Essentials: Getting Your Work Seen

Local Guide to 2020 Artist Opportunities

As artists and creatives, it’s so important to plan out your year. Planning helps you organize your priorities. How many of you all have goals and achievements to strive for this year? Perhaps is to participate in two festivals or apply to a grant this year! Well FreshArts has taken the initiative to map out local upcoming exhibitions, grants, festivals and markets, and other important opportunities by specific organizations with application dues, costs (if applicable), and more. We will continue to update the Artist Opportunity document throughout the year in order for you all to get the most out of your planning sessions!

Below you can find our top picks to look out for by the following categories: Local Grants, Residencies, Markets and Festivals, and Exhibitions! If you scroll all the way to the bottom, you will be able to find the link to the Artist Opportunity document, as well.

Looking for national opportunities for yourself?

Check out the Complete Guide to 2020 Artist Grants & Opportunities from Artwork Archive for an extensive list of the opportunities that are happening nationally!

Local Grants


This grant is designed to encourage artists and creative individuals and organizations to take creative risks that may not qualify for more traditional funding opportunities with awards up to $2,500.

Due Quarterly: End of January, beginning of April, July, and November

Dance Source Houston: Groundwork Grant Application

Through support from Houston Endowment, Dance Source Houston will pilot the Groundwork Grant program to address the need for increased funding to support local dance makers. Organizations with an incorporation date of January 2015 and older are eligible to apply for awards of $10,000 and those organizations younger than 5 years old are eligible to apply for $5,000.

Due: January 17, 2020

Administered by Aurora Picture Show, DiverseWorks, Project Row Houses: Idea Fund

The Idea Fund supports individual artists, curators, collectives, collaboratives or partnerships in the greater Houston area. Grant recipients receive funding for projects that exemplify unconventional, participatory or social practice, conceptual, innovative or entrepreneurial, or activist artistic practices. Awards are up to 12 to 14 cash awards at three distinct levels: Spark ($1,000), Catalyst ($4,000), and Stimulus ($7,000).

Due: Beginning of November

Local Residencies

Box13 Artspace: Residence Artists

Artists accepted into residence actively participate in the operation, maintenance and promotion of BOX 13. Each artist receives a workspace as part of residence/membership. To become a resident of BOX13, artists must schedule an appointment for an interview with current artist residents and be prepared to bring evidence of a professional career in the visual or performing arts (slides, CD, DVD, or other visuals), plus personal references and a commitment to support the activities of BOX13. Spaces range from $125-$650 per month.

Due: Ongoing-First come, First Serve

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) & Houston Center for Photography (HCP): Interdisciplinary Craft + Photography Artist Residency

Houston Center for Photography partnered with Houston Center for Contemporary Craft to offer the Interdisciplinary Craft + Photography Artist Residency, a program designed for artists creating work at the intersection of contemporary craft and photography. The program supports emerging, mid-career, and established artists working in all craft media, including but not limited to clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood and mixed media. $600 monthly stipend is given.

Due: March 1, 2020

Local Markets and Festivals

Art Colony Association: Bayou City Arts Festival – Downtown

The annual Bayou City Art Festival Downtown is one of the nation’s premier outdoor fine art events. The jury for this festival takes place at the Art Colony Association, Inc. offices by an invited panel of artists, collectors and industry professionals. The festival has been consistently ranked among the top 25 in Sunshine Artist’s 200 Best.

Festival happens usually in October/November. No application due date available.

Heartmade Art Market

Heartmade Art Market is a juried art market conceived and created by Tracy Manford Carlson of Tracy Carlson Photography and Sonja Fulbright of Crush Design Co. Our tag line, “design for happiness,” is exactly how we like to do things. ‪We think small actions add up to big results, so we’re putting the hearts of Texas’ talented artists to work for the benefit of local non-profit organizations and the community at large.

Due: April 25, 2020

First Saturdays Art Market

First Saturday Arts Market is a 15-year-old fine arts event that takes place in the Houston Heights. It’s a monthly outdoor art market with a focus on the fine arts. The market has a strong buying audience and for many years the artists have juried new applicants. We accept all art mediums and only art. Experience at outdoor shows is encouraged.

Due: Ongoing

Midtown Art in the Park

Join us for the annual Midtown Art in the Park – a fine art festival featuring local and regional artists with works for sale. The festival brings the cultural arts and entertainment community together.

Due: April 9 – 10, 2020

Local “Call for Entries” Opportunities

Dance Source Houston: Barnstorm Dance Fest

The 3rd Annual Barnstorm Dance Fest performance will be accepting applications for works 5-18 minutes in length from all genres of dance. Selected applicants will perform their work twice during the festival, which may include multiple weekends.

Last Deadline: December 20, 2019; No updated 2020 date

FotoFest: International Biennial Exhibitions

FotoFest promotes international awareness of museum-quality photographic and new media art from around the world. It is considered one of the leading international photography Biennials in the world. Biennial takes place citywide in Houston with participation from leading art museums, art galleries, non-profit art spaces, universities and civic spaces.

Due: Between June and August

Lawndale Art Center: 2020-2021 Call for Exhibition Proposals

Lawndale is pleased to announce an open call for submissions from artists and curators locally, regionally, and nationally for our traditional galleries, Mural Project, Sculpture Garden, and other non-traditional sites including the elevator, stairwells, windows, and other forms of intervention.

Due: Mid Feb – Mid March

Writespace: The Writefest Scholarship & Lore Track

Writespace is now accepting proposals for the 2020 Writefest conference on the subject of cross-genre literature. Writefest included this new scholarship track in 2020, with the purpose of showcasing scholarship in contemporary literature, both realistic and fantastic. This track will provide a forum for academic discussion among the creators of literature and those who study it, and we’re excited to offer an opportunity for writers to see literature through a unique lens: that of scholars, the most dedicated of readers.

Due: Saturday, February 15, 2020, at 5 PM

You can have access to the rest of the Artist Opportunity Document here. Enjoy!

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