    Because I am multi-disciplinary, I typically 'most enjoy' whatever it is I am working on at the moment! Right now that is my belly dance/guitar duo (ms. Sandy & ms. YET), performing to Bluegrass & Gypsy/Carnie fascinations with Hilary Sloan and Jo Bird (the most amazing fiddle players around!) and working through new collages from the eye-candy delectably series. I also favor the film and photography work I've done alongside Chris Nelson (Nelson Creative) and Jonathan Jindra (Binarium Productions). I also REALLY enjoy teaching my weekly belly dance classes at YogaOne Studios and Del Espadin Flamenco & Spanish Dance Academy (Soraya's School of Belly Dance).  


    Q 

    You’re also a Spacetaker artist advisory board member. What are your responsibilities as a Spacetaker artist board member and what has your experience been like so far?

    (Image: eye-candy delectably - Y. E. Torres (in collaboration with Raghu Knagala), 2010)


     

    A

    My responsibilities as a ST AAB member are: helping to curate WHAM as well as the Spacetaker ARC, helping to select artists for the SPEAKeasy programming, promoting the Spacetaker Artist Registry, events and overall community. I have also helped to gently mentor two artists in respect to showing their artwork via Spacetaker's events. I have been an AAB member since it's inception, which was over a year ago. The experience has been extremely rewarding and absolutely FUN!

     

    Q 

    What do you believe the body can communicate through dance? 

     

    A

    I believe the body can communicate emotion as well as physical strength through dance - regardless of the dance being narrative and/or an improvisation. For me, I am constantly investigating creating life out of line so my dance/movement consistently expresses intense emotion, shape and line quality and extended techniques.

     

    Q

    What infuses your belly dancing techniques? 

     

    (ms. Sandy & ms. YET at NMASS, 2010)

    A

    My bellydance/movement technique is a merging of Oriental dance, Yoga posturing, extended muscle isolations and layering, and improvisation alongside a performance art, sideshow and burlesque aesthetic. I consider myself to be a musician whose body is her instrument.

     

    Q

    What does your future as an artist look like? 

    slither - Torres/Jindra Frame Grab from honeyEcstacy, 2010 

    (slither - Torres/Jindra Frame Grab from honeyEcstacy, 2010) 

    A

    My future as an artist looks purple and pink alongside the word honeyECSTACY. Currently my work is influenced by collaborations - be it alongside musicians, filmmakers, photographers or regurgitating old drawings and paintings into new ones. Because I am multi-disciplinary I intend to continue to engage in the opportunities that allow me to investigate and display my unique collaborations.  

     

     

     

    To learn more about Y. E. Torres, make sure to check out her Spacetaker profile. I want thank Y. E. Torres for taking time out of her busy schedule and answering my questions. And thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. See you next week for another informative Culture365 Q & A. Best of luck in your life endeavors.

     

    Sandra
 

     

    Spacetaker Intern

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Mar 1, 2011

    There’s a new trend in fund raising and Houston’s jumping on board. It’s called crowd funding. Ever heard of it? If not, it’s about time you learned.

     

    If you missed it last week, Spacetaker’s Executive Director Jenni Rebecca Stephenson updated her Heavy Artillery blog on Chron.com with an enlightening post about crowd funding and how it is invaluable for the arts. Here’s a snippet:

     

    Why I think crowd funding is invaluable for the arts:
    •    Every little bit helps. How often do you think twice about making a $10 donation because you doubt it's useful? Chances are, plenty. But whether one person gives $100 or ten people donate $10, it adds up.
    •    It allows artists to take matters into their own hands. They don't have to wait for institutional gate-keepers to anoint them with funding. They can go directly to their friends, fans, patrons, etc. to seek support their projects.
    •    Crowd-funding platforms like IndieGoGo work in tandem with other entities like Fractured Atlas to provide fiscal sponsorship of artist-driven projects. What does that mean? Simply put, it means artists don't have to divert their attention away from their art to obtaining official nonprofit status to apply to various funding sources.  Instead, Fractured Atlas provides a nonprofit umbrella for the project with financial oversight... and you get a tax-deduction when you donate. Win, win all the way around, right?
    •    Crowd funding provides a forum for democratic support of good work. Interesting work is more likely to get noticed and funded. And this doesn't equate to commercial! Take a test drive around IndieGoGo and you'll notice that the projects run the gamut from the commercially viable to completely bizarre.
    •    Less potential for waste: Rocco Landsmen (NEA Chairman) put his foot in his mouth when he suggested the exponential increase of arts nonprofits seems inappropriate given the waning demand. But he's not wrong about this. Fiscal sponsorship and crowd funding address this issue. 
    •    It utilizes some of the same practices that are revolutionizing the way art is being consumed these days. Take our friends, Pamplamoose, for instance. The Houston Press wrote a great piece about how they've bucked the system, gone viral, and made a name for themselves. Their videos and covers aren't so different than what you see on some IndieGoGo campaigns. If not selling tracks on iTunes, tying a viral video to a fundraising campaign could generate a great of capital if one gets lucky. Alternately, fiscal sponsorship has funded projects on the scale of the critically acclaimed movie, Boys Don't Cry (care of the New York Foundation for the Arts' fiscal sponsorship program). Moral of the story: these tools work!

     

    Nancy Wozny also wrote a great piece for CultureMap that explores several types of crowd funding platforms and highlights a few folks in Houston that have raised funds through these different platforms. Featured is beloved Houston ensemble Two Star Symphony which is currently on its last few days of its first campaign on IndieGoGo.

     

    We want to highlight two Texas-based campaigns that have done an excellent job in promoting their campaign creatively and raising the funds to accomplish their goals:

     

    Big Boy feature film has four days left in their campaign and they’ve already met their fundraising goal.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Two Star Symphony has 18 days (and counting) left of their campaign to raise funds to pay for a recording of their original score of Titus Andronicus that they performed with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater. They are more than halfway to their goal!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    And last but not least, Spacetaker is hosting a FREE Info Session on Fiscal Sponsorship & Crowdfunding on Thursday, March 10th at our Artist Resource Center (ARC). We're bringing down Dianne Debicella of Fractured Atlas (NYC) and Danae Ringelmann of IndieGoGo (San Francisco) to Houston to talk to about how Houston’s artists and arts organizations can best utilize the fiscal sponsorship and crowd funding platforms offered by IndieGoGo and Fractured Atlas.

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Feb 24, 2011

    Hi Culture 365 Members and Spacetaker visitors,

     

    I’m back with another entry in our Culture365 Q & A series. This week we are featuring artist J E Theriot who is not only a Culture 365 artist but also will be exhibiting his work in “The Poo-tail Collection” at Spacetaker’s ARC Gallery from this Saturday, February 26th through March 19th. The opening reception will be this Saturday, February 26th from 5 – 7 p.m. J E Theriot is not only an artist, but he is also a neurologist, writer, and a lecturer on topics in brain hygiene and mind science.

     

    As a writer, he is interested in the brain, language, art and religion and in the intersection of these overlapping realms; in short, the philosophy of the human experience.

     

    As an artist, he is not bound to any particular medium; rather, he develops thoughts and ideas until they surface in the most appropriate and illuminating manner.

     

    As a physician, he does his best to be genuinely helpful to his patients. He says, “I am also observing them and learning how brains work. Sometimes when I am typing up my patient notes, I forget they are chores. The subject matter is so stimulating.” On Thursdays, he teaches a group called Peaceful Habits to patients and staff, injured and uninjured alike. Using the structure of a Taoist tea ceremony, he serves tea, dialogues and instructs.

     

    Ultimately, he says, there is little separation between the physician, artist, and writer. For him, ennobling the soul, exploring the imagination and communicating the experience of that journey are cut from the same cloth. All of this information and much more can be found in J E Theriot’s Spacetaker profile.

     

    J E Theriot shares with us some of his experiences and knowledge in this week’s Culture365 Q & A.

    (Photo to the right: J E Theriot in full cowboy getup, photo by Tim Frederick)

     

    How has your knowledge of neurology influenced your artwork? 

    I treat people with severe brain injury, people who are only able to count to five, people who can’t remember from one minute to the next, people whose words sound like nonsense when they speak, people who cannot swallow.  I guess I would say that being exposed to such profound disability makes me extremely mindful of how fragile and wonderful life is. My artwork is a way of celebrating and honoring life.

    I understand that this the first time you have ever shown the work that will be exhibited in The Poo-tail Collection exhibition. What are you most excited about? 

    Last year, I collected some of my photographs together for a portfolio review. I designed this little wooden box to hold some of my smaller prints and when I presented it to the reviewers, they were much more interested in the box than the prints that were in the box. So I took a break from photography and started to explore other media. What I came to discover was that I had been trying to be a photographer when what I really wanted to be was an artist. It was a very freeing experience for me. It felt like a door opening. I began to experiment with sewing and sculpture and street art and video and performance art. I started riding my bike around town with an audio recorder instead of a camera, letting my ears instead of my eyes lead the way. I started painting again. So what I’m most excited about with this collection is the range of materials I work with – wood, yarn, watercolor, limestone, acrylic, and velvet, paper. I even designed a cowboy costume based on an old Butterick pattern I found in my mom’s sewing room.

    The Poo-tail Collection exhibition inspiration came from a drawing you did as a child; what is your fondest childhood memory? 

    I remember sitting on the foldout seats in the back of our big yellow station wagon as we drove on the levee. There were two big humps in the road we would always wait for. We would scream as we drove over them. During the spring, when the buttercups were in bloom, we would stop the car, get out and run through the buttercups. They go by different names – pink evening primrose and showy primrose, we called them buttercups. They’re basically weeds, but I look forward to them returning each spring. In fact, they should be blooming in two or three weeks. For me they represent the innocence of childhood.

    What inspires you as an artist?

    Everything is a source of inspiration. I truly believe that the world is a magical place. I particularly love reclaiming discarded things. In January, I found a headless rocking horse at the bottom of a heap of trash, dusted it off and hung it from the ceiling with some origami butterflies. Taking something that has been thrown away and breathing new life into it – for me, that is the highest beauty.


    What do your future plans as an artist look like? 

    I recently did two large stencil paintings of a pointing finger, one on my dad’s tractor shed in Louisiana, another one on a friend’s garage at the corner of Montrose and Gray in Houston…I have plans to do another one in England this summer. I’m interested in doing some documentary work on brain injury. I’d also like to turn some of the lectures I do into short films. I’m working on a few writing projects. I want to stretch myself in as many directions as possible. 


    To learn more about J E Theriot, make sure to check out his Spacetaker profile and his blog. I want thank J E Theriot for taking time out of his busy schedule and answering my questions. And thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. See you next week for another informative Culture365 Q & A. Best of luck in your life endeavors.

     

    Sandra
     
    Spacetaker Intern

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Feb 16, 2011

    Hi Culture 365 Members and Spacetaker visitors,

     

    I’m back with another entry in our Culture365 Q & A series. This week we are featuring one of Spacetaker’s Culture 365 Non-profit members, the Aurora Picture Show. Associate Director Rachel Blackney Tepper was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions.

     

    Aurora Picture Show is a non-profit micro-cinema that presents artist-made, non-commercial film and video. Founded in 1998 by Andrea Grover, the first home for Aurora was in a former church building where Grover and her family both lived and worked in the microcinema. Now the home base for Aurora Picture Show is located near The Menil Collection and houses the Aurora Video Library and Aurora Video Salons. Since 2009, Aurora screenings and events have been nomadic and travel all over the City of Houston in unique settings and alternative art spaces. Aurora has distinguished itself as a home for vanguard work that falls outside of conventional moviemaking and traditionally has fewer exhibition outlets. Their screenings are known for being memorable and not-to-be-missed as they are not often repeated and are difficult to duplicate. All this information and much more can be found at the Aurora Picture Show website.

     

    Rachel shares with us what the Aurora Picture Show is all about in this week’s Culture365 Q & A: 

     

    What is the Aurora Picture Show’s mission?                

     

    Aurora Picture Show is a non-profit micro-cinema that presents artist-made, non-commercial film and video.  Aurora is dedicated to expanding the cinematic experience and promoting the understanding and appreciation of moving image art.

     

    What significant opportunities does the city of Houston bring to Aurora Picture Show?

     

    Being located in Houston, Aurora is able to work in a great community with an exceptional diversity of organizations and audiences that support our organization.  From partnerships with arts organizations, such as DiverseWorks and The Menil Collection, to community organizations such as Buffalo Bayou Partnership and the Houston Humane Society, Aurora collaborates with a great a variety of partners that not only enhance our programming, but also add to the audience that we reach.  Furthermore, Houston is a unique city to host site-specific screenings including along the bayou or at Houston institutions such as Saint Arnold Brewery.  Plus the people of Houston are extremely welcoming and open to our non-traditional ways, from experimental films to laser light graffiti shows; our audiences embrace the creative freedom of our programming.

     

    How can Houston artists (directors, curators, actors, designers, etc.) get involved with Aurora Picture Show?

     

    For filmmakers and media artists, Aurora Picture Show offers a home for exhibition of films that do not traditionally have as many outlets, including short-length films, documentaries and experimental works.  Filmmakers are invited to submit their works to Aurora Picture Show that fit our mission of supporting works with less exhibition outlets (please check the website www.aurorapictureshow.org for guidelines and applications).  Aurora has year-round submissions to be included in themed screening programs and also accept Extremely Shorts Film Festival entries (film and video shorts under three minutes long), as well as have opportunities to be included in our installation space, Flickerlounge, hosted at DiverseWorks Art Space.  Furthermore, Aurora hosts many educational events such as monthly video salons, filmmaker Q&As, and youth filmmaking initiatives for future artists.

     

    Aurora is committed to paying artist fees for screenings to encourage and support these often under-paid media and film artists, and we are committed to keeping submissions and entry fees accessible. Furthermore, we are dedicated to promotion of these artists and assisting them in getting their works shown.

     

    Members of Aurora Picture Show have other opportunities, including reduced submission fees, networking with visiting filmmakers and curators, feedback from industry professionals and other industry-oriented gatherings that help working and aspiring artists further their craft.  We also highlight members in our online Curator's Corner to introduce emerging artists to our patrons.

     

    Additionally, through the Warhol Foundation Initiative, Aurora Picture Show, DiverseWorks and Project Row Houses have come together to support art at its source by providing direct grants to artists through The Idea Fund.  Please visit www.theideafund.org for details on how to apply.

     

    Can people buy videos shown at Aurora Picture Show screenings?

     

    Aurora has a DVD label which includes several artists that are representative of our mission, including Eileen Maxson and Enid Baxter Blader among others, but we do not have the rights to sell videos of the works we have commissioned for screening events.  It is part of our mission to pay our artists, and we only pay a fee for a one-time screening. However, with the permission of the artist, Aurora sometimes has a copy of the program available in our non-circulating library. The videos can be viewed in our office for educational purposes.

     

    What educational opportunities does Aurora Picture Show offer?   

     

    Aurora offers several community education and outreach activities, including Video Salons, Popcorn Kids screenings, our Video Library and other community events.

     

    The Aurora Video Library is an educational tool for all area schools from elementary to university level. If you have a school that would like to visit, please contact us at 713.868.2101.

     

    Our Popcorn Kids series of programming, which includes our summer filmmaking boot camps, are geared toward youth but are also accessible to all ages. This series encourages Media Literacy from a young age and stimulates parent/child interaction.

     

    Aurora also presents video salons and workshops related to media literacy, filmmaking and grant writing to increase media arts appreciation in the community. These include lunch hour education series and occasional Happy Hour Video Hours. If you are interested in attending, please become a member and get early notification or join our newsletter for general notification.

     

    As a reward for our members, we host Members Meet Maker events, which allow our special members to interact and learn from artists and filmmakers that come to Aurora for screenings.

     

    Our internship program also allows us to interact and engage future arts leaders in the community. The Aurora internship program helps university students and aspiring film/art professionals gain hands-on experience to help foster their future careers.

     

    What does Aurora Picture Show’s future look like?

    While we continue to strive to maintain our mission and our unique programs that travel all over the city, Aurora is also researching ways to grow our facilities to be able to have a special homebase for some of our programs, including film screenings and education initiatives.  Aurora also looks forward to taking our programs on the road and introducing video art and artist-made works to communities across Houston, including more under-served and low-income areas.


    To learn more about Aurora Picture Show make sure you check out their website and their Spacetaker Profile.  I want to thank Rachel Blackney Tepper for answering my questions. And thank you for reading; see you next week for another informative Culture365 Q & A. Best of luck in your life endeavors.

     

    Sandra


    Spacetaker Intern  

     

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  • Posted on: Feb 8, 2011

    Hi Culture 365 Members and Spacetaker visitors, 

     

    My name is Sandra, and I’m currently the intern at the Spacetaker headquarters. I’m happy to announce the launch of our new Artist Q & A.  The Q & A, will feature Culture 365 members, which include artists, non-profit organizations, and businesses. Join me in this new adventure. Make sure to check your email--you just might be chosen for the next Artist Q & A.  

     

    This week, meet Felix Sanchez.

    Felix Sanchez is an award winning photographer, and won several Art Directors Club and Addy awards dating back to 1996. He most recently received the 2009 Gold Addy for his personal work in Brazil. 

    He first took interest in photography in college when his friend loaned him a 35mm camera in the mid 1980s. During this time, music was his passion and he was a songwriter and keyboard player in a Latin Group. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that he began pursuing his photography interests again by taking on photo assignments in the music industry. He began shooting musicians for promotional materials and publications and soon his talents were noticed. Around this time he began assisting advertising and editorial photographers. By 1994, Sanchez was booking his own major clients.brazil beach

    He’s a Texas native and world traveler, pressuring his love for photography. His work is very diverse, from boxers in the slums of Brazil to lifestyle assignments for Wal-Mart ads. But regardless of the job’s scale, Sanchez’s approach is always the same: it’s about listening to clients. He turns each unique concept into a customized project plan, exploring everything from subjects and locations to lighting.  All this information and much more can be found at his website.  

    Felix shares with us some of his experiences and knowledge in the Artist Q & A. 

     

    beach2What do you like most about photography? 

    Photography, has enabled me to make a living at something I’m truly passionate about. Creative freedom and the interesting and talented people I get to meet and work with are all benefits of doing what I do.

     

    What style of photography would you consider your style? 

    I don’t really think I have a defined style. I’m influenced by so much and I feel having a defined style can be limiting. I enjoy shooting in natural light off the hip and I find it challenging to conceptualize an image with layers of retouching. I’m constantly exploring new techniques and styles.

     

    What did you learn from your experience in Brazil? 

    I learned a lot about the people and the culture. But, I also realized how important it is as a photographer to have personal projects. This was a 14-day shoot in Rio de Janeiro where I arranged a producer, driver, and assistant and created my own shot list based on my interests. It taught me how important it is to take personal work as serious as I do assignments.beach2same

     

    What advantages have you had as a photographer living in Houston?

    Living in a city this large has many advantages for photographers. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the nations largest corporations and advertising agencies that are based here. 

     

    What motivated to open your own gallery? 

    I was given the idea from someone that is very influential in the art community. Also, my studio layout seems to work very well as a gallery space.

    brazil model

    What are your future plans as a photographer? 

    To be honest, in this economy, my plans are first of all to survive as a business. Creatively, I would like to make the move to fine art with my personal work. 

     

    For more information on Felix, be sure to check his website and Spacetaker Profile.

     

    I want to thank Felix for taking the time out his busy schedule to answer my questions. Also thank you for reading, I hope it was informative yet enjoyable. Until we meet again, best of luck.

     

    Sandra

     

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  • Posted on: Jan 6, 2011

    Although a native Houstonian, fine art photographer Stephanie Anne Clark just recently moved back to Texas after spending three years in Rochester, NY where she received her Masters of Fine Arts in Imaging Arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology. While in Rochester, Clark began her series The Specter of Nature, a selection of work comprised of photographs, decorative materials, and digital media to create hybrid images that move beyond the photograph. The whimsical nature of Clark’s images is a result of a playful layering of topics such as visual culture, storytelling, religion, feminism, and psychology. Using light and shadow as symbols of hope and potential, she creates spaces where figures and forms merge and emerge; much like the human experience where the known and the unknown, the real and the unreal, are investigated within the murky depths of the subconscious.

     

    The Specter of Nature series will make its first appearance here in Houston at Spacetaker’s ARC Gallery before it moves to the Fort Worth Community Arts Center in late 2011.

     

    ST: What is your biggest inspiration as an artist?
    SAC: What inspires me the most is really believing that life is a magical experience, the more I embrace this belief, the more I see this construct of ‘magic’ transcribed on the materials produced within our culture.

     

    ST: Describe your artistic process.
    SAC: My process is one of manual manipulation, where I begin investigating materials in a physical manner by cutting and placing them in relation to one another with the hope of discovering something new. The other half of my process is the technical side of my imagery. During this aspect of my process, I spend time using light to create unexpected silhouettes and expose characteristics of the materials. Technically, I also focus on creating prints that push and pull at the idea of the photographic image, working on the subtle detailing of the shadows and the vibrant colors of the highlights to create images that reference a sort of theatrical illustration.

     

    ST: Who or what has been the most influential to your work?
    SAC: I’d say as a young artist, one of the most influential experiences I had during my artistic development was discovering Louise Nevelson through a documentary presented during class. At the time, I was astonished by her strength of presence and her stubborn attitude. In addition, her work introduced me to the transformative nature of art making. There have been numerous influences since, but that particular moment of discovery is still pivotal.

     

    ST: What’s your favorite part of being an artist in Houston?
    SAC: My favorite part about being an artist in Houston has been the great support I’ve received from the artistic community during my time working here. I’ve always felt welcomed and encouraged to continue producing artwork. Driving down Main St., one can easily see how versatile Houston’s art scene is and how the city itself has embraced the full spectrum of creative forms.

     

    Stephanie Anne Clark’s series of work, The Specter of Nature will be on exhibition January 1 – 29 at Spacetaker’s ARC Gallery located at Winter Street Studios (2101 Winter St). Opening Reception on Saturday, January 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. Free. For more information about the artist, visit www.stephanieanneclark.com.

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  • Posted on: Jan 5, 2011

     

    BIG NEWS for Houston artists!  Spacetaker has secured a partnership with Fractured Atlas via their Open Arts Network so that all of our Culture 365 members have automatic access to Fractured Atlas Associate Member benefits, which includes low-cost and reliable health insurance!

     

    As far as we know, SWAMP is the only other organization in Houston that is also part of the Open Arts Network.

     

    These benefits pertain to both individual artists and members/artists of arts nonprofit Culture 365 members.

     

    Here's our "official" announcement sent to the press:

     

    Spacetaker is thrilled to announce that it has joined the Open Arts Network, formalizing a partnership with Fractured Atlas, a national arts services organization based in New York City.  The Open Arts Network is an initiative, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, which allows organizations across the country access to a variety of programs and services provided by Fractured Atlas.  With its inclusion in the Open Arts Network, Spacetaker will now be able to offer its Culture 365 Membership the automatic benefit of becoming an Associate Member of Fractured Atlas free of charge.

     

    The benefits of being a Fractured Atlas Associate Member include access to low-cost liability and health insurance, as well as access to Fractured Atlas’s online courses, calendar of events, special offers, and discounts.  Since affordable insurance has long been listed as a top priority for independent artists, this partnership is a critical step forward in addressing this need for Houston’s creative community. 

     

    Fractured Atlas, one of the nation’s fastest growing arts service organizations, helps artists and arts organizations across the country function more effectively as businesses by providing access to funding, healthcare, education, and more. Similarly, Spacetaker has increasingly become a resource in Houston, which provides artists and non-profits access to economic development, continuing education, and networking opportunities to support their professional growth.

     

    Individual Artist Culture 365 Membership is only $50 annually. Non Profit Culture 365 Membership is $250 annually. To learn more about becoming a Spacetaker Culture 365 Member, visit our Culture 365 web page.

     

    ###

     

    BRING IT ON, HOUSTON ARTISTS!!!  Please leave your comments, questions, or concerns here or shoot us a personal note at info[at]spacetaker.org.

     

     

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  • Posted on: Jan 4, 2011

    Since about midway through 2010, we have been presenting work by Houston artists in an exhibition series in our Artist Resource Center (ARC) Gallery. In November, we launched our first formal exhibition proposal submission process and got a number of outstanding submissions. Our Artist Advisory Board juried the submissions and selected four individual artists to exhibit their work in the first half of 2011.

     

    Our goal with the ARC Gallery is to provide emerging and established visual artists with an alternative space to show their work outside of a commercial gallery setting. In furthering our mission to provide economic and professional development opportunities for artists, we dedicate time and resources to mentor each exhibiting artist along the process of presenting a public exhibition, from marketing, to pricing, presentation skills, cultivating clientele, and more.

    ***We are excited to announce our Spring 2011 ARC Exhibition Series***
     

    The Specter of Nature by Stephanie Anne Clark
    January 1 – 29, 2011
    Opening Reception: Saturday, January 8, 5 – 7 p.m. (that is THIS SATURDAY!)

    In her exhibition The Specter of Nature, fine art photographer Stephanie Anne Clark creates hybrid images in an effort to explore relationships between materiality and ideals within representation – cutting and staging photographs and decorative materials to reframe them through the lens of fantasy and make believe. In a childlike setting where light plays with shadows, figures emerge from cutout foliage like paper dolls trapped in a space that straddles the real and unreal.

    The Poo-tail Collection by Jude Theriot
    February 19 – March 19, 2011
    Opening Reception: Saturday, February 26, 5 – 7 p.m.

    Spacetaker presents The Poo-tail Collection, a new multi-media exhibition by Jude Theriot that will feature art objects anchored and inspired by the spirit of the unbridled exhilaration of childhood creativity, curiosity and wonder. The works featured will be a collection of objects both large and small scale, highbrow and lowbrow, three-dimensional and two-dimensional, as well as a piece of art-in-action.

    Memory Pending by Joshua Smith
    April 9 – May 7, 2011
    Opening Reception: Saturday, April 16, 5 – 7 p.m.

    Joshua Smith will exhibit a collection of collage-based work influenced by film, theology, religious art, architecture and history in his exhibition entitled Memory Pending. Smith works with found and collected imagery that can be manipulated into social, political, and historical narrative and iconography. From Dada-influenced collage and photography to found photographs telling tales from the 1950s, his body of work serves as a visual representation of how memory is constructed and the role memory plays in shaping both personal and public histories.

    Title TBD by Kerry Adams
    May 28 – June 25, 2011
    Opening Reception: Friday, June 3, 6 – 8 p.m.

    Spacetaker presents a new exhibit by Kerry Adams comprised of multi-media sculptures, photographic documentation of installations, and installations that address the idea of the passage of time in our everyday lives, particularly the moments between sleeping, eating, working, and tending to responsibilities that pass without notice.

     

    For all ARC Exhibitions:
    Spacetaker ARC Gallery Hours: Wed-Fri 11a.m. – 6 p.m. or by appointment: 713.868.1839
    2101 Winter Street, Studio B11, Houston, TX 77007
    Free and open to the public

     

    If you're a Houston-based artist who would like to be considered for an ARC Gallery exhibition, our next submission deadline is April 1, 2011.  Visit our ARC Exhibitions web page for info on how to submit.

     

     

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  • Posted on: Nov 23, 2010

    We are absolutely THRILLED to announce that this year’s Winter Holiday Art Market completely blew all other WHAMs out of the ballpark! 

     

    WHAM art sales increased this year by 80%!!!  Here’s the big picture view:
    30K in art sales in 2008
    43K in art sales in 2009
    78K in art sales in 2010

     

    Spacetaker takes a small portion of sales at WHAM to cover event expenses but 75% of all sales go directly to the artists.

     

    And that’s not all we’re excited to share with you – here’s the even bigger picture view:
    By the end of 2010, we’re estimating that Spacetaker’s programs will have generated over $130,000 for over 150 Houston artists and arts organizations*. That’s a 55% increase from what was generated in 2009.

     

    This is huge growth. We couldn’t have done it, however, without the help of some very special people along the way.  It seems apropos in this season of giving thanks to take a moment to say who and what we’re grateful for:

     

    •    For Houston's immensely diverse and talented artists,

    •    For Houston's enthusiastic and generous residents and visitors who understand the importance and benefit of supporting local,

    •    For our Board of Directors,

    •    For our Artist Advisory Board,

    •    For our Volunteers (particularly Michael Crowder, who worked his #@s off for us over WHAM weekend, hauling ice, restocking the bars, and helping artists load out their work when the freight elevator broke.),

    •    For our incredible designer and web guru Anthony Thompson Shumate,

    •    For our wonderful Sponsors & Supporters,

    •    For our Fans,

    •    and for the countless others who’ve helped spread the word about what Spacetaker is doing to find and create opportunities for artists.

     

    As you can see, we had a fabulous 5th WHAM-iversary! If you loved it and want more, or if you didn't get to make it this year, we have exciting news for you -- coming very soon is our very first extension of WHAM...Downtown!  WHAM Downtown presented by Amegy Bank takes place during the lunchtime hours of 11am - 2pm December 7th thru 10th at The Shops at Houston Center. Learn more about WHAM Downtown here.

     

    Here's a slideshow of photos from WHAM 2010, taken by Pin Lim of Forest Photography. Check out the entire photo album on our Flickr site.

     

    Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.

     

     

    Many thanks and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

     

    xo

    KC

     

    *Clarification: This stat is only counting the events that have generated sales or artist payment…our overall reach includes benefitting hundreds of other artists through our full scope of programming and services.

     

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Nov 18, 2010

    WHAM logoHey friends! We can't wait spend this weekend with some of the best Houston artists, live entertainment, brewskies, chow, and hopefully YOU!

     

    Wake me up before you go go and read this to make sure you know how to "survive" WHAM properly...

     

    1. How to get your pick of the art first before everyone else:

     

    Come to our Friday night Preview Party!
    Friday, Nov. 19, 6 – 10 p.m.
    $10 admission gets you:

     

     

    2. If Friday night is out for you, here are your other options:

     

    Saturday, Nov. 20, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    Sunday, Nov. 21, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    Free admission on both of these days
    Open Bar
    Amazing art

     

     

    3. Where the heck is Winter Street Studios and how do I get there?

     

    Winter Street Studios is at 2101 Winter Street (77007)
    WSS is located ALONG THE TRAIN TRACKS on Winter Street between SAWYER and HENDERSON streets.

     

    It’s a big white warehouse with a Winter Street Studios banner at the top!

     

    From Washington Avenue, turn North onto Sawyer…go over 1 set of railroad tracks and right before the 2nd set of railroad tracks TURN RIGHT onto Winter (the railroad tracks will be on your left and the rice factory on your right)

     

    From I-10, take TAYLOR exit and head South on Taylor (pass the Target). Turn LEFT onto Crockett and then turn RIGHT onto Henderson.

     

    Or you can just CLICK HERE TO SEE A MAP.

     

     

    4. What is the parking situation like?

     

    Parking is FREE and plentiful! Parking is available surrounding Winter Street Studios, in a parking lot East of the building, along the surrounding streets, and inside the Riviana rice factory parking lot directly across the train tracks from Winter Street Studios.

     

     

    5. What type of art can I expect to find?

     

    Check out our artists HERE in advance!

     

     

    6. So what else happens besides shopping for awesome art and unique gifts?

     

    We'll have live entertainment by some awesome local DJs and musicians!

     

    Friday:
    6-10pm: DJ Smooth Operator

     

    Saturday:
    1-3pm: petesimple

    4-8pm: DJ Ceeplusbadknives

     

    Sunday:
    12-3pm: Kris Becker

     

     

    7. This is a really important question. What should I wear?

     

    We’re casual at WHAM so anything goes. The floor is concrete though so we suggest wearing comfortable shoes as you rack up the miles going back and forth trying to decide what to buy.

     

     

    8. What if I can’t decide what to buy?

     

    When in doubt, head to one of the two bars at WHAM. A stiff drink usually helps you make the right decision!

     

     

    9. What should I bring?

     

    Cash, Check, or Visa/MC/AmericanExpress (sorry, no Discover) and your Drivers License to prove you are really you (and you’re old enough to imbibe in alcoholic delights). Oh, and WHAM is fun for kids too!

     

     

    10. What if I get tired?

     

    Never fear! New this year is our fabulous and lusciously comfortable IKEA LOUNGE!

     

    While resting your legs in the IKEA Lounge, check out the special Student Exhibition showcasing artwork by rising art stars from the CAMH Teen Council.

     

     

    11. What if I get hungry?

     

    Shopping really works up an appetite, so we’ve asked our friends at Beaver’s and El Patio to provide food at affordable prices on Saturday and Sunday. On Friday night, the food is free with your purchase of a $10 ticket.

     

    Visit the WHAM website for more info and share the link with your friends!

     

    SEE YOU THIS WEEKEND FOR THE CELEBRATION OF OUR 5TH WHAM-IVERSARY!

     

     

     

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  • Posted on: Nov 8, 2010

    At Spacetaker, we’re always trying to connect artists with opportunities to further their artistic growth through economic development, professional development, and by offering a network in which they can thrive.
     
    Our Winter Holiday Art Market (WHAM) is the perfect example, as it affords 60-some local artists the chance to showcase and sell their work to the general public, while simultaneously promoting the breadth and artistry of our city’s creative community. Since its launch, WHAM has generated more than $166,000 for more than 200 local artists and continues to grow as an important venue for Houston artists.
     
    We’re looking for local gallerists, interior designers, gift shop buyers, boutique and shop owners, and anyone else who is looking for new artistic talent and wants to Support Local so we can Grow Together (#SLGT). Our friends @WeSLGT understand the importance of investing in our local businesses, artists & community as the way to create “a culture of local self-sufficiency that thrives financially and creatively.” You don’t have to look for artists outside of Houston – there are plenty of amazingly talented ones right here, right under our noses, and our Vendor Breakfast is an opportunity to meet some of them in a market setting….
     
    On Saturday, November 20th, we will host a private Vendor Breakfast at WHAM in the morning before WHAM opens to the public.  The Vendor Breakfast will offer a special opportunity to foster ongoing relationships between participating artists and those entities able to market and sell their work year-round.
     
    If you are interested or know anyone who might like to attend as a store owner, interior designer, gallerist, or buyer, shoot us an email at wham[at]spacetaker.org and we’ll send you the secret password to get access to the Vendor Breakfast…in addition to introducing you to our WHAM artists, we’ll have all the coffee and kolaches you can handle.
     
    And for good measure, join the #SLGT community by registering for free as an individual or business on WeSLGT’s site and spread the love on Twitter by using #SLGT when you Support Local, Grow Together.
     
    Learn more about WHAM, taking place Nov. 19-21 at Winter Street Studios in Houston,

     

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Oct 18, 2010

    As many of you know, Spacetaker's Artist SPEAKeasy takes place on the third Wednesday of every month. If you've ever been to our SPEAKeasy, then you've probably seen Geoff Smith there, a reserved guy with bright red hair and a great big smile. Geoff is one of our most devoted fans and we look forward to seeing him at the SPEAKeasy nearly every month.

     

    The Artist SPEAKeasy is one of our favorite events, but you know...we may be kinda biased. So we thought we'd ask Geoff why the heck he keeps coming back.

     

    ST:  Geoff, you are a regular at our Artist SPEAKeasy. What keeps you coming back?

    GS:  I return to the Speakeasies because I can experience cross-sections of Houston's artistic community that I might otherwise overlook or simply not hear about. The pow wow-style environment is well suited for these relaxed discussions.

     

    ST:  Do you have a particular favorite Speakeasy or moment within a Speakeasy that sets itself apart from the rest?

    GS:  I was most intrigued by Pablo Zapiola's approach to motion and photography: he would project type onto the sides of locomotives and take long exposure shots of the passing trains. I'm not so sure if the moment was different from any other Speakeasy, but it was certainly memorable to see the way he works.

     

    ST:  Have you made any valuable connections at a Speakeasy?

    GS:  I think the most valuable connection so far has been with the Spacetaker team itself. That said, it was a true pleasure chatting with Ed Schipul last month.

     

    ST:  Geoff, tell us a little about yourself. What are your current goals and dreams?

    GS:  I'm in my twenties and I am fascinated with the arts (specifically printmaking), viewing live music, and cooking. Since this is my first year living in Houston, my current objective is to become better acquainted with the city and the local flavor. I'm also looking to begin my career in any sort of arts-facilitating capacity. For more longterm or passive goals, I want to enrich the culture of my environment. I leave that one intentionally broad as a means to guide my later choices.

     

    ST:  If you could meet and collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be?

    GS:  This is a tough question, but I think it might be a lot of fun to work with the folks from Crown Point Press. They might be the most influential intaglio workshop in the US and certainly command the medium. Much of what I really enjoyed about intaglio I learned from their books.

     

    Join us this Wednesday, Oct. 22 @ Spacetaker’s ARC featuring Jade Simmons of Impulse Artist Series and Michael Kahlil Taylor of “Eco-logic” and the Life is Living: Houston festival. Drinks & nosh start at 6:30pm; presentations begin at 7:00pm.

     

     

     

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Oct 6, 2010

    photo of<br />
Monica VillarrealWe are excited to announce our next ARC Exhibition: Texas Red Road Project, a photography exhibit by artist Monica Villarreal (pictured to the right). Texas Red Road Project features the culture and traditions of indigenous Native Americans in Texas today through a series of portraits taken at various ceremonial events.

     

    A native Houstonian of Mexican decent, Monica Villarreal has dedicated five years to learning the dance and ceremonies of the indigenous Aztec people. Through photography, she’s driven by her passion to reveal the beautiful splendor of Southern and Northern Native American culture.

     

    Her work has been showcased at various events and places throughout Houston, most notably NASA, Houston Institute for Culture, FotoFest Houston, The East End Gallery, and Last Organic Outpost. Villarreal is also a recipient of an Individual Artist Grant Award, funded by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.

     

    Recently, Monica answered a few of our questions about herself and her work, giving us an inside look into the artist’s perspective.

     

    What is your biggest inspiration as an artist?

    The thought of making a positive impact in peoples lives.

     

    You’re a multi-faceted artist (dance, photography, etc). Describe your artistic process.

    I’m motivated by my spirituality and love to express it through dance and other forms of art. When people see my art I want them to be able to see my spirit.

     

    When did your passion for connecting with and showcasing indigenous cultures begin?

    I’ve always been connected to my indigenous roots but was not motivated to act on it till my first visit to Mexico City in 2005. That was the first time I heard the drum and saw la Danza Azteca in person. It moved something inside of me that is unexplainable and from that moment on, my spirit was awoken.

     

    "Untitled" by Monica Villarreal

    What can people expect to see at your Texas Red Road Project exhibit?

    They will be able to see the beautiful culture of Texas indigenous people. I’ve been fortunate enough to capture a Lepan Apache Coming of Age ceremony, a few Danza Azteca ceremonies and Powwows, as well as a Mexica wedding (Amare de Tilma). I also have portraits of the teachers that have spearheaded Danza Azteca in Texas.

     

    What’s your favorite part of being an artist in Houston?

    The opportunity for creating something new… This city is behind on many things compared to other big metropolitan cities. This gives artists and business people the ability to create something that the majority of the Houston population hasn’t seen before. I also enjoy the diversity this city has to offer and the ability to collaborate with such a diverse group of artists.

     

    Besides making art, what are some of your favorite things to do?

    I love to travel! I enjoy learning and being exposure to different cultures. I also enjoy learning about world wide ancient indigenous traditions. On my time off from everything I like to relax by reading a book, watching a movie, or having brunch/dinner with friends.

     

    “Texas Red Road Project” will be on exhibition October 22 through November 13 at Spacetaker’s ARC Gallery located at Winter Street Studios (2101 Winter St, Houston, TX 77007). Please join us at the Opening Reception on Friday, October 22 from 6 to 8 p.m.

     

    [photo above: "Untitled" by Monica Villarreal]

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  • Posted on: Sep 29, 2010
    posted by our fearless leader, Jenni Rebecca Stephenson, this morning on her blog on Chron.com

    Thinking outside the loop

    Posted 9/29/2010 7:29 AM CDT

     

    I grew up in Sugar Land.  There, I grew up with a handful of talented dancers, musicians, writers, visual artists, and performers.  I have friends and acquaintances playing in popular rock bands, producing and editing films, starring in movies, starring in Broadway musical tours, and dancing with international dance companies.  And that's just from my high school, not to mention the larger Sugar Land area.  The fact is that incredibly talented kids grow up in Houston's burbs.  And a lot of them think they have to leave Houston to have a career in the arts.  It took my finishing grad school and starting a rag-tag theatre company for even me to realize it.  But why is that?

     

    Ask the average person in the suburbs about performing arts groups.  They will likely know the Alley Theatre, Theatre Under The Stars, Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, and all the big boys downtown.  But do they know about Dominic Walsh Dance Theater or Main Street Theater or Opera Vista?  Probably not.  Ask the average person in the suburbs about visual art.  They will most assuredly know the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and perhaps the Contemporary Arts Museum... but would they know Lawndale Art Center, DiverseWorks, or even the Menil?  There's a good chance they won't.  So why is THAT?

     

    Well, two things: geography and finances.  It's certainly easier for those of us in close proximity to these things to hear the buzz they generate.  And secondly, it's the bigger institutions who have the marketing budgets to reach their audiences in the suburbs.  Some inner-loop snobs suggest that people out in the burbs aren't as interested in the arts, but I cry foul― it's a question of what people are exposed to.  That's like saying a kid doesn't like green beans before he or she has even tasted it.  That said, I'm not suggesting there aren't artistic outlets and organizations out in the suburbs- not at all- just that it's difficult to get a comprehensive view of our thriving art scene when living outside the loop.

     

    How did I become acquainted with Houston's underground art scene? Fresh Arts Coalition and Spacetaker.  It sounds like nepotism, since I now work for Spacetaker, but the reality is that once I was introduced to these two organizations, the Houston art scene opened up to me in a way I couldn't quite imagine.  And I was by no means sheltered― my mother exposed me to a lot of interesting organizations, like the Orange Show, as a kid.  Furthermore, I was a former member of the Houston Dance Coalition, so I was familiar with some of the fantastic dance companies around town... but even that didn't give me the full picture.  I was vaguely familiar with the theatre scene, but I had no idea there were theatre companies in town writing rock operas or organizations showcasing performance art.  I read both Fresh Arts and Spacetaker newsletters like a menu and was constantly dragging around my friends for "tastings."  Admittedly, whenever you're trying something new, you're not always going to love it.  But with every taste, like it or not, my confidence in Houston as an arts community grew.  Whatever you may say about Houston, we've got a smorgasbord to try.  But I wish I had known about it earlier... when I had lived in Sugar Land.

     

    Not so long ago, I asked the marketing director of a very prestigious art organization in town when they last targeted the suburbs for any kind of marketing effort.  He said he couldn't remember.  And that makes me sad.  Sounds like a missed opportunity to me!   

     

    The big question a lot of arts groups have when they consider reaching out to the suburbs is the ROI.  Will they really drive in to see our performances or exhibitions?  The answer is YES!  When I worked at Theatre Under The Stars, we had a healthy number of subscribers that lived outside the loop.  Granted, it's musical theatre and very accessible... but I'd bet if you looked at the MFAH membership, you'd see a similar picture.  There will certainly be those who aren't up to the drive, but I imagine there's plenty that would be.  Case in point, I just sat down with a group of artists and musicians in Sugar Land called Amplify.  Turns out they regularly drive in to see exhibitions.  And I think it's funny that we don't think twice about the cultured people in New York, who ride trains to New Jersey or Connecticut where they live.  They can make up a good portion of the subscriber base for the arts organizations in NYC, but that can't possibly ring true in a place like Houston.  Really?

     

    Half of the greater metropolitan area lives in the burbs and commutes into town every day.  They already DO make the drive... so why aren't more arts groups start trying to capture suburbanites before they leave?  The New York Philharmonic figured this out with a series of commuter concerts.  And this is just one idea!  I imagine the programming innovator at River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Alecia Lawyer, has probably thought about this... if she hasn't done it already.  So that's my challenge to my arts colleagues: find ways to make it easier for those who prefer cheaper real estate and manicured lawns to consume our indie art scene.         

     

    Here's the biggest reason I think arts groups need to think outside the loop: the suburbs are our biggest untapped audience and embracing the Houston-area in its entirety may be the first step for Houston's art scene to receive the recognition and support it deserves.  We all gripe about Houston being a cultural underdog, but perhaps we play into that stereotype all too well.  We need to find our cultural allies in the burbs and work together to spread the good word.

     

    This has all been the wind-up for the pitch: Fresh Arts and Spacetaker have decided to try to do something about it.  We are hosting the ARTernative Festival out in Sugar Land's Town Square this Saturday.  We are bringing a handful of Houston's most innovative arts groups to Sugar Land's doorstep.  There will be children's activities (like live screen-printing and painting), performances by some of my favorite performing groups (lots of dance!), workshops on everything from mural painting to creative writing, an arts exhibition... and lots more.  It's been a labor of love that's been made possible by a generous sponsorship by CultureMap, as well as the Texas Commission on the Arts, and community stakeholders in Sugar Land (Bridget Yeung, Kathy Huebner, Donna Hine, Harish Jajoo, and David Wallace, SL's former Mayor).  Furthermore, Town Square has opened its arms wide for us and our efforts... we are very lucky!

     

    We have to put our money where our mouth is, right?  So, here goes!  I'll be shocked if at least a healthy handful of Sugar Landers don't leave the festival on Saturday with a little better awareness of Houston's art scene and the curiosity to dig deeper.  And that, my friends, is the goal.  Wish us luck.

     

    For more info about the ARTernative Festival this Saturday, October 2nd and the full schedule, visit www.arternative.org.

     

     


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  • Posted on: Sep 15, 2010

    We wouldn't doubt if you've wondered that recently and we apologize for the radio silence…it's just that we've got our noses pressed against our computer screens planning this HUGE SPECTACULAR ARTS FESTIVAL IN SUGAR LAND!
     

    It's the next iteration of the ARTernative, an ongoing collaboration between Spacetaker and Fresh Arts to bring Houston's best arts groups to the burbs and stimulate cross-county cultural collaboration. We firmly believe that people living outside the 610 Loop DO CARE about the arts & culture and they DO WANT to see great art, enroll their kids in arts programs, etc.

     

     We have been planning the ARTERNATIVE FESTIVAL over several months now and we have AN AMAZING AFTERNOON OF FREE ART-FILLED PERFORMANCES, INTERACTIVE ACTIVITIES, & WORKSHOPS that we've been keeping from our blog readers…

     

    Come party with us at Brunch & Brews: an ARTernative Kickoff this Sunday, Sept 19 from 2-5pm @Loggia in Sugar Land's Town Square.  Find out what the ARTernative Festival is all about, what to expect, and see a preview performance by Indian dance group Anjali Dance along with sweet tunes by The Smooth Operator. Oh yeah, and how about complimentary brews care of Saint Arnold and $5 bottomless Mimosas care of Loggia for anyone donating to the ARTernative Festival.

     

    Hope on the ARTernative train on Facebook Twitter too!

     

     

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  • Posted on: Aug 25, 2010

    Lovie Olivia…even her name inspires beauty…

     

    We feel so honored here at Spacetaker to be showcasing Ms. Lovie Olivia's brand new body of work, titled "Thrice Removed," beginning Saturday, August 28 through September 18.

     

    Please join us for the Opening Reception of "Thrice Removed" this Saturday, August 28 from 6-8pm at our ARC Gallery (2101 Winter Street, Studio B11). Along with Lovie's fabulous new work to peruse, there'll be booze along with hors d'oeuvres provided by "Sheila's Kitchen," and vocal entertainment by Lisa E. Harris.

     

    Although her past includes some formal artistic training, including graduating from Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Lovie Olivia has always relied on her independent studies of art, culture, music, literature and history to influence her work. She has exhibited her works at The Community Artist Collective, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Arthello Beck Gallery in Dallas, Project Row Houses here in Houston, and most recently, Lawndale Art Center in a collaborative show called “DARe to go FURther.” Olivia is also a recipient of an Individual Artist Grant Award, funded by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.


     

    absolutely! In the Loop magazine published a recent interview with Lovie, which we've recorded here for your reading pleasure: 

     

    What is your biggest inspiration as an artist?

     

    The ability to make my thoughts and ideas tangible; to have a visual conversation, a connection with the audience without uttering a word.

     

    Describe your artistic process.

     

    I am a multimedia artist. I use many different materials and practices to arrive at my visual inquiries.  Right now, the techniques I use most often are Sgrafitto and Fresco. Sgrafitto is the marking, scraping and incising of plaster, wood, marble etc.  Frescoes are created by applying natural pigments to wet plaster panels. I have given my own personal and modern adaptation to both of these old world techniques by using various materials and mediums like installations, film and sound to accompany the paintings I create.

     

    Who or what has been the most influential to your work?

     

    At this moment, identity is a very important subject to me.  I explore my personal history and ancestry through the women in my life, particularly those with complex identities. I am influenced by the conversations we have, the issues we share as well as the troubles and triumphs we face. With my works I can visually initiate conversations – spoken, written or silent.

     

    What’s your favorite part of being an artist in Houston?

     

    There is something yummy brewing in Houston right now. I think it is a renaissance of sorts. Our arts community is flourishing, thriving and becoming more globally visual. I want to be a part of this movement.  It reminds me of Harlem in the 1920s and 30s or SOHO in the 1950s and 60s.  Based on the number of working artists, I read somewhere that Houston has the third largest art market in the country.  We have great galleries, museums, theatres and a terrifically supportive community to go along with it.

     

    Troy Schulze, the editor of the new Art Attack blog at the Houston Press, also recently interviewed Lovie more specifically about her new work she'll be exhibiting at Spacetaker's ARC.  Read it here.

     

    Here's a preview of a few of Lovie's new work:

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  • Posted on: Aug 24, 2010

    Visual artist Pablo Gimenez Zapiola has dedicated the last decade producing a really unique body of work called "meaning in motion."

     

    We were thrilled to have him at this month's Artist SPEAKeasy along with Lydia Hance.  Pablo recently learned that he has been selected as one of the 2010 FotoFest "Discoveries," a truly great honor.  10 critics review all of the work at FotoFest and each critic chooses 1 artist as their "Discovery" and Pablo was one of them in 2010.  Due to this honor, his work will be presented in a special exhibition in FotoFest 2012.

     

    He finds different train tracks in whatever city he's in, waits until the sun begins going down, and then waits for trains to come.  On these passing trains he projects all different words in different patterns and then takes both still images and video of each train.

     

    The result is truly mesmerizing.

     

    Here are a few of his photographs:

     

     

    Click the image below to see one of his videos, where you'll see he projected a poem in its entirety on the passing train cars:

    2010 © Pablo Gimenez Zapiola

     

    Visit Pablo's website to see more of his work.

     

    Pablo will be collaborating on a piece with a musician friend of his and showcasing the new work at labotanica from October 15 - November 13.

     

    Opening Reception
    Friday, October 15, 6-8pm
    labotanica - 2316 Elgin (at Dowling), Houston, TX 77004

     

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  • Posted on: Aug 23, 2010

    This month's Artist SPEAKeasy was a real treat. For those of you who couldn't make it, here's a brief recap including where you can catch more of our two artist presenter's work.

     

    Ms. Lydia Hance, dancer/choreographer and director of Frame Dance Productions, kicked off the evening by using the Speakeasy forum as a Fieldwork workshop with a new twist:  live immediate feedback to a live work-in-progress dance performance.

     

    Everyone pulled out their cell phones, a few hopped on to computers around the room, and roughly half of the audience chose to either text, tweet or type their feelings and responses to a three-person live dance performance happening in front of their eyes by Lydia and two other dancers, Kristen Frankiewicz and Alex Soares.  The other half of the audience chose the non-tech route and waited until the end of the performance to offer their feedback.

     

    Lydia is interested in the differences and similarities between live instant feedback and feedback at the end of a body of work.  She uses both sets of feedback to influence her choreography -- in fact she plans to use our SPEAKeasy audience feedback to help her finish choreographing the piece.

     

    Before the performance began, Lydia explained the type of feedback that is most helpful and critical in the Fieldwork model.  Rather than offering subjective opinion-based feedback such as "I liked…" or "You shouldn't do…" or "This was good…," the more helpful type of feedback is experiential in nature, like this:

     

    "When you did your work, I saw…"
    "I was most involved by…"
    "The work you did reminded me of…"
    "When you did your work, I thought you were trying to…"

     

    Most people stuck to this feedback method and the comments texted and tweeted in were projected on our screen behind the dancers. Things like:

     

    "i feel impending doom...like something bad is going to happen…worried"
    "i feel like flying, like i want to take off..but i cannot...its frustrating"
    "It reminds me of snow capped mountains"
    "i find myself trying to create a story"
    "there is a fine line between extreme anger and extreme joy"
    "I thought you were trying to put a club beat to the end of your movements"

     

    At the end, one audience member commented about how she felt like she had to make a conscious choice between three things: watching the dancers, figuring out what to type on her phone, and then reading the feedback on the screen that other people were submitting. Some people found the instant feedback a distraction from enjoying the performance, some found that they were more engaged in the performance because they knew they were expected to comment on it.

     

    You can catch the finished piece by Lydia Hance along with a short film that will accompany it during the CAMH's Dance with Camera Exhibition, Points and Coordinates, on Sept. 16 at 7 pm.  (It'll be interesting to see if we can see how her choreography changes based on our SPEAKeasy audience feedback!)

     

    Check out Frame Dance Production's blog for updates and more about what Lydia and her crew are up to!  This post in particular is fabulous as we learn that visual artist Donne E. Perkins is collaborating with Lydia and drawing new work based on the lines she sees in her choreography.

     

    Many thanks to our friend and Spacetaker board member Ed Schipul for snapping some great photos and posting them to his Spacetaker album on Flickr. (photos above by Ed Schipul)

     

    Tomorrow we'll tell you about the 2nd artist presenter, Mr. Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola.

     

     

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  • Posted on: Jul 26, 2010

     WHAM 2009 image

     

    Heeeeeeyyyy yoouuuu guuuuuuuyyyss!  It’s that time of year again, artists!  Time to submit your entry for our Winter Holiday Art Market, otherwise known as WHAM.

     

    This year, WHAM turns 5!  If we were married, the 5th anniversary would be the Wood Anniversary and you would want to shower us with gifts entries made of wood. Like, you know…wooden bowls or wooden spoons, or maybe a piece of petrified wood with our initials etched inside a heart with an arrow shot through it.

     

    Although that would be cool, Spacetaker is NOT married and so for our 5th anniversary we welcome ALL TYPES OF ENTRIES!  Fine art, jewelry, stationary, clothing, ceramics, soaps and other bath & body supplies, paintings, sculpture, and the like...including wood.

     

    If you’re not familiar with WHAM, it is a fun 3-day art sale and celebration of Houston’s diverse creative community that draws crowds of up to 2,500 interested art-buyers.  Each year, WHAM features the work of 60 local artists, juried by a panel of arts professionals.

     

    Since its launch, WHAM has generated more than $166,000 for more than 200 local artists and continues to grow as an important venue for Houston artists.

     

    Here’s just a pinch of what some previous participants are saying about WHAM:
    Spacetaker provides a direct means for economic growth by hosting events such as WHAM (the annual Winter Holiday Art Market), where I, along with a number of talented artists, have been able to sell their original art pieces to an appreciative and well-paying audience.  Over the last four years, the festival has grown to bring thousands of arts patrons to Winter Street Studios each year– thousands of people to whom artists such as myself would not otherwise be exposed. (artist Paula Hawkins)

     

    The WHAM art market provides a focal point for the local community to know the artists that are working in the area. For us artists, it constitutes an opportunity to interact with patrons and art lovers in the unique environment of Winter Street Studios. It thus enables us to make our art known to a wider market by opening the Washington Corridor to our area of influence. (artist Marcela Garcia Bonini)

     

    This year, WHAM will take place Friday, November 19 through Sunday, November 21 at Winter Street Studios.

     

    The deadline to submit your entry is September 10!  Check out what is involved to submit your work and register for WHAM at www.WinterHolidayArtMarket.

     

    (pictured above: Hello Lucky at WHAM 2009)

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  • Posted on: Jul 19, 2010

    HELLO, WORLD!

     

    Today is my first official day at Spacetaker and believe you me, my squee level is OFF THE CHARTS! See?

     

    squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

     

    So here I am, K.C. Scharnberg, the new Program & Marketing Manager @Spacetaker. I am living my DREAM of being completely surrounded, inundated, enveloped in the arts and I'm ready to jump right in and work with Jenni Rebecca, Anthony, and our kick-ass Board of Directors to take Spacetaker to the next level. OUTERSPACE!  (just kidding!)  In all honesty, though, my goal is to create a solid, functioning, and effective marketing strategy for this organization so that we can maximize the value of this organization and all the amazing artists that it serves. First step: Insisting that we have an office coffee machine! Keeps headaches at bay and allows for more productivity for me..ahem..the artists. Now THAT is value.

     

    Can't wait to meet you all!

    xo

    kc

     

    p.s. If you want to know a little more about me, read my bio on Spacetaker's Staff page!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jul 14, 2010

     

    Everyone at the ARC is pretty jazzed about the new HATER Magazine exhibit currently up in our space.  The show features six talented artists (Aaron Casas, Matthew Oberpriller, Fabian Owens, Veronica Ramos, Isaac Solomon and Tim Spencer) presenting their work in a gallery for the first time as well as the lovely Lisa Marie Godfrey (if you’ve been in our office space, she’s the one responsible for the cool cardboard tress!).  The theme of the show is hate, and the artists provided very thought provoking perspectives of how they see hatred in their worlds. 

     

    The exhibition kicked off with a monster opening reception on June 25th.  DJ Cashless rocked the house with old school hip hop, soul and R&B jams, Dee Dillman of Kaboom Books provided the delectable pasta salad (truly to die for!), St. Arnold’s furnished the beer and the latest HATER mag was everywhere (check out a peek of the issue here – the highlighted page has an article written by one of the featured artists about one of the other featured artists).  The night was a HUGE success. 

     

    In case you missed it (or if you just want to relive the fun), watch the video below, made by our superfly intern, and check out the event photos on Facebook.  Finally, for full artist bios, check out the Spacetaker event page.  The latest issue of HATER is available at various locations through the city including Aerosol Warfare Gallery, The Tipping Point, The Art Institute of Houston and Caroline Collective, among others.  The work will be up until July 30th, so be sure to drop by the ARC to grab an issue of the magazine and get your hate on.

     
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  • Posted on: Jun 30, 2010
    Welcome to the NEW Spacetaker Blog!  For our inaugural post, we want to show you a bit of what went down at Poetry & Art - ON DEMAND!  We had a hilariously good time watching poets and artists co-create, bringing audience suggestions to life. 
     
    The Skinny:
    Audience members contributed five-word suggestions, which were then handed to either a poet or an artist.  These poets and artists were then given ten minutes to come up with a masterpiece based on the suggestion.  At the ten-minute mark, poets and artists swapped their final products and from them, created either a poem or a sketch.  Ten more minutes passed, the clock stopped and presentations began. 
     
    Some of our funniest suggestions? 
    Crime-fighting, time-traveling, Gatsby
    My grandmother, she hates sausage!
    Donut-allergic cop faces job adversity
    Revenge of the Gulf shrimp
    Kittens conspire to murder Easter Bunny
    Mongoose dance battle gone wrong
    Epic Laser Shark Throwdown
      
    Be sure to check out the archive of selected final products and our photo album on Facebook.  Special thanks goes out to the Sketchy Neighbors crew (Chris Thompson, Devon Moore, Katharine Kearns, Kelley Devine and Carlos Hernandez), poets Andrew Kozma, Glenn Shaheen, Hannah Gamble and Becca Wadlinger, as well as NANO Fiction and Poets & Writers for making the event possible.  Stay tuned for more events (and blog posts) like these.  Peace!

     

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Fresh Arts | ARC (inside Winter Street Studios)
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