• Posted on: Mar 8, 2019

    For International Women’s Day, Fresh Arts would like to highlight our female honorees for this year’s Glow Ball gala: artist Emily Sloan, Ahshia Berry & Sarah-Jayne Smith of Magpies & Peacocks, and Catherine D. Anspon of PaperCity. We asked them perhaps the simplest yet most complex question of all: “how/why do you champion local artists?” Here are their answers:


    Art by Michael C. Rodriguez; Photo courtesy of Victory Media Productions.


    I both love to and naturally lean towards supporting local artists! I love seeing projects come to fruition from the people and community I care for, share space with and live among. As an artist myself, it is simply a matter of blooming where you are planted.


    -Emily Sloan


    Art by Luisa Duarte; Photo courtesy of Victory Media Productions.


    Through the good fortune of being able to write for PaperCity, my mission is to champion Houston artists through a specific focus on highlighting the practice and talents of those creatives who live and work here. 

    ...Specifically, by writing about Houston artists in the magazine, the goals are to: raise awareness of the third largest community of working artists in the country; encourage collecting, patronage, and opportunities for artists and the galleries, nonprofits, and museums that support and show their work; and convey the energy and importance of those like our fellow honorees who are a vital part of Houston's rich arts ecosystem.

    -Catherine D. Anspon


    Ahshia Berry (left) & Sarah-Jayne Smith (right)

    Art by Michael C. Rodriguez; Photo courtesy of Victory Media Productions.

    Local art and design is in the DNA of Magpies & Peacocks. We provide Houston artists the platform to introduce their work to each other and to an influential forward-thinking audience of people for collaboration and work. As an environmental arts non-profit we truly understand the importance of supporting local artists, and the pivotal role of arts and culture in the infrastructure and economy of a vibrant city. Retaining our graduate designers, providing connections vital to career artists and makers, and creating sustainable work patterns are building blocks to this. Whether it is combining art disciplines on international runway at ‘London Fashion Week’ – introducing painters Robert Hodge and Nicola Parenté to textile painting for the collection by ‘Jerri Moore+Clarence Lee For Magpies & Peacocks’ – or creating athleisure wear with textile waste from the Superbowl with designer Carlsbad Oster and the NFL sustainability department – we think it is essential to present Houston culture as front facing, as environmentally progressive, diverse, innovative, and worthy of being ranked one of the best cities in the country!


    -Ahshia Berry for Magpies & Peacocks


    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Feb 22, 2019

    Ever wonder what’s being written/published in Houston? Here’s a roundup of literary pieces from Houstonians put out this last month. Just click on the images. When you’re done reading/listening, stay tuned for the next roundup! 


    1. Write About Now (WAN)

    A spoken word Poetry Slam and Open Mic hosted every Wednesday, 7:30 PM, at Avantgarden. Their YouTube channel regularly posts poetry videos of readings and performances, especially during Black History Month and Valentine's Day centric pieces. 


    2. Bryan Washington’s “What It Means to Live in Houston” in Catapult Magazine


    Bayou Diaries, a column by Bryan Washington, focuses on his life and history in Houston. Read the latest installment where Washington tries to answer: What does Houston ‘mean?’


    3. Carolyn Dee Flores’s “The Amazing Watercolor Fish”

    This rhyming bilingual picture book by Houston publisher Arte Público Press features a friendship between two pet fish. Listen to this interview with the author on Houston Public Media talking about the process of writing the book.


    4. J. Estanislao Lopez poems in Waxwing

    Houston poet and teacher J. Estanislao Lopez has 3 amazing poems published with Waxwing Literary Journal.


    5. Outspoken Bean’s Midweek Stanzas


    One of Fresh Arts’s favorites, Outspoken Bean provides another installment in his #midweekstanzas series. This piece in particular is dedicated to his brother.


    6. Anna Meriano’s Love Sugar Magic – A Sprinkle of Spirits


    The next installment of YA author Anna Meriano’s Love Sugar Magic series just dropped. Read more about it in this interview with the Houston author in Las Musas Speak blog.

    7. Ching-In Chen poem in Baest: a journal of queer forms & affects

    Houston area poet and professor Ching-In Chen has an awesome poem published in Baest: a journal of queer forms & affects.

    8. Teaching Article by Lupe Mendez in the Poetry Foundation

    Poet, educator, and organizer Lupe Mendez provides insight on how to introduce Latinx poetry into a curriculum.

    9. Interview between Houston poets & writers Jasminne Mendez & Leslie Contreras Schwartz in American Microreviews and Interviews

    Learn more about Jasminne Mendez's hit essay/poetry collection through her outstanding discussion with poet Leslie Contreras Schwartz. 

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Feb 11, 2019

    Construction on 45 add another hour or three to your commute? Rather than stewing in silence, check out these 4 Houston-based podcasts to add some chill discussions about art or soothing music to make the drive a bit more enlightening.


    1. Encore Houston

    Encore Houston is a weekly show featuring a concert recording from a local ensemble or performance organization in Houston. Each episode features the concert and brief commentary from host Joshua Zinn, with a preview of an upcoming performance by the featured organization at the end of the program.


     2. Inkwell: A Podcast by Tintero Projects & Inprint

    Join writers, educators, activists, and founders of Tintero Projects Jasminne and Lupe Mendez, as they work with Inprint, a 30+ year old nonprofit literary arts organization in Houston, Texas, to host a literary podcast for anyone engaged in the world of reading and writing. With their energy, wit, and fresh perspective, Jasminne and Lupe will interview writers (established as well as emerging) from across the United States on what it’s like to “ink well” in this day and age. 

    3. artists of HOUSTON podcast

    artists of HOUSTON podcast is hosted by Rhonda Lanclos, an artist located in Winter Street studio 18 within the Sawyer Yards Arts complex near downtown Houston. The Sawyer Yards Arts complex is one of the largest concentrated areas of artists in the US that opens its doors every second Saturday between 12-5. This podcast will feature Sawyer Yards' artists and many other artists living and working in H-town!

    4. Chicas who Read

    Chicas Joselin and Jessica discuss texts and film through the perspective of a History major and an Artist. The objective is to invoke dialogue and share ideas that they find interesting, including conversations surrounding Roma and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe thus far.

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Nov 21, 2018
    by Sarah Stevens

    Some of you may know me as the ex-Fiscal Sponsorship Manager of Fresh Arts. Earlier this year, I left Houston (and sadly Fresh Arts), to move back to my native England. Last Friday, I returned to Houston for a two-week visit, and you better believe that even after a 10 hour flight I headed straight to Winter Street Studios, and greeted WHAM like an old friend, with open arms.

    Well over a decade ago, WHAM emerged as a pioneer in the art market scene, replacing the well-loved Glassell holiday market and bringing much-needed footfall to the fledgling Winter Street Studios. The first year, however, was not all smooth sailing. In 2015, we interviewed original WHAM artists to celebrate 10 years of the event. Print-maker David Webb described the first year as "not exactly a disaster", while ceramic artist Betsy Evans, who has participated in every one of the 13 markets, recalled year-one as being "SLOW".  However, she continued: "the intentions were good, I think initially people didn’t know what Winter Street was, and they were really nervous about going there. Over the course of time Winter Street and the arts district has developed a phenomenal reputation and become such a major force in Houston. With the force of Fresh Arts behind it, more exposure, and better quality artists, WHAM has just continued to grow too".  

    Indeed, since its grassroots beginnings, WHAM has grown exponentially - generating over $1 million for the Houston arts community, and showcasing hundreds of local artists. For 13 years, a team of (at most) five Fresh Arts staff, along with amazing volunteers from the Houston community, have pulled off one of the largest and longest running art markets in Houston. We will be forever grateful to the 700 or so artists who have participated; our loyal volunteer-base who have donated their time to making paper snowflakes, untangling Christmas lights, and mixing our signature WHAM-O cocktail; the many sponsors, musicians, and food vendors; and of course the thousands of people who have walked through the doors year after year.

    Looking back on the final iteration of WHAM, Fresh Arts' Programs and Services Manager Angela Carranza noted that the post-event breakdown this year was tinged with sadness, as the reality of "The Last WHAM" set in. However, although our ever-evolving WHAM family of artists will not be back at Winter Street Studios next November, their paths will I'm sure cross again at other markets. Fresh Arts can’t take all the credit, but WHAM certainly played a part in paving the way for other markets that now give Houston artisans almost unlimited opportunities to sell their work directly to the public throughout the year. It is for this reason, that after 13 years, this gentle giant can retire, happy in the knowledge that WHAM has done what it set out to do.   

    Like most, I am sad to say goodbye, but excited to see what comes next. Rest easy, old friend.
    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Nov 12, 2018

    As we get closer and closer to our Winter Holiday Art Market, we want to be able to celebrate the artists and the work that they do as much as we can. A few of the artists have given us the opportunity to ask a few questions in and out of the box, so take this chance to learn more about them before you meet them.

    Chauncey & Coco

    What makes WHAM different from other art markets or festivals that you’ve attended/participated in?

    This is our third year participating in WHAM and we've had nothing but great experiences working with the Fresh Arts team. Since we don't have a storefront (yet!) WHAM is our favorite event to transform a space into our own small shop and meet a wide array of people in the arts community that we normally might not have the opportunity to share our work with on such a large scale. We love the location, the volunteers, the schedule, and the overall genuine good vibes from everyone involved.

    What’s your favorite part of what you do? Least favorite part?

    We love meeting people who admire our products and support women artists! Chauncey and Coco has pushed both of us to keep creating art a priority in our lives no matter how busy or distracted we might get. Our not -so- favorite part of running our business is trying to balance it with our full time jobs during the holiday season, it can get overwhelming trying to keep track of events and things to do but we feel really accomplished in January when we miraculously get through it.  

    What is something that anybody who knows you would know about you?

    All of our friends and acquaintances know that we have three cats that are definitely the most spoiled and catered to in our family home.

    What is something you wish more people knew about you?

    We've found that quite a few people don't realize our art is completely original and we actually make all our products by hand from start to finish in our studio, including our packaging. Oh and we also have a younger brother! He's a tech savvy rap fanatic who we frequent for business advice and restaurant suggestions.

    How would you describe the Chauncey and Coco aesthetic?How did you come up with this aesthetic and execute it into the various pieces?

    The Chauncey and Coco aesthetic is a blend of our love of art history and modern design, influenced by our Indian heritage and identity as independent women. We have always aimed to stay authentic to our style, and create in small batches that change frequently based on our varied interests and personal experiences.

    How far has Chauncey and Coco come as a brand and how far do you want it to go?

    Since we founded our company in 2016, we have grown from unfolding a small table at casual local events to currently having products sold in stores across Houston and vending with a fully display at some of the largest local markets/festivals in Texas. Although 2018 has been a year of wild growth, we feel as if it's still only the beginning of our vision and intent for Chauncey and Coco.  

    What are some of the business goals and/or aspirations? (This could be the number or type of products, company influence, client growth, overall growth, etc.)

    Some of our business goals for 2019 is to stock our products in considerably more stores in Houston and across the state, as well as expand our home decor and stationery line.

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Nov 7, 2018

    As we get closer and closer to our Winter Holiday Art Market, we want to be able to celebrate the artists and the work that they do as much as we can. A few of the artists have given us the opportunity to ask a few questions in and out of the box, so take this chance to learn more about them before you meet them.

    Kathrine Zeren


    Why is participating in WHAM important to you?
    It's always been a fun show, and it brings out a lot of people each year. It's also been a great way for me to meet other creatives in the Houston area.

    What makes WHAM different from other art markets or festivals that you’ve attended/participated in?
    It's organized, well-marketed, and always draws a crowd. The food and drinks on site really makes a difference as well, I think - especially since the food available is usually pretty good!

    What’s your favorite part of what you do? Least favorite part?
    The day-to-day management of things can be a drag at times, but it's necessary to keep the business going. I most enjoy when I have time to be creative and work on new ideas or projects.

    What is something that anybody who knows you would know about you?
    That I'm a foodie and like trying new things.

    What is something you wish more people knew about you?
    This doesn't really count, but I wish I were better at sharing on social media. I'm terrible at taking selfies or posing for pictures! I think part of me hopes this makes me come across as mysterious and interesting and too busy to care about such things...ha!

    The fashion industry has several barriers to entry (success rate, cost, inventory, and major brands being a few), 1) what inspired you to get into fabrics/fashion, and 2) what makes your business successful?
    I have a bachelor's degree in apparel design and my first job out of college was working as a designer at a big, corporate company. I learned a lot about the not so glamorous (or ethical) sides of the industry early on, and after a while, decided to give my own label a try. I figured that if I were the boss, I could write the rules and center my company's goals around more than just the bottom line. I think it can be hard to define success when you're an entrepreneur--it's all too personal, and it can be difficult to not be hard on yourself. It takes time to build a brand, and those who have the most perseverance to see it through are usually the most successful. For me, I'm just trying to not take myself too seriously these days and to slow down when I want to rush things. A healthy work/life balance is important, and I'm pretty happy with myself when I'm able to keep things more balanced and my stress levels in check.

    What would you call your style? What other styles or brands would you compare or associate yours with?
    I'm fairly minimal and tomboyish. I think that clothing should be practical while maintaining a certain elegance. I like things that have a nice drape to them, and I'm not a huge fan of anything that requires ironing. My brand has focused on menswear accessories for so long, I'm excited to bring more of my personal style into the brand with some new projects I have in development.

    You also sell soaps and candles. Is there a connection with the bow and neckties or are they just another product you have available for purchase?
    I am really particular about smells, and wanted to experiment with creating some of my own scents. You also don't have to invest as much on the front end to make apothecary products, so I thought it would be a way to be creative with a different medium.

    Thank you Katherine for letting us get to know you, see you at WHAM!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Oct 25, 2018

     ACCESS: Zine Fest Houston

    by Jessica Dodington

    It’s pretty simple:
    Fresh Arts’ Fiscal Sponsorship program provides access to funding for many awesome projects, organizations and
    artists in Houston. And, in this blog, we intend to provide our readers access to some of the awesome projects,
    organizations and artists that we sponsor.


    This month, we caught
    up with co-organizers Maria Heg, Sarah Welch, Stacy Kirages, and Evan McCarley of Zine Fest Houston as they get set for their annual fest on
    Saturday, November 17 at Lawndale Art Center.

    What is a zine, anyway?!

    Zines, originally short for “magazines”, are
    creator-controlled works that span all genres: the defining characteristic is
    the do-it-yourself (or DIY) ethos that empowers the creator in their publishing
    and distribution choices.


    Zine Fest Houston (ZFH) is an event
    dedicated to promoting zines, mini-comics, and other forms of small press,
    alternative and underground media and art.


    Tell us about Zine Fest Houston; we
    want to know the stuff we can’t find on your website.

     First off, admission to the annual festival
    is always free and low-cost table space is available for zinesters, writers,
    artists, distros and other individuals and groups involved in the creation,
    publication, distribution, or promotion of alternative media and DIY.


    The festival is a new and different
    experience every year, offering a new crop of zines and projects and other
    unique sights - such as a live chicken manning one of the exhibitor tables
    during our first festival. This year we have 120 vendors showcasing their
    unique work, along with a special presentation about the history of wrestling
    by a member of Houston-based Doomsday Wrestling. YA author Jennifer Mathieu
    will also be present and speaking about her novel Moxie! - which is all about
    zines and female empowerment! There will also be kids and teens zine making
    workshops available during the event.


    Lawndale Art Center (where ZFH is
    happening) – all three of its stories – will be transformed into a wonderful riot
    of visual stimulation, with a distinct top note of warmth and camaraderie as
    artists make community with one another as well as with attendees. The first
    and second floor gallery spaces will be completely dedicated to vendor tables
    and the third floor is dedicated to programming.


    There truly is something for everyone
    at the festival. The goal is for attendees to discover new zines and be
    inspired to create their own DIY art and media projects.


    FA: What is your experience with zines?

    ZFH co-founder Stacy:
    Zines helped me find a voice during a
    time when I felt a little bit lost in the world and now I can’t imagine not
    having them in my life. The reason why I do what I do is because I want to help
    other creators find and develop their voice through self-publishing because it
    is a powerful tool for self-expression and constant discovery, and the
    connections made through zines are long-lasting ones.


    FA: What have you achieved through the
    Fresh Arts Fiscal Sponsorship program?

    Prior to being fiscally sponsored,
    ZFH was not eligible for city grants because we are a purely volunteer-run
    organization and do not have non-profit status. Now, with fiscal sponsorship, we
    are able to apply for many grants that we were ineligible for before. This
    program has opened up many doors for our organization! We are proud to report
    that Zine Fest Houston was issued a 2018 Festival Grant through Houston Arts
    Alliance to support this year’s fest! This enables festival organizers to
    realize a long-held wish, which is to have the ability to compensate its
    participating artists, presenters, and collaborators for their hard work and
    dedication to making the festival possible.

    We can’t wait Zine Fest
    Houston! …and, to see what animal may be manning an exhibition table this year! 

    Mark your calendars and we’ll see you November 17!

    Saturday, November 17,
    2018 from 12-6PM
    at Lawndale Art Center - 4912 S Main Street, 77002

    Food trucks will be available

    Admission is free and
    open to the general public

    Interested in Fiscal Sponsorship? Learn more at our website! 

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Sep 28, 2018

     Fresh Funded: Sculpture Month Houston

    by Micah Starkey

    Fall is upon us, and the Houston art scene is hustling and buzzing with much anticipation!

    One of the most anticipated exhibitions of the fall is Fresh Arts fiscally sponsored project, Sculpture Month Houston (SMH), who is gearing up for their 2-month-long feature starting in October.  We caught up with SMH guru, Antarctica, to learn more about their project before the big debut. 

    Antarctica first told us that SMH was founded in 2016 to create a forum for sculptors to exhibit, and the citywide festival is the result: 

    "Taking it back to our original and current sentiment: Installation art has become a popular and internationally recognized medium where contemporary issues are explored with passion. Many artists have chosen the installation medium because of the inherent ability to go beyond traditional conventions.

     SMH’s series of site-specific installations tie into this current body of ideas that is percolating throughout the art world in places like Documenta and the Venice Biennale. We provide artists with the access to weigh in on this with their creative responses in order to enrich and shape the visual dialogue. SMH is participating in this dialogue by providing artists with an opportunity to be challenged to create site-specific installations in unique architectural venues."

    And SMH’s home at SITE Gallery Houston, located in the old rice Silos off Sawyer St, is definitely a unique architectural space! 

    Since 2016, the festival has gained momentum and is excited to announce that this year’s exhibition, titled Peak Shift, will be expanding into 2 additional venues, including the 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Hobby Airport and a defunct control tower designed by I.M. Pei at Bush Intercontinental Airport. The first will feature a group show by 7 sculptors, including Tommy Glassford from Mexico City, and the latter will showcase an installation created by Jo Ann Fleischhauer. 

    Of course, the SITE Gallery exhibition will be a grand display, completely transformed into a new atmosphere with 14 artists’ works. Antarctica shared, “This year, more of our artists have been asked to fill multiple silos, expanding the overall experience for our visitors. Sound will again be incorporated alongside video installation and performance. We are so excited to launch this multi-sensory exhibition for Houston!”

    Antarctica also told us that with Fresh Arts as their fiscal sponsor, SMH has had opportunities to apply for grants that wouldn’t have been accessible otherwise. “With Fresh Arts’ guidance, we have successfully been awarded two separate City of Houston grants through the Houston Arts Alliance,” said Antarctica. We are celebrating with you, SMH, and congratulate you on your grant awards and another year of intriguing sculpture!

    We are thrilled to be a part of this unique art experience and can’t wait to see the final installations!

     Want to join us? Details are as follows:


    SITE Gallery Opening: October 13th, 2018 // 6 PM – 9 PM // food truck, beer and wine

    On view until December 1st, 2018

    1940 Air Terminal Museum Opening: October 20th, 2018

    Control Tower at Bush Airport Opening: November 1st, 2018

    *The opening will take place at Terminal A Parking Garage Rooftop rather than at the actual tower.

    Interested in Fiscal Sponsorship? Learn more at our website!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Aug 24, 2018

    Fresh Funded: Mystic Lyon Projects

    By: Micah Starkey

    Happy Fresh Funded Friday everyone! We are excited to feature Mystic Lyon Projects. 

    Nestled on the corner of Mystic St and Lyon St, Mystic Lyon is an old 1930’s grocery store building turned art gallery and recreational aesthetics venue. Its owner, Emily Sloan, is a sculptor and painter whose calling has taken her from small town East Texas to Toronto to North Hampton and finally to the sprawling city of Houston in 2006. I should add, she is all things creative and fun!—as was made evident by the bright yellow, leopard print sunglasses and tie-die shirt. 

    So it’s no surprise that Emily has made Mystic Lyon into a space that cultivates creativity, community and collaboration. Not only does Mystic Lyon feature rotating art installations from local artists, but Mystic Lyon Projects also support community initiatives like in-house community coffees as well as the Fifth Ward Badminton Club, the Central City Co-op and the Fifth Ward Chamber of Commerce. 

    Through its initiatives, Mystic Lyon strives to create abundance and a local identity. Emily shared that, “Under Fresh Arts fiscally sponsored umbrella, Mystic Lyon is able to raise funds that go towards the artist stipends and help artists make a living.”

    Well, Mystic Lyon, we love the sound of that, and are happy to be a part of your mission!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Aug 13, 2018
    Tips for a Successful Arts Market Application
    with Mitch Cohen
    by Micah Starkey

    Summer is nearly over!--hopefully, that means the heat will be over soon too! Yes, we know that's wishful thinking for Houston, but as we wish away the dog days of summer, we can daydream about the upcoming festival season.

    But don't daydream for too long, artists--approaching festivals means artist calls and applications are open now, and we've put together a set of tips for submitting successful applications this season.

    For some expert advise on selling local in Houston, we turned to lifelong artist, Fresh Arts friend and founder of The Market at Sawyer Yards, Mitch Cohen. Here are his top 3 tips:

    1) Read the directions and follow them to the letter!  My markets are curated, and sometimes the difference between artists getting in or not is as simple as following the requests in the instructions. Don’t assume you’re amazing art will carry you.

    2) Quality photos of your artwork is a must! Take the time to take quality images of your work, well lit, uncluttered and take photos of your booth and/or displays. We ask for images of work in progress too, that can be a messy kitchen table, a sketchbook or a high-end studio - sometimes we need convincing that you really are the creator.  Leave yourself out of the images unless requested.

    3) Take your time! If you just discovered a market, and the deadline is very soon - check for future dates. It’s better to take your time and have everything ready and get in than to be rejected because you rushed your application and missed important details. If an organization is taking the time request photos to look at, a detailed description of your work and will review possibly hundreds of applications - you can bet they are taking their market or festival seriously and so should you!

    BONUS TIP: In Texas artists are required to pay tax on sales. Although many shows and markets don’t require proof that you have a State of Texas Sales Tax ID, you should get one and pay anyway. The Comptroller’s Office does investigate and you don’t want a good sales day interrupted by one of their agents investigating and possible fines for not having one.

    And, of course, from our experience with our own Winter Holiday Arts Market, here are a few more do's and don'ts that will lead you to success.

    Application Do’s
    1. Supply a photo of your branded packaging or a table/booth display even if it’s just a mock up! Reviewers want to have a sense of your personality, professionalism, and the type of shopping experience that you will provide to the market’s customers. 
    2. Show work that fits together--show a theme.
    3. Mention your experience at previous events.
    4. Heed advice/feedback from curators of previous markets to which you've applied.
    Application Don’ts
    1. Don’t skip the text sections! All application questions are there for a reason so take the time to answer each question as thoughtfully as possible. In the event of a tie-breaker, the artist that took the time to explain WHY their work is unique or HOW it was made has the potential to be accepted over an artist who skipped questions.
    2. Don't have an empty website! Your website is another important resource that curators might refer to--it should be as up-to-date as possible.
    3. Don't bad mouth other events on social media.

    Ready, set, apply! Here are some upcoming market selling opportunities now accepting applications: 

    Fresh Arts WHAM
    Fresh Arts is seeking LOCAL ARTISTS and 
    CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURS producing fine art, unique crafts, and handmade, original goods for the 2018 Winter Holiday Art Market (WHAM), November 16-18...
    More details
    The Market at Sawyer Yards
    Folk Art, Funky Art, Recycled, Upcycled, Pet Treats, Designers, Greeting Cards, Balloon Artists ... Signs...yard Art ... If you are the maker and the seller, this is a market for you!...
    More details

    First Saturday Art Market
    First Saturday Arts Market is a 14-year-old fine arts event that takes place in the Houston Heights. The market showcases paintings, sculpture, photography, jewelry and handcrafted items....
    More details

    Bayou City Arts Festival - Spring 2019
    Juried at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, by an invited panel of artists, collectors and industry professionals, Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park is the nation’s premier spring outdoor fine art event and kicks off the spring Texas art festival circuit...
    More details

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jun 29, 2018
    Fresh Funded: The Carya String Quartet
    by Micah Starkey

    Happy Fresh Funded Friday everyone! We are excited to introduce one of our newest fiscally sponsored projects, the Carya String Quartet.

    Founded in the spring of 2018, the Carya String Quartet is a Houston-based ensemble dedicated to performing a string quartet repertoire new and old. The members- Eugeniu Cheremoush, Laura Cividino (violins), Ed Harper (cello), and Rainey Weber (viola)-hail from Moldova, Italy, England, and the United States, respectively, and they bring their individual experiences as performers and teaching artists to create inclusive concerts and innovative educational programming. 

    The Carya Quartet performs a diverse repertoire in concert and develops and teaches innovative and integrated lessons and classes for students grades K-12. Their mission is to foster community through engaging chamber music experiences. To that end, this season they are focusing on building relationships through and with the schools in Missouri City, Cy-Fair, and Klein. They will also be performing easily accessible concerts in those areas so that students, parents, and community members can come enjoy a shared concert experience as neighbors. 

    Community is a driving force behind what Carya's does. Member Rainy Weber explains:

    "There is magic in sharing a non-verbal emotional experience, and live performances can create an invisible connection among the audience members and between the audience and the performers. Additionally, a string quartet is a microcosm of successful community: there is active listening, leadership, conversation, exchange of ideas, and collaboration towards a purpose greater than the individual. Houston is a special place because it is so diverse and because the city and the surrounding areas stand together and extend helping hands when needed. However, Houston is also such a large place— we think that everyone should have access to the magic of live chamber music. This is the driving force behind our choice of neighborhoods to focus on in our inaugural season... We hope to make the city feel smaller and closer while celebrating our diversity, both culturally and geographically."

    Through their partnership with Fresh Arts, Carya's goal is to make their concerts and educational programs as accessible as possible. They are targeting new neighborhoods and new audiences which means they self-produce most of their concerts. Additionally, Carya eventually hopes to offer educational programs at a discount so that they are affordable for all schools. Donations received are vital to support the costs involved. 

    This season's repertoire includes Haydn’s Lark Quartet, Beethoven’s Op. 132 Quartet, Brahms’ Quartet No. 2 in A Minor, Piazzolla’s Four for Tango, and Houston’s own Rob Smith’s Spin for String Quartet. Through this repertoire, which spans over 200 years, Carya hopes to link the past and the present in order to connect the diverse generations that make up their audiences. Their upcoming events include:
    • A patriotic concert, at 2 PM on July 3rd at Maud Smith Marks Library in Katy; 
    • Season Opening Concert in August to be announced soon;
      Collaborations with the Houston New Arts Movement on November 24th and December 1st; and
    • A feature on the Phil Kramer Recital Series at New Hope Lutheran Church in Missouri City on February 22nd, 2019.

    We look forward to the exciting music that Carya String Quartet will bring to all in the Greater Houston area and to seeing their impact community-wide.

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jun 14, 2018


    by Micah Starkey

    We are excited to introduce 2 fresh faces to the Fresh
    Arts staff this summer!

    Micah Starkey - Resources and Outreach Coordinator

    Micah is a Houston-area native who has been exploring the city since graduating from Texas A&M University in 2015. While pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a minor in Business Administration, Micah served on the Opera and Performing Arts Society (OPAS) Student Committee, an organization that brings both national and international performances to the Texas A&M Campus. During her time with OPAS, she specialized in publicity, advertising, and event relations, which ignited her passion for serving the arts community. 

    After spending a year at a major accounting firm and then two years at an oil and gas company, Micah had a strong desire to return to the art scene. Aspiring to make creativity and her career one in the same, Micah joined the Fresh Arts team as a Special Events Intern during Summer 2017. Her projects included the #TexasArtistsStrong pop-up exhibition fundraiser for Hurricane Harvey relief, the 2017 Winter Holiday Art Market and the 2018 Crystal Ball Gala. She recently accepted the Resources and Outreach Coordinator position and is excited to support the Fresh Arts team full-time.

    In her spare time, Micah is an avid yogi at Big Power Yoga and is exploring the power of language, especially through writing.

    Fun Fact: Micah met her favorite musician of all time, Ellie Goulding, while standing in the drink line at Coachella last year. 

    Favorite Art Activity: Going to music festivals and concerts 
    Favorite art spot/piece in Houston: While it was on display, Micah's favorite exhibit was the jewelry vault at the HMNS. These days, she enjoys attending the annual Fashion X fashion show and visiting the installations at Buffalo Bayou Cistern. 

     Quang Vu - Communications Intern

    Quang Vu is currently a senior at the University of Houston’s Katherine G. Mcgovern College of the Arts and is coming on board as our Summer 2018 Communications Intern. Quang is pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Arts with a concentration in painting and a triple minor in art history, business administration, and excellence in sales. He has a strong devotion to the arts and an interest in business and actively seeks to marry the two in ways that contribute to the people and the institutions that keep the Houston Art community thriving.

    As of now, Quang is also serving as the Media and Community Expert for DiverseWorks. In his role at Diverseworks, Quang conducts fieldwork and research around community involvement aiming to address shared community concerns through artistic social-activism in the Alief community. Additionally, he is the Vice-President of the Blaffer Art Museum Student Association and formerly worked as the gallery intern for the Anya Tish Gallery.

    For leisure, Quang is a mixed-media painter who makes work that explores queer politics and personal identity in the world of art.

    Fun Fact: In his sophomore year of high school, Quang competed in the "Ellen's Dance Dare" competition and was invited to meet Ellen on her show! Check out his Dare Dance video: here

    Favorite Art Medium: Painting and/or Graphite

    Favorite art spot/piece in Houston: Quang's favorite art spot is the Byzantine Chapel in the Menil Park, which also happens to feature his favorite art piece - the Fabiola project.

    The Fresh Arts team is excited to have Micah and Q join us as we continue to champion local artists and creative entrepreneurs to succeed in the business of art


    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: May 4, 2018
    By Micah Starkey

    Happy Fresh Funded Friday, friends!
    This week we are featuring Fresh Funded participant, Deux Voix Concerts. This trumpet-organ duo is comprised of trumpeter, Justin Langham, and organist Stephen Distad. Together, they are on a mission "to positively impact as many lives as possible through the power of music." The pair met four years ago when Justin was a graduate student at the University of Houston.  Their first performance was at a church, and, long story short, they were both ecstatic to showcase the ultimate sound combination of the organ and the trumpet. As a former solo musician, Distad is especially refreshed by the synergy created while performing as a duo.  
    Distad captures the aura of Deux Voix’s energetic repertoire, saying:
    Deux Voix is the only trumpet/organ duo, that we know of, that offers a variety of music from the traditional repertoire of Bach and Telemann to contrasting styles of music such as Frank Sinatra and Sam Smith. The basis of our concept is to provide a “new approach to a classic sound,” with a strong emphasis on attracting people of all ages and musical tastes to experience something new and different, and to leave them wanting more!... Many who have attended our concerts have commented positively about the overall flow and energy, feeling that they were constantly engaged due to the variety of musical styles and genres...While we offer a wide variety of music during our concerts, the goal of a substantive musical experience is not lost. We make sure to include selections from both the organ and trumpet’s standard repertoires, such as works by Bach, Telemann, Liszt, Saint-Saens, Hovhaness, and Eben, interspersed throughout the concert.  
    It's no surprise that this dynamic duo is setting records and selling out venues! Deux Voix set a record for the highest attendance of any organ concert in the 37-year history of the Piccolo Spoleto Music Festival and recently presented a Sinatra-style program at Memorial Drive United Methodist in Houston that sold out a week in advance. August promises more excitement, as Deux Voix will celebrate their 4th Anniversary Concert and then jet off on their first international tour in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
    With the support of Fresh Arts Deux Viox has set goals to expand their breadth by acquiring a professional level flugelhorn, going on international tours, producing additional recordings and possibly purchasing their very own portable digital organ! Fresh Arts is proud to support the Deux Voix Concerts and looks forward to the inspiring things they will bring to Houston, the US and the globe.

    For a complete listing of all Deux Viox’s upcoming shows, check out their website. And don’t forget to subscribe to the  Deux Voix YouTube Channel.

    For more information on Fresh Funded, please visit Check back next week for the next feature project of our Fiscal Sponsorship Feature Series.
    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Apr 16, 2018
    By: Micah Starkey

    Happy Monday! As promised, we are back to feature another of Fresh Arts’ exciting fiscal projects. 
    This week we are featuring the "¡France Spain!" event designed by Agnès Bourely and friends. The event will be a fusion exhibition of paint and music that will bring a piece of French and Spanish culture to Houston. Bourely told us that she and her fellow artists wanted to create an exceptional evening where the public could enjoy a classical and contemporary music concert while visiting an art exhibition, and Houston’s multicultural nature offers an ideal setting for such an evening.

    The main attraction of this cultural showcase will be the concert featuring vocalist, Anne-Lise Polchlopek, and international guitarist, Pierre Laniau. Their program blends Polchlopek’s love for Spanish culture and language with Laniau’s affection for the French repertoire for 10-string guitar. They will revisit classical and contemporary music hits as well as other lesser known pieces. The exhibition of paintings by Agnes Bourèly, a French painter settled in Houston, will enhance the musical experience by providing a stimulating and unique visual backdrop.

    The night promises to be a rare, intimate harmony of music and visual art. ADMISSION IS FREE, so don’t miss it!

    For more information on the Fresh Arts Fiscal Sponsorship Program, please visit our website. Check back next week for the next feature project of our Fiscal Sponsorship Feature Series.

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Apr 3, 2018
    Ruby Rivera and The Texas Salsa Congress
    By: Micah Starkey

    Fresh Arts is thrilled to announce that we will be launching a mini blog series called the Fiscal Sponsorship Feature Series. The series will spotlight the Fresh Arts’ 2018 fiscally sponsored projects, the artists behind them and the exciting things they are doing in Houston.

    We kick off our series with salsa queen, Ruby Rivera, founder of the Texas Salsa Congress and a proud product of Houston's Northside. As the child of a single working mother, she didn’t have the opportunity to go to dance classes and other types of extracurricular activities in the city.  Instead, she first discovered the freedom and beauty of the arts through after school programs at her elementary school.  Unfortunately, neither her middle school or high school carried such arts programs, which made her realize that kids of all ages should have access to the arts. 

    As an undergraduate at the University of Texas, Rivera helped create the Latin Nights event on campus where students could come and dance to Latino music that wasn't anywhere near mainstream at the time.  After graduation, she returned to Houston and joined a salsa dance team.  During her two years with the team, Rivera traveled and performed at several events, including the Puerto Rico Salsa Congress, the Chicago Salsa Congress and the New Mexico Salsa Festival.  After being exposed to the international salsa community, Rivera began teaching salsa lessons at Houston's infamous Sky Bar in the Montrose area and eventually at venues throughout the city, including the Downtown Aquarium.  

    Having experienced firsthand how rich and large the Houston salsa community was, Rivera couldn’t help but wonder why the city didn't have a salsa congress of its own. This burning question and the memories of limited access to dance during childhood inspired Rivera to create the Texas Salsa Congress (TSC). 
    In 2005, the TSC came into fruition as an annual three-day namesake event, bringing some of the most renowned dancers, musicians, and instructors from across the United States and the globe. For more than a decade, the TSC has helped create partnerships and establish free, public events, such as Texas Salsa Congress, Latin Beats at the Downtown Aquarium, Salsa Beats, and Salsa Sundays at the Kemah Boardwalk, to showcase dancers, performers, musicians and DJs from the Greater Houston Area. 

    This March the TSC event celebrated its 14th anniversary! The event featured talent from Mexico, Florida, and Puerto Rico, regions all devastated by recent natural disasters. It was a special showcase of how powerful music and dance can be during the rebuilding and healing process. Click here to watch the 2018 recap video!

    Rivera continues to work tirelessly to ensure that Houston is highly regarded within the international salsa community and to provide children, teens, seniors, and families from all walks of life the opportunity to experience the performing arts.  Rivera and the TSC have become an integral part of the Houston arts scene—so much so that in 2010, Mayor Bill White declared August 4th Ruby Rivera Salsa Appreciation Day, and in 2015, Mayor Annise Parker declared a Texas Salsa Congress day in the City of Houston. However, Rivera says that she is most proud of the fact that the Texas Salsa Congress is the longest running salsa congress in the United States that is fully produced and owned by a woman.

    Fresh Arts is proud to support the Texas Salsa Congress and looks forward to the inspiring things they will bring to Houston in the future.

    For more information on the Fresh Arts Fiscal Sponsorship Program, please visit our website. Check back next week for the next feature project of our Fiscal Sponsorship Feature Series.
    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Mar 23, 2018
    By Micah Starkey

    Today's Friday! We're always excited about Fridays, but this week we are especially thrilled since spring is in the air and the Bayou City Art Festival kicks off today! 

    The festival will be a weekend-long celebration of art at Memorial Park with fun for the entire family. Spend the day enjoying live art displays, shopping, listening to live music, grubbing on Houston cuisine and taking part in children's activities. 

    While you're strolling through the market, check out Fresh Arts WHAM artists Tony Parana, Homer Allen, Kristen Kramlich, Adriane Wiltse, and Melanie Schlossberg! Plus, come visit Fresh Arts in the Kid Zone where we'll be coloring one-of-a-kind, Houston inspired coloring pages by Houston graffiti artist, Gonzo247

    Festival hours are March 23-25th from 10am-6pm. Information on tickets and parking can be found at the BCAF website!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Feb 12, 2018


    By Micah Starkey

    Our magic 8 ball has spoken, and... The Crystal Ball brought spectacular fortunes! In fact, it was our most successful gala ever, raising over $200,000 for the Houston arts community!

    The night was nothing short of dazzling.  Patrons brought the sparkle with costumes ranging from crystal-adorned coats and sequin-covered jackets to flashy headpieces and glittery shoes. As always, our honoree, Marita Fairbanks, turned heads in a glistening, white ballgown and a luminous crystal ball headpiece designed by Kasi Kubiak.

    Dressed up and ready to transcend reality, patrons reveled in the glittery, mystic atmosphere. Of course, the extravaganza was a celebration of art with artistic attractions at every turn. The entire Silver Street warehouse glowed purple as crystal projections, designed by Input Output, glimmered on the walls. Live painters John Whaley, Jr., Angela Fabbri, and Daniel Elliott mesmerized onlookers, while tarot card readers and fortune tellers, courtesy of Next Iteration Theatre, told us our future. Neal Hamil Models were turned into fanciful creatures by RCC Creations and roamed alongside-party goers on the dance floor while DJ Yung Hiram brought out the dancer in all of us.


    Attendees delighted in delicious hors-d'oeuvres from Grace’s and Carrabba's, and sweet-tooths enjoyed the Candylicious candy bar, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Jello shots and spiked popsicles from Popston and Austin Eastsiders. And, of course, libations were plentiful, as guests toasted Buffalo Bayou Beer, wine, and the Crystal Ball’s featured cocktails, the Crystal Gayle (made with Deep Eddy’s vodka) and the Billy Crystal (made with TX Whiskey).

    We are gleaming with excitement at the success of the Crystal Ball! A special THANK YOU to the sponsors and artists who made this wonderful night possible:



    Eloise Nichols Grill and Liquors


    Deep Eddy Vodka

    Buffalo Bayou Brewing

    GTX Event Productions

    Art Attack

    Neal Hamil Agency


    Le Meridien Houston Downtown

    ShutterBooth Houston

    Austin Eastciders

    Côté Mas provided by

    Stephanie and Ernie Cockrell & Houston Wine Merchant

    Sequester Wine provided by

    Raquel and Andrew Segal


    RCC Creations

    Swift + Company

    TX Whiskey


    Pinks Pizza

    Jerry's Artarama

    Sprinkles Cupcakes

    Paper City

    Shipley Do-Nuts


    Silver Street



    RCC Creations

    Next Iteration Theatre

    ShutterBooth Houston

    ms. YET

    Input Output

    DJ Yung Hiram

    John Whaley, Jr.

    Angela Fabbri

    Daniel Elliott

    Neal Hamil Agency

    Poetry Busker Traci Thiebaud


    And, finally, thank you to all who celebrated with Fresh Arts! We can’t wait to see you again next year—and to top this year’s fundraising feat!!


    Click HERE for the Crystal Ball event pictures, and HERE for Shutterbooth Houston photos.

    For more post-event coverage visit,, and

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jan 31, 2018


    Creating the Crystal Ball Experience – Part 2

    By: Micah Starkey


    It’s Gala week!! And, as promised, we are back to introduce more of the artists that will be creating the mystical atmosphere of our Crystal Ball.


    Angela Fabbri, Fabbriology

    Live Painter

    Although Angela Fabbri has been pursuing art for 7 years, she dove into live painting just a year ago. Her first live painting experience was during Houston’s Super Bowl saga, and she has loved it ever since!

    In the past, Fabbri didn’t like the idea of people looking at her pieces until they were finished. However, over time, Fabbri gained confidence as an artist and is now invigorated by sharing her creative process with others. She explains, “I thrive on the energy of the people anticipating what the final piece will look like…it’s pure magic.”

    Fabbri is a self-proclaimed color-obsessed artist whose contemporary, vibrant style is inspired by life, music and the concept of time. So, of course, her Crystal Ball pieces will feature lots of color and playful messaging, but we will have to wait until Friday to see all that she has in store!


    Y. E. Torres, ms. YET

    Fusion Belly Dancer

    Y. E. Torres (ms. YET) - 2017,

    Y. E. Torres (ms. YET) is a fusion belly dancer, burlesque performer, teacher, curator, model, and muse. She has been belly-dancing for 24 years and even earned a spot in the Houston Music and Arts Hall of Fame in 2016.

    ms. YET describes herself as an “exhibition of deviance and sweetness”. To her, dance is an expression of her emotion—a direct reflection of her survival. To create these caricatures, ms. YET relies on her background in fashion, fabric design and drawing. What she once created in still art forms, she now expresses dynamically through the movement of dance.

    Unique to her creative process is her anti-choreography mindset. Instead of performing choreographed pieces, ms. YET works in a space she calls “structured improvisation”. Since the inspiration for her creative work is constantly changing, no two performances are the same.

    ms. YET seeks to motivate, inspire and revitalize her audience and is ignited by connections with other artists. She is especially excited to entertain alongside other Gala performers and to be the mystical muse in our captivating Crystal Ball realm.



    Excited to see what Angela and ms. YET have in store for us? Of course, you are! 

    Buy your Crystal Ball Gala tickets now to ensure you will see these unforgettable live art displays.



    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jan 31, 2018

    Curious about what to expect? Click the video above!
    Fresh Arts Coalition founder and Crystal Ball honoree, Marita Fairbanks, and Glasstire founder, Rainey Knudson, sit down and share funny stories of past Fresh Arts galas, while giving tips on how to have the best gala experience!

    Fresh Arts works to strengthen the sustainability and vibrancy of Houston's arts sector by bolstering the capacity and professional practice of artists and arts organizations and enhancing the public's engagement with the arts.
    Through its annual gala, Fresh Arts raises the critical funding needed to continue its work in strengthening the Houston arts community by supporting the artists who create it.
    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jan 24, 2018

    Creating the Crystal Ball Experience – Part 1

    By: Micah Starkey

    To create the mystifying aura of the Crystal Ball Gala, Fresh Arts will rely on spectacular artists ranging from captivating dancers, to enchanting body painters, and we are thrilled to introduce some of them to you in this blog, and the next.


    Rudy Campos, RCC Creations

    Body Painter

    Instagram: @Creatures_and_Paint

    Rudy Campos is a body painter who has been mesmerizing gala patrons for 3 years now. 

    Campos went to school for makeup and makeup FX (special effects). Once he finished, he began exploring his love for other forms of makeup, including body painting.  He then was approached by a model friend who proposed that he paint her for a photoshoot. He agreed, and so began his affection for body painting. Campos laughingly remembers, “The pictures and design were pretty laughable, to say the least, compared to what I'm capable of now, but, nevertheless, I take pride in them since they were my first.”

    When asked about the live element of body painting, Campos expresses that he loves how the painting process becomes interactive. He is thrilled at the idea of people coming to watch the process since it is usually a new experience for them. To him, watching people see a live canvas transform into a work of art is priceless. 

    This year marks Rudy’s third year at the Fresh Arts Gala, and he is dreaming of gemstones, graffiti and 80’s vapor for his Crystal Ball masterpieces.  He says he is always the most excited about the people at the Gala. He loves the variety of people who are in the crowd and is inspired by the fashion and creativity in all the outfits and makeup.



    Image by: @rudovell

    Alex Ramos, Input Output

    Light Installations

    Instagram: @1nput0utput


    Alex Ramos and his team at Input Output are the masters behind the exciting light installations that will bring the walls of Silver Street Studios to life.

    By implementing various digital technologies in inventive ways, they manipulate the properties of light, sound, and space to play with viewers’ perceptions. Ramos explains the sensation of each experience is guided by the human perceptions of sight, sound and touch.  Each piece is designed to be playful but mystical, leaving people questioning their experience.

    To Ramos and his team, the gala is a creative playground. Ramos expresses his excitement saying, “The Crystal Ball theme of this year’s gala especially lends itself to the playful aspect of our work, as transporting patrons to a new world using technology is the pinnacle of our creative process.”

    Excited to see what Rudy and Alex’s team at Input Output have in store for us? Of course, you are! 

    Buy your Crystal Ball Gala tickets now to ensure you will see these unforgettable live art displays.


    Check back next week to read about more gala artists!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jan 17, 2018
     By Micah Starkey
    Each year, one the most anticipated features of the Fresh Arts Gala is the showcase of costumes. Our themed inspiration sets the stage for an imaginative, eye-catching display of fashion. At galas past we’ve seen Hollywood celebrities and fantasy creatures, aliens and astronauts, cotton candy hair and life-sized candy bars, candy skulls and paint splattered suits.  With such an impressive track record, we can hardly wait to see what our patrons will come up with for this year’s crystal-crazed affair. To get your imagination going, we are sharing our muses and costume ideas for the 2018 Crystal Ball Gala.
    80’s Glam Punk
    Our muse for this category is none other than The Purple One, the legendary Prince. His iconic mashups put the glamour in glam-punk. To create your own Prince-inspired look, try anything that dazzles, such as: 
    • All things purple
    • Sequins
    • Ruffles
    • Lace
    • Iridescent fabric
    • Tousled curls
    • Metal studs or spikes
    • Platform shoes

    Fortune Teller
    Every crystal ball party demands the presence of a fortune teller. Embody the mysterious ambience of a fortune teller’s tent with the following:
    • Long, flowy, multi-layered skirts
    • Harem pants
    • Headwraps
    • Corset top
    • Long necklaces, bangles and rings 
    • Beaded hip belt
    • Tarot cards or a crystal ball
    • Tousled waves
    • Knee-high boots (with skirts), sandals, or colorful flats


    Glitzy and Gatsby
    Of course, all that glitters has a place at the Crystal Ball. Bring the sparkle by capturing the Gatsby glow of the roaring 20’s or adorning yourself in royal jewels. For those who want to shine in the spotlight, create an unforgettable look with stunning pieces like:
    • Flapper dresses
    • Beaded gowns or tops
    • Sequins
    • Crystals
    • Glitzy jewelry
    • Tiaras and crowns
    • Embellished headpieces 

    Finally, since crystal balls are gateways into our future, so too should our costumes be.  Futuristic costumes are the perfect playground for our creative party-goers, because the options are limitless. While there are no rules for futuristic fashion, these starting points can fuel your look: 
    • Architectural lines
    • Avant garde 
    • Metallic colors
    • Body suits
    • Imagination 

    Have a stellar idea for a crystal-crazed costume? 
    Upload a sketch of your costume on Instagram with the tag #CrystalCostumes by January 26th for a chance to win a free ticket to the party!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jan 10, 2018

    The Fresh Arts Gala is a party unlike any other. It is always a dreamy affair that transports patrons into a wonderland complete with cocktails, live music, and costumes.  As we anticipate the excitement for our upcoming Crystal Ball Gala, we are reliving the fantasies of galas past.

    The Space Ball of 2014 was an interstellar event that was out of this world! Imagine a universe where characters from Star Trek, Star Wars, Space Jam and NASA came together for one intergalactic party. Yes, really, aliens, robots, Princess Leia, Spock and countless other space dwellers partied together, in peace we might add!


    The Gum Ball of 2015 took us to the whimsical and sugary world of Willie Wonka. Every Oompa Loompa and life-sized candy bar in Houston had a golden ticket to this sweet, candy-licious soiree which featured Wonka’s favorite treats and aerial acrobatics—although, we may have spiked a few of Wonka’s recipes! 

    The Paint Ball of 2016 was a colorful display of pop art, glam graffiti, and neon glow paint. Van Gogh himself flaunted his lovely Starry Night while men in paint-splattered suits danced under glow paint inspired light installations.  

    The Cineball of 2017 was an impressive star-studded evening with bright lights and real-life golden globes. Our celebrities enjoyed popcorn, spiked slushies, and candy galore at this Hollywood dream. Cruella de Vil, Darth Vader, Mrs. Piggy, Maleficent, Regina George, The Cowardly Lion, and Marie Antoinette were just a few who walked the red carpet that night.

    And finally! Gala 2018…drumroll please! Okay, so maybe no drumroll since it’s no secret that the 2018 Gala has been dubbed The Crystal Ball, but we don’t blame you for being starry-eyed. This shining affair promises to be a dazzling, glam-punk party inspired by all that glitters.  Transcend reality when you consult our fortune teller or visit the tarot card reader for a mysterious glance into your future. Whether it's '20s glitz or '80s glam, a futuristic design, or head-to-toe crystals, just be sure to bring the sparkle. We promise good fortunes await at the Crystal Ball! 

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Nov 13, 2017
    Ugly Sweaters Have More Fun!
    By Micah Starkey, WHAM 2017 Intern

    Of all the countless holiday traditions out there, none of them have quite the personality of the beloved ugly sweater.  Last year, we dubbed our Friday Night Preview Party an ugly sweater affair—because who doesn’t want to spread some joy by wearing a silly, quirky, even ugly sweater!

    WHAM is a celebration of all things crafty, creative and hand-made, so what better way to join the fun than by making your own ugly holiday sweater.  From bows to glitter, tinsel and lights, you can have all the bells and whistles—literally!  An old sweater plus a trip to your favorite craft store or a rummage through your old holiday décor is all you need to make the perfect ugly sweater.  

    Deck your sweater out with metallic tinsel and add pom-poms, ornaments or bells as the finishing touch. Battery-powered strings of lights are sure to draw attention. If you prefer to keep it simple, use felt to create your favorite holiday shapes on your sweater. Finally, use bows on headbands, bobby-pins or ties to create the perfect accessory for your festive fashion statement. The possibilities are endless—plus, no one will hold it against you if it’s ugly…that’s the point!

    Not the DIY type? Your favorite vintage store is likely to stock up on ugly sweaters during the holidays. Retropolis in the Heights and Pavement Houston Clothing in Montrose are just a couple of holiday sweater destinations in Houston.  You could also browse a vast selection on Etsy or try your luck at your local Goodwill store.  I’ve even had luck at my neighborhood Marshall’s from time to time.  And if all else fails, maybe look in your grandmother’s closet. (No offense, Grandma!)

    Of course, we wouldn’t leave you feeling all dressed-up with nowhere to go! Once you have made or found the ugliest of ugly sweaters, you are ready to join us for the WHAM 2017 Friday Night Preview Party and Happy Hour.  The night will be a special sneak peek of all WHAM art complete with a complimentary open bar and will be attended by over 500 patrons and the WHAM artists.  So, grab your sweater and your Preview Party tickets, and we’ll see you there!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Oct 25, 2017

    Interview with WHAM participant, Michael Leanes

    Tell me about yourself and your work.

    I started making furniture almost two years ago now. I was finishing undergrad in psychology. I never thought I would get into this. I started doing it for fun. I few people liked what they saw and started buying my stuff. A hobby turned more into something that I thought, “Hey, I can do this.” Now I’m at Houston Baptist University getting my Masters of Fine Arts. I’m a full-time student and also doing commission work on the side. They’ve been super helpful and have had open arms about having somebody that does something different. Most of the people here paint, do sculptures, ceramics, stuff like that.

    Who or what inspires your work the most?

    It started simply, like, hey, I want to make some cool stuff. I wanted to make my own furniture for my house. As I got more into it, it became more about the design aspect of it and making some really pretty furniture that looks nice, but also functions really well. My dad owns a machine shop, so I grew up in a really industrial setting. I saw a lot of how things are made – things with really high precision. I wanted to bring that to furniture. 

    What advice would you give to someone beginning a career as an artist?

    At the beginning, you have to take some risks. Even now, I wish I had more or bigger work, or more expensive work that I was being commissioned. But more than anything, just be thankful for what you have. And with what you have, try to do work that pushes your limits. People like to see the thing. I’ve had work that I’ve been trying to make for a while, and when I explain it to people, they don't get it. Once I make it, someone automatically wants it. Take those risks. Make something even if you think people may not be open-minded to it. They definitely will be.

    How/where do you typically sell/showcase your work?

    All of my sales are through word of mouth. We just recently did our website. People will send me emails through that. That’d be another piece of advice I’d give somebody – before you launch a website, make sure you have something that looks professional, even if you are really small. 

    As a past WHAM artist, what do you like most about the event?

    Meeting all of the different people that come through. The Heights area, the area that the studios are in. There’s a lot of people that are just now moving into the neighborhood. They’re quirky. They like different things. They like nice things. They’re living in these older houses that they’re re-doing. It’s just nice to meet that array of people. It’s a really cool event. You don't really know what you’re going to see until you get there. I think that’s people. People get to go to a different kind of market. It’s not the same style that you see everywhere else. 

    Do you use your talent to make handmade gifts for friends and family during the holidays?

    Yes. Usually, a lot of my friends will get married and we will make them a set of different cutting boards or big salad bowls. We’ve made them all kinds of little knick-knacks, like candles and mason jars. I gave a couple of my friends coffee tables. It’s more enjoyable. You’re not doing it for a paid gig, but out of your kindness. It’s nice being able to make stuff with your own hands that people can enjoy.

    What makes the perfect handmade gift?

    I think it’s something simple. Not over the top. Something that they can use. When you make something like a coffee table that is open-ended, it can be used for lots of stuff.

    What is the worst gift you have ever received?

    A fridge magnet from someone’s vacation. Or a postcard. Like, “Hey, look what you missed out on!”

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Oct 24, 2017

    Interview with WHAM participant, Tony Paraná  |  Facebook: Tony Paraná  |  Instagram: @tonyparana

    Tell me your story. What brought you to your art?

    I did a little bit of work when I was young. When you’re a kid, you don’t know what you really want to do or what you’re going to be. Painting was a distraction at the moment, but I was a kid. I wanted to play around. A few years later, I moved to San Paulo. I was nineteen. The place where I worked had an art class across the street. I got interested and I met the owner. He was teaching classes. I was listening and looking and thought it was really cool. I took one class with him. I came to the United States in 2002. After coming to the U.S., something struck me. I decided to paint. I lived next to a guy with a gallery and went and talked to him. He said, “Yeah, man, create some stuff, and if I like your work, we can do a show here.” That was in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I guess there wasn’t a lot of art around, because he allowed me to do a solo show. I created ten pieces and people came to support. After that, I just kept moving. I’m a self-taught artist. In that aspect, I feel really blessed to have the natural skill of transferring things to canvas. It’s something that makes me feel at home. I’m from Brazil. I lived there for twenty years. Everything I try to describe in art is something related to me from home – playing in the streets, going to street festivals, listening and looking at things I shouldn’t be looking at. That was always interesting to me. When I had the chance to transfer that to the canvas, it made me feel really, really happy. Since then, I’ve tried to open an art group in Albuquerque. I had meetings and stuff, but ended up having to move to LA. When I moved to LA, I was basically working in TV. I still had chances to show my art in a few places there. After two years in LA, I moved to Houston in 2006, 2007. I started finding a studio for myself. I organized the first Montrose Art Soiree, which was fifteen artists in an old building that we turned into an arts show – kind of an underground art show. I came to the idea of opening an art group. The idea built from New Mexico, where it couldn’t happen, to Houston. We opened Montrose Art Society, which was a really good experience with ten, twelve artists. But you know, when you have more than one artist, it’s really hard to make a decision. Two years ago, Eduardo, my partner, and I organized the Forum 6 gallery space. This year, Eduardo said that it was time for us to do it. We moved out of here, because this was our studio, and we opened Forum 6, which is the collective space. We have twelve different, local, established artists, and they’re very talented. This is our third show and we have a lot of good things coming up. 

    What work have you done in the past? What are you working on currently?

    This timeline is something that the artist goes through. You start creating and you have one feeling, one idea of what you want to do and what you want to be. As time passes by, new things come to you and you pass through personal situations and emotions. Your art changes and develops. When I look at stuff I did before, I say, “What is this? I got to fix this. It doesn’t look right. I have to change it,” but you can’t change it. It’s your history. It has to be there. The things I do today are more political. I love bringing out issues that people may pass by without looking. I try to manifest social issues. This has developed from before. I guess it’s a natural thing, like when you’re born, you learn to walk, but you don’t know how to run. Then you learn how to run. Things come to you as time passes. Today, my work is more fine. I work on my personal technique, my own way of painting, and having a better way to make people understand my work.

    What inspires you?

    Vibrant cultures vibrant energies, and vibrant people. I play music. No matter where you are, music has that dynamic energy source. Music is something that I like to have in my work. I also do capoeira, which is a Brazilian martial art. If you had to sum me up, it would be capoeira, art, and music, which are the three things I do. Capoeira is the one I like the most. It connects me with my soul, body, and mind. Capoeira is such a gigantic source of energy. I always like to describe capoeira in my work. Especially now. There was a time that I used to do a lot of drawings from pictures. That was okay. That kind of work was never my focus because it was very different. Today, I realize that people like my personal creations more than my drawings because there’s more of me – who I am. There’s energy. It’s me because I’m creating. It’s unique. My country is something that really inspired me. I grew up in the ghetto, the poor neighborhood, where people walk in the street barefoot, people struggle, there’s crime. There’s also a lot of good people. Those are the things that really come to mind when I think, “Who do you represent? What do you like to do?” It was tough, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I experienced playing in the street, having a fight over here, someone jumping the fence to steal fruit from a neighbor, a dog over here. Those no price to those kinds of things. I try to pass that living experience.

    Where can we find your work?

    I recently came from Paris from a show there, which is the second time I’ve been to Paris. Finally, here in Houston, I applied for the Bayou City Art Festival. I’ve applied four times, one year after the other. Three years ago, they finally accepted me. The first year, I got second place. I got paid for that. This year, they asked me to be the featured artist. In Houston I’ve had a show at War’Hous, small places, small galleries. White Linen Night in the Heights. I didn’t really have good luck with galleries. I didn’t try to reach galleries. I believe in your journey. When things come to you, they came for a reason. Galleries didn’t come to me and I’m okay with that. My work has traveled. I’ve sold a couple pieces in Paris, LA, New York. I’ve had my work sold in Finland. Germany. Nothing really big here yet.

    What do you think of the arts scene in Houston?

    Because of the diversity of the city, I believe we have the potential to be #1 in the U.S., as far as arts go. We have great museums. We have a lot of really good support for the artists. There are a lot of organizations that provide money to individual artists to create their own work. There’s a lot of grants out there. It’s really important to have this money available to the arts. You have to work your way to the top, but also give your presence and support to others. Houston is a spotlight for art. A lot of international artists come here. We have a lot of potential to grow. 

    How do you like working in the Washington Avenue Arts District?

    It’s the heart of art. The Museum District is the place for the big players. For emerging artists, this area is the heart of Houston. Everything related to art that comes to Houston passes through us. If artists are looking for more exposure, they have to get one of these studios. They are big plentiful, and you do pay a lot, there is no doubt about that, but you get opportunities here that you wouldn’t get at your house or garage. 

    Tell me about your involvement with Fresh Arts. How has the organization influenced you and your work?

    My first connection with Fresh Arts was when we opened Montrose Art Society. In 2008 or 2009 we were looking for different resources that we could provide to the artists in Montrose Art Society. I did the registration and thought it was a really good opportunity for us to collaborate with this organization. Look what they can do. There’s stuff that they already do that we want to do – different ideas and options for people. We talked to them and hosted a show called The Candy Shop, which was done at the old location with Spacetaker. It was a great experience. Everyone is super helpful. They really love what they do. They’re so busy. Everyone is really professional. They host very good events – The WHAM, I’ve been part of that show for about six years. It’s one of the best events for me. It’s a lot of exposure and sales. It’s very important for the city because they do so many things, like workshops that focus on making an artist more professional, how to write a grant, and how to approach new places. Fresh Arts is one of the best, if not the best in Houston. Even better than Houston Arts Alliance. Fresh Arts is one of my favorites.

    Looking onward, how do you see your work growing?

    I’ll say that each artist has the dream of being famous. What I want for my work is to create something that’s meaningful to the world. I want to be able to sustain myself, so make enough money to live a quiet, simple life. I also want to be known for the work that I do. The work that I do does not only represent me, it represents a whole group of people. It represents a kind of struggle that’s real and makes people reflect and think about it. I look at my work as a statement. Like, I’m creating a beautiful thing, but it also makes people think about the message. 

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Oct 18, 2017
    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Oct 11, 2017

    Welcome (Back) to WHAM!

    by Micah Starkey

    These days, October can only mean one thing—the holiday season is upon us! For the Fresh Arts team this means our favorite time of year is back—it’s WHAM season, Houston!  And by WHAM we mean the Winter Holiday Art Market, duh!

    We are excited to once again be kicking-off the holiday season and decking the halls of Winter Street Studios for a three-day showcase of Houston’s most vibrant and talented artists. Over the past 12 years WHAM has not only become an annual city-wide, but most importantly the event also serves as an important platform to promote artists’ economic and professional growth. To-date WHAM has generated over one million dollars for Houston’s creative community and continues to be an excellent opportunity for locals and tourists alike to discover Houston’s artistic gems. Amidst the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, this year’s WHAM will serve as a festive regathering for our community and will be an inspiring showcase of the resiliency of our lively city. 

    For newcomers, WHAM offers a wide variety of curated fine arts and handmade goods from local artists and artisans of all disciplines and features artist demonstrations, live music performances, free (adult) beverages, and food for sale by local vendors. WHAM is not just a market... it's a celebration! 

    The Winter Holiday Art Market is one of Houston's largest juried art markets featuring exclusively local artists, and offers a unique mix of fine art and one-of-a-kind crafts—including paintings, sculpture, and photography, as well as jewelry, clothing, and soaps—from emerging and established independent artists. This year WHAM will showcase 65+ Houston-based artists with a mix of familiar faces and fresh talent.

    So, as the holiday season approaches—quickly as always!—we are ramping up in full WHAM spirit. We look forward to celebrating our favorite holiday tradition with you November 17-19, 2017. Stay tuned for exclusive interviews with our WHAM artists, handy shopping guides and everything else you need to know about the WHAM experience. Until then, welcome (back) to WHAM!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Sep 12, 2017

    In light of the unbelievable devastation recently unleashed on Houston and surrounding areas of the Texas gulf coast, Fresh Arts is joining with partners across Texas to raise funds for local artists affected by Hurricane Harvey. 

    The arts are a huge player in local economies throughout Texas, with Americans in the Arts reporting $7 billion in spending by cultural audiences last year in Texas. In Houston alone there are over 12,000 professional artists, and Texas' nonprofit arts organizations support over 200,000 full-time jobs. Many of our Texas artists have seen a devastating loss of work, supplies, and live/work space in recent days. 

    With the Immediate Disaster Relief Fund for Texas Artists, Fresh Arts hopes to give these artists the help they need to rebuild. 100% of proceeds raised will be given to individual artists to help them with their immediate recovery needs, which will include everything from buying cleaning supplies, to preserving their work, to beginning the rebuilding of their studio or live/work space. 

    Benefiting artists will apply online to receive funding, and will be selected by a jury of arts professionals based on need. We will accelerate the application process to help artists access money for relief and recovery as quickly as possible. 



    If you or an artist you know is interested in applying for Immediate Disaster Relief Fund for Texas Artists support, please sign up here to receive notifications regarding the application process.


    Additionally, Fresh Arts is waiving membership fees for our fiscal sponsorship program to artists and arts projects affected by Hurricane Harvey, and will accelerate the application process to help artists raise money for relief and recovery as quickly as possible. 

    Fiscal Sponsorship provides access to Fresh Arts new crowdfunding platform and allows you to seek grants and solicit tax-deductible donations under Fresh Arts' exempt status. In the aftermath of Harvey, this will enable artists to access emergency funding available to aid with recovery as well as the preservation and rebuilding of your creative projects! To apply for fiscal sponsorship:


    Fresh Arts has compiled an "Emergency Resources for Artists" which includes national emergency artist grants and funding opportunities, general resource guides, and more.  Check it out HERE.


    Fresh Arts is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to strengthening the sustainability and vibrancy of Houston's arts sector by bolstering the capacity and professional practice of artists and arts organizations and enhancing the public's engagement with the arts. All donations made to the Immediate Disaster Relief Fund for Texas Artists are 100% tax deductible. 

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Sep 5, 2017


    For a limited time, Fresh Arts is waiving membership fees for our fiscal sponsorship program to artists and arts projects affected by Hurricane Harvey, and will accelerate the application process and provide access to Fresh Arts crowdfunding platform to help artists raise money for relief and recovery as quickly as possible. 

    Fiscal Sponsorship allows you to seek grants and solicit tax-deductible donations under Fresh Arts' exempt status. In the aftermath of Harvey, this will enable artists to access emergency funding available to aid with recovery as well as the preservation and rebuilding of your creative projects! 

    To apply for fiscal sponsorship:


    Fresh Arts has compiled an "Emergency Resources for Artists" which includes national emergency artist grants and funding opportunities, general resource guides, and more.  Check it out HERE.


    Fresh Arts is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to strengthening the sustainability and vibrancy of Houston's arts sector by bolstering the capacity and professional practice of artists and arts organizations and enhancing the public's engagement with the arts. 

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Aug 28, 2017

    UPDATED on 9/12/2017


    In light of the unbelievable devastation Hurricane Harvey has unleashed on Houston and surrounding areas of the Texas gulf coast, Fresh Arts has compiled an "Emergency Resources for Artists" Google Spreadsheet that can be found here. The sheet includes national emergency artist grants/funding opportunities, general resource guides, local emergency response info, and links to area shelters, volunteer opportunities and more. While several resources are listed for individual artists and arts organizations, MANY of the listed resources apply to anyone in need. 

    Special thanks to Dennis Nance, Glasstire, Dance Source, DiverseWorks, Lawndale Art Center and so many others that have contributed resources and information. Fresh Arts will continue to add and share resources and invite others to do the same as it becomes available.  Stay safe, stay strong.  #HoustonStrong

    Disaster Claims Resource Document

    Need guidance on what information you need to file a FEMA Disaster Claim or a Texas Unemployment Claim? Check out this handy overview guide prepared by our friends at Avenue CDC and Harvey Arts Recovery.


    For a limited time, Fresh Arts is waiving membership fees for our fiscal sponsorship program to artists and arts projects affected by Hurricane Harvey, and will accelerate the application process and provide access to Fresh Arts crowdfunding platform to help artists raise money for relief and recovery as quickly as possible. 

    Fiscal Sponsorship allows you to seek grants and solicit tax-deductible donations under Fresh Arts' exempt status. In the aftermath of Harvey, this will enable artists to access emergency funding available to aid with recovery as well as the preservation and rebuilding of your creative projects!  LEARN MORE.

    To apply for fiscal sponsorship:

     Immediate Disaster Relief Fund for Texas Artists

    Powered by Fresh Arts, the fund will give Texas artists the immediate help they need to rebuild. 100% of proceeds raised will be given to individual artists to help them with their immediate recovery needs, which will include everything from buying cleaning supplies, to preserving their work, to beginning the rebuilding of their studio or live/work space. 

    Benefiting artists will apply online to receive funding, and will be selected by a jury of arts professionals based on need. We will accelerate the application process to help artists access money for relief and recovery as quickly as possible. 

    If you are an artist interested in applying for Immediate Disaster Relief Fund for Texas Artists support, click here to apply for funding now.


    Stay up-to-date

    For real-time updates and local news on Hurricane Harvey disaster relief, check out The City of Houston Emergency Information Center where you can also find handy links for the National Weather Service Radar, the CenterPoint Power Outage Tracker, and more.

    Live Updates from Mayor Sylvester Turner (On Twitter: @SylvesterTurner)

    * Keep up with Road Closures & Conditions and see real-time conditions via Houston Transtar Camera Views.

    Access Emergency Funding

    For Artists

    * Fresh Arts Emergency Resource List has an extensive list of emergency grants for artists and non-artists alike. Most notable for artists: The Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+) provides emergency relief assistance including grants, no-interest loans, booth fee waivers and discounts on supplies and equipment.

    * The Joan Mitchell Foundation provides emergency support to visual artists working in the mediums of painting, sculpture, and/or drawing, who have suffered significant losses after natural or manmade disasters that have affected their community.  

    * The Haven Foundation offers emergency financial assistance to safeguard and sustain the careers of established freelance artists, writers and other members of the arts and art production communities who have suffered disabilities or experienced a career-threatening illness, accident, natural disaster or personal catastrophe.

    * NEW - for Houston-based Artists:  Fresh Arts is waiving membership fees for our fiscal sponsorship program to eligible artists and arts projects affected by Hurricane Harvey, and will accelerate the application process to help artists raise money for relief and recovery as quickly as possible.  

    Fiscal Sponsorship allows you to seek grants and solicit tax-deductible donations under Fresh Arts' exempt status. In the aftermath of Harvey, this will enable artists to access emergency funding available to aid with recovery as well as the preservation and rebuilding of your creative projects!
    To see if you're eligible and apply now, click HERE.  

    For anyone

    * You don't have to be an artist to find emergency relief through FEMA's where you can apply for numerous programs through a single application. Prefer to speak to someone about their emergency programs? Call 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA). Disaster assistance applicants who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

    * Did you or a loved one lose your job because of Hurricane Harvey? Please know that you can apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance online through the Texas Workforce Commission. Due to the impact to mail delivery, they encourage you to select direct deposit as your payment method.

    Feeling helpless and want to help others in need?

    * Volunteer your time (if you can do so safely!)

    Anyone wanting and safely able to volunteer their time at TX and LA shelters, register to become a volunteer via American Red Cross. The Red Cross is also handling volunteer logistics for numerous places including the George R. Brown Convention Center. For those specifically interested in volunteering at the GRB, first complete the easy 4-step volunteer registration process online at once cleared, check-in at GRB Hall E Red Cross volunteer desk. Parking at Hilton Americas-Houston is open and free of charge.

    * Share your home:

    Did you know that AirBnB has set up a Disaster Response Program where individuals can donate space for evacuees?  All service fees are waived for those affected by the Hurricane Harvey disaster and checking in between August 23, 2017 and September 01, 2017.

    * And because pets need help too:

    Austin Pets Alive! has been helping shelters in the direct line of Hurricane Harvey. They've been working with area shelters to transport as many pets as possible to APA. They are accepting donations of money, food and pet supplies, volunteer time, and homes for fostering pet evacuees. The SPCA of Texas seeks foster homes to help care for displaced animals: They also need financial donations and in-kind donations, including cat litter, litter boxes, towels, blankets, large wire crates, toys, treats, pet beds, newspaper and gas gift cards.

    * For with means to donate $$:

    Fresh Arts Immediate Disaster Relief Fund for Texas Artists, will give Texas artists the help they need to rebuild. 100% of proceeds raised will be given to individual artists to help them with their immediate recovery needs, which will include everything from buying cleaning supplies, to preserving their work, to beginning the rebuilding of their studio or live/work space. 

    Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax deductible flood relief donations for victims that have been affected by the recent floods. The fund will be housed at the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity. 
    You can also peruse hundreds of crowdfunding pages at Go Fund to help support individuals who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.

    Avoid scams!

    With millions of people affected by the ravages of Hurricane Harvey, there will inevitably be scammers and con artists looking to prey on people who have been displaced, whose homes need extensive repairs, and on the rest of us who want to help by donating to a cause that will help them. has you covered with some tips on How To Avoid Scams & Fake Charities In Aftermath Of Hurricane Harvey to keep scammers at bay.

    Stay connected with the #HoustonStrong community

    There are also dozens of Hurricane Harvey Facebook groups popping providing a community forum to share resources, flood photos, and locate emergency help for themselves or loved ones. One of the largest is the FB group with over 100k members: Hurricane Harvey 2017 - Together We Will Make It; TOGETHER WE WILL REBUILD.

    For a comprehensive list of general and artist-specific resources visit Fresh Arts' Emergency Resources for Artists spreadsheet.

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Aug 21, 2017

    One of Fresh Arts fiscally sponsored projects is bringing vibrant colors to First Ward! 

    Carol Simon, local artist and creator of First Ward is Blooming, seeks to involve the community in this innovative beautification project. When finished, the public art installation will consist of 10,ooo painted and cut water bottles arranged like a flower garden on a 150 ft fence along Houston Avenue. 

    First Ward is Blooming
    by Betsy Broaddus

    Walking into the most colorful studio I’ve ever seen, I meet Carol Simon – creator of First Ward is Blooming. Simon creates large pieces of public artwork using recycled water bottles and plenty of bright colors. We chatted about how she stumbled upon art, her inspiration, and desired impact of this beautification project.


    How did you get into art?
    My daughters were both about to go to college and I was planning on becoming a life coach. At the same time, my friends were like, “Let’s do painting classes!” I thought that I was just going to take the class, but not become obsessed. In life coaching, you’re supposed to come up with a vision for your business. Mine was to help women in transition. This led me to realize, okay, maybe life coaching isn’t working, but what I’m really passionate about is painting. It went on from there. Like my work, I’m very fluid and let life take me where it takes me.

    Tell me about First Ward is Blooming.
    When I was on vacation, I saw water bottles that were cut into shapes of flowers, and I thought that was really cool. I ended up going to Prague and saw the John Lennon wall. I thought, wow, people are working on a piece of art together. That’s where I came up with the idea of using these water bottles on a fence and getting the community to work with me. 


    What inspires your work? 
    I’m super inspired by glass art blowing. A lot of glass blowers use these really vibrant colors, like most of my work. You see a theme on my work. Water bottles are very shiny and they’re kind of like glass. People sometimes mistake it for glass. 

    What impact are you trying to make through this project?
    Environmental issues made me realize the importance of this project. Originally, it was just the community making art together. It became the community making statements about water supply, landfills, and other pollutants. My goal is to reach out and find more organizations that have the same mission and purpose. 

    To learn more about the First Ward is Blooming Project or to donate to the cause, visit:

    Want to know how Fresh Arts Fiscal Sponsorship program can help YOU raise more money for your creative project? 
    Join us on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 for a Brown Bag Lunch Info Session at United Way of Greater Houston to learn more about. We will be discussing how fiscal sponsorship works, who is eligible, and the benefits of being fiscally sponsored.  

    This info session is FREE for Fresh Arts Members. Non-member cost is just $5 with early registration*. 
    Free parking and complimentary beverages.

    *early registration ends Tuesday, August 29, 2017.

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Nov 1, 2016
    It's official, the return of WHAM is now less than three weeks away! In anticipation of the eleventh appearance of  Houston's favorite annual art market, we have been talking to some of the artists who will be participating this year. This week Fresh Arts gal Sarah Stevens caught up with fashion illustrator Rongrong DeVoe to get an exclusive insight into her life, work, and her thoughts on the best (and worst) gifts to give this holiday season.

    So I have read your bio and it looks like you have had a pretty incredible life so far! How did you get to be where you are now?
    I have always loved fashion and art! I moved to NYC to study Illustration at Fashion Institute of Technology from China in 2009 and worked as a fashion designer in Manhattan after I graduated. I want to be part of fashion industry while doing something I love, which is drawing.  I decide to become a fashion artist when I moved to Houston mid-year of 2014 and I have been working with fashion companies and ad agencies since then. 

    How did you get into illustration? 
    I learnt how to draw when I was a child. Art is always a big part of my life. So it is my dream to be a full time artist especially in fashion. I decided to pursue my dream to study illustration at at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

    Who or what inspires your work the most?
    I admire a lot of artists, there are so many of them that inspire me. David Downton, Megan Hess, Izak Zenou….

    What advice would you give to someone beginning a career in fashion design/illustration?
    Do not be shy, show your work to people! Be a go-getter!

    What brought you to Houston specifically?
    My husband’s job transferred us from NYC to Houston! I am falling in love with this city more and more!

    How does the art scene here differ from other places you have lived?
    I think there are many kinds of amazing art in this city, people encourage creativity and are often open to experiment with it. I love to visit Silver St. Studio, it always inspires me!

    What made you apply to WHAM? Have you been to the event before?
    I am new to Houston. I have not joined WHAM before, I think I missed the deadline the last few times! That is why I am super excited for this one!

    Have you participated in large-scale art markets before?
    Never. I have not participated in any large-scale market before. And I am super excited to show people some of my original large-scale artworks for the first time!

    Do you use your talent to make handmade gifts for friends and family during the holidays?
    Yes, I did custom family portraits for my in-laws’ family.

    What makes the perfect handmade gift?
    I think it is something the artist put a lot of heart and thoughts into.

    What is the worst gift you have ever received?
    Pickles? Not one jar but two!!!!
    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Oct 18, 2016

    In the beginning of the year, our friend Brittany Bly, organizer of PopShop Houston, gave us great advice of 10 Handmade Artists to Follow on Instagram.  Since then, we've enjoyed a new feed full of exciting looks into the beautiful practice of hardworking local artisans.  So in preparation of the 2016 Winter Holiday Art Market, we're adding our favorites to the list - and all of them are participating artists in this year's WHAM! 

    We Agree! 
    Brittany's got a great eye for style, design, and creativity.  So we definitely agree with her choices of these Instagram accounts:


    Rongrong DeVoe is a first time WHAM artist and we're happy to have her!  Her body of work includes drawings and paintings that are influenced by her background in clothing design and fashion illustration.  Her Instagram is full of outfit inspiration for fashionistas and style-watchers. 


    Tiny Deer Studio's Instagram is sure to brighten up your day (literally!).  Artist and photographer Jessica Watkins posts quirky, pastel photos of tiny animal pins, orchestrated scenes, and patterns you'll get lost in. She also features giveaway contests... and you could be the next winner! 

    LuxCups is owned and operated by husband-wife team Libby and John Napier, and because we strongly believe you can never have too many animal cartoons in your feed, we had to include them in our list of favorite Instagrams.  Not only will you find their popular pins and jewelry on their page, but they also post sketches and in-process peeks

    Even More to Love!
    This year's WHAM features 90 artists, which means there's even more to love!  To get a better idea of what you'll find on November 18th, follow these Instagram accounts:

    Brianna Land is the brains and braun behind Adrift in My Mind, a line of hand-crafted reclaimed wood artwork.  Although we believe her pieces somehow look more amazing in person, her IG posts are filled with stunning geometric assemblages, accompanied by insightful narrative captions in which Bri honestly discusses the struggles, triumphs, and inspiration behind her work.  

    Homer Allen may be new to the Instagram game, but each one of his posts offers an awe-inspiring look at the hard work he puts into his artistic practice.  It's clear that he treats each of his paintings with individual care, allowing them to grow and flourish like the flowers he depicts.  We're excited to have this glimpse into Homer's practice and think you should follow him to come along for the ride as well!

    Birch and Goldberry's Instagram account features photos of colorful landscapes and overgrown plants - and its easy to see where makers Hillaree Hamblin, Stephanie Hamblin, and Elizabeth Meeks get inspiration for their painterly handcrafted soaps and candles.  They also post sneak peeks of their handmade gift-wrapping paper, ensuring you'll be able to entirely complete your holiday shopping and gift preparation after one day at WHAM. 

    Lisa Chow curates the perfect Instagram if you're not afraid of a little glitter bomb! Her images take us back to the joy of kindergarden craft time with the sophistication and style of young-adulthood.  The best part is... it's always party time with Lisa Chow!

    Of course, we wish we could talk about what we love in each of our WHAM 2016 artists' Instagrams, but we're too busy refreshing our feeds and passing out likes!  However, we will be featuring each of the participating artists on our Instagram (@freshartsorg), so tune in to find other great profiles to follow!

    Who are you looking forward to seeing at WHAM 2016?  Tell us in the comments or on Facebook, and most importantly - mark your calendars for the Winter Holiday Art Market, running November 18th thru the 20th! 

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Aug 17, 2016

    Fresh Arts' new office is around the corner at
    The Silos at Sawyer
    1502 Sawyer Street, Studio #103 
    Houston, TX, 77007 

    Our official move date is August 24th! 

    Fresh Arts and our surrounding community are experiencing so much exciting growth. When the opportunity opened up to have a front-facing office on the new Silos campus, we jumped at it. Here at Fresh Arts we want you to know that we are the first door that you should knock on when you are looking for resources, opportunity, and support for the creative community, and now that we are front, center and easy to find we can be more accessible to you. 

    Absolutely! We will continue to offer the same programs and events. The only thing that is changing is our address. We will not have a gallery in the new space, but we are excited to partner with organizations across sector and in different communities in Houston to bring more opportunities to artists looking to show their work to the public. 


    1502 SAWYER ST, STUDIO #103
    HOUSTON, TX 77007

    Fresh Arts is moving right around the corner to a front facing office on Sawyer street at the newly renovated Silos.

    Want to see some of the other exciting things happening on the Sawyer Yards campus? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

    Absolutely! Our door is open. Our office hours are from 10am - 5pm Monday through Friday or give us a call at 713-868-1839.

    Studio B11 at Winter Street Studios is available for lease. Learn about leasing that space here

    WHAM this year will take place November 18th - 20th at Winter Street Studios at 2101 Winter Street 2nd floor. This year WHAM has TWO opportunities for artists. The call ends August 26th at midnight. Learn more here


    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jul 13, 2016

    Well Houstonians, it looks like its that time of the year again.  The heat and humidity has introduced an indoor-only bias to our summer schedule.  The staff here at Fresh Arts feels the same way - so we've decided to compile a mid-summer reading list for artists to help you hone your professional development skills while minimizing sweat stains.  So turn up the A/C, grab a nice cold glass of sweet tea, and curl up with one of these favorites.  

    Marci's Pick
    Executive Director

    This monograph by Boulder, Colorado native Jim Collins discusses leadership and performance ideology that create successful organizations in the social sector.  This text accompanies the original Good to Great and extends by challenging the idea that ingredients to excellence such as discipline, quantitative analysis, and strong leadership are "business skills."  This book is perfect for non-profit administrators, especially those who are looking to improve the performance of their organization without abandoning their primary goal of community service.  

    • "We must reject the idea—well-intentioned, but dead wrong—that the primary path to greatness in the social sectors is to become "more like a business." Most businesses—like most of anything else in life—fall somewhere between mediocre and good. Few are great. When you compare great companies with good ones, many widely practiced business norms turn out to correlate with mediocrity, not greatness. So, then, why would we want to import the practices of mediocrity into the social sectors? . . .That's when it dawned on me: we need a new language. The critical distinction is not between business and social, but between great and good. We need to reject the naive imposition of the "language of business" on the social sectors, and instead jointly embrace a language of greatness."  
    •                             Buy on Amazon

    Angela's Pick
    Program Manager

    Author, sociologist, and avid contemporary art publication contributor Sarah Thornton details the complicated, sophisticated, lucrative subculture that is the contemporary art world.  Thornton uses a day-to-day format to recount observations of wealth, taste, and popularity with a light-hearted and gossipy tone.  Seven Days in the Art World will be a favorite of alternative gallerists and artists who crave the hustle. 

    • "Although the art world reveres the unconventional, it is rife with conformity. Artists make work that "looks like art" and behave in ways that enhance stereotypes. Curators pander to the expectations of their peers and their museum boards. Collectors run in herds to buy work by a handful of fashionable painters. Critics stick their finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing so as to "get it right". Originality is not always rewarded, but some people take real risks and innovate, which gives a raison d'être to the rest.” 
    • Buy on Amazon

    Ariel's Pick
    Membership and Marketing Manager

    Malcolm Gladwell offers some big-picture insight with regards to marketing concepts.  The Tipping Point is a motif that refers to the moment where a simple but carefully constructed campaign catches momentum and causes public action - whether commercial or societal.  By using the concept of an epidemic as a metaphor for the spread of ideas, Gladwell dissects the success of case studies ranging from the NYC crime rate to the effectiveness of Paul Revere.  Calling all Marketers: move this book to the #1 position on your reading list!

    • "To look closely at complex behaviors like smoking or suicide or crime is to appreciate how suggestible we are in the face of what we see and hear, and how acutely sensitive we are to even the smallest details of everyday life. That's why social change is so volatile and so often inexplicable, because it is the nature of all of us to be volatile and inexplicable.”

    Sarah's Pick
    Operations and Administration Assistant

    If you've ever gawked at the auction price of a Damien Hurst piece, The $12 Million Stuffed Shark by Don Thompson is the chance to get your sneak peek into the economics of the art world.  Thompson interviews collectors, auction house executives, and artists to consider multiple perspectives of those involved with the production and consumption of contemporary art.  Though from the perspective of an economist and marketing expert, Thompson knows it is not just about the money.  He shows well-rounded knowledge about conceptual art, trends, social status and other subjective contributing factors that determine a piece's market value.  We recommend this book to artists, art patrons, and anyone striving to be a participant in the high-end art market - time to learn what you're getting yourself into...

    • "What do you hope to acquire when you bid at a prestigious evening auction at Sotheby’s? A bundle of things: a painting of course, but hopefully also a new dimension to how people see you. As Robert Lacey described it in his book about Sotheby’s, you are bidding for class, for a validation of your taste.” 

    Madison's Pick
    Resource Coordinator

    Subtitled The Ultimate Business Manual for Every Practicing Artist, this text from Karen Atkinson and GYST-Ink is more of a textbook and instructional manual hybrid.  GYST includes interactive worksheets and sample forms for common fundamentals of a successful professional art practice.  For example, these worksheets  include theoretical exercises such as personal assessments and goal setting as well as logistical resources such as sample budgets and collector documentation.  To really get the most of this book, the reader has to commit to participating and engaging as much as possible.  Therefore, we suggest this book to students, scholars, and those familiar with the library grind.  

    • "Far too often artists find themselves having to compromise their art and their life because they were not taught accurate up-to-date methods for dealing with business situations. Because of this lack of preparedness artists miss out on valuable opportunities, financial rewards, and access to receptive audiences. This book aims to help all artists everywhere avoid these pitfalls and get on the track to success on their own terms. Whether you are a gallery- bound artist, a public artist, an emerging artist, a hobbyist, a crafts-person, a student, or a seasoned artist in need of a tune up, this manual is meant for you."

    So here's our list, but we'd love to hear from you! What art book are you reading this summer? Any favorites? Any disappointments? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and best of all… get reading! 

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jun 14, 2016

    If you've been down Heights Boulevard lately, you may have noticed something a little different along the esplanade from the 400 block to the 1800 block. I am, of course, talking about the eight wonderful sculptures that make up Trail of Art, a curated sculpture exhibit masterminded by local artist Chris Silkwood and Gus Kopriva, owner and Director of Redbud Gallery.  This is the third exhibition of its kind curated by the dynamic duo following the success of their previous projects True North in 2014, and True South in 2015.  Silkwood and Kopriva had long dreamed of putting together a large-scale public art exhibit when in 2014, a City's Initiative Grant and fiscal sponsorship under Fresh Arts finally allowed this dream to become a reality - and they have been unstoppable ever since. 

    This year's offering Trail of Art, also a fiscally sponsored project of Fresh Arts, features Texas-based artists Robbie Barber, Keith Crane, Chris Silkwood, Kelley Devine, David Graeve, Alex Larsen, Patrick Renner, Ariane Roesch and Kaneem Smith.  The exhibits have been incredibly popular with residents and businesses within the Historic Heights, as well as visitors from all over the U.S. The exhibit's opening was even attended by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (as pictured above with the lovely Fresh Arts gals), so it's safe to say that this year's project has so far been a success. Trail of Art will be in place through December 15, 2016 - we definitely recommend going to see it while you can! 

    Interested in putting together your own public art exhibit? Sign up here to join Chris Silkwood and representatives from Weingarten Art Group and HAA Civic Art Department for a moderated panel discussion with Houston artists who've successfully navigated the public realm to organize cultural performances and projects.
    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Jun 2, 2016
    It's often said that art is a way of life -- but it's much more than that if you want your art to pay the bills.  Developing a professional art practice is no easy task.  However, it is totally possible as long as you're willing to dedicate lots of time, energy, and yes, some money to get yourself started.  Here's a list of essentials for those of you who are even just thinking about taking the leap to professionalizing your hobby. Of course, there's many more items on the to-do list to sustain your career, but these 7 points will help kickstart your professional practice. 

    1. Schedule time to "clock-in" to your new second job
    Unfortunately, financial expectations of today's society doesn't allow most people to just quit their day job to pursue their dream.  This is why it's essential to schedule a set amount of time per day (or per-week if it's easier at first) to dedicate to your practice.  

    For instance if you work a normal 9-5, maybe your art-time is 7-8PM. This gives you enough time to get home, heat up some leftovers, and hit the studio.  Afterwards, you'd even have time to wind down with a book or a "Friends" rerun before you hit the hay. 

    If you've run out of ideas for how to use your art-time, or aren't feeling inspired to make actual artwork, check out this list by Sylvia White that goes over some logistical tasks for beginning artists. 

    Finally, it's easy to let this time commitment slide to the back burner as life gets hectic.  That's what makes being a professional artist so difficult -- you don't have a boss looking over your shoulder, checking up on your productivity.  Try to hold yourself accountable for this time and soon you'll find it easier to dedicate even more of your day to your art practice.

    2. Big or small, find a space - and get organized
    If you want to make the most of your dedicated art-time, it's important to avoid spending a chunk of it setting out and cleaning up your supplies.  Many times, this remedy can be as simple as obtaining a desk that's strictly a surface for working on your drawings, and organizing your supplies in an accessible way.  Try decorating your space with aesthetics that inspire you, and refrain from letting your art-area get cluttered with non-creative work. A desk covered with laundry and bills can inhibit your creative flow and just leave you feeling stressed about housework instead of motivated to create something beautiful.  

    If you're fortunate enough, it might be feasible to eventually rent a space outside of your home.  A good place to start could be TXRX Labs.  They offer electronics and prototyping lab space, workshops, and collective wisdom, in addition to their incredibly comprehensive equipment facilities for wood and metal workers, machinists, ceramicists and more.  Obtaining a monthly membership is a great way for beginning (and experienced) artists to gain access to spaces and resources for a fraction of the cost it would be to purchase them yourself.  

    Eventually, you could outgrow your home studio and find a space away from home in studio communities such as the growing Sawyer Yards.  But for now, just being mindful about committing a space to your creative practice puts you on the right track to take your work more seriously. 

    3. Construct an Artist Statement
    An artist statement, a concise declaration of an artists' practice, ideas, intent, materials, and methods, is one of the most important aspects of your practice.  When applying for grants, shows, residencies, or gallery representation, you will be asked to provide an artist statement to accompany work examples.  Therefore,  it is important to be sure that you are constantly updating your statement as your work changes and develops.  If you've never written a statement before or could use some advice on how to improve yours, check out this article from Agora Gallery that explains some tips about the writing process 

    Many artists find it difficult to construct an artist statement, but it can also be used as a tool help develop your artwork through reflection and critical thinking.  If you have a few projects that are very different from one another, its a good idea to write statements for each of them.  It is also common to prepare multiple versions of the same statement to fit occasional length restrictions.  To start, you should prepare a one-sentence statement (sometimes called an elevator pitch), a one-paragraph statement commonly included in publications for group shows (about 100 words), and a one-page statement to include in grant applications for a more in-depth look into your practice (about 250 words).  Here is a great article from Columbia College of Chicago that distinguishes the significance of different versions.  Most importantly, revisit your statement frequently to ensure its always in tip-top shape. 

    4. Create an Artist Website
    The internet continues to be a growing space for sharing information and your artwork should be a part of that space.  An artist website is an efficient way to represent your artwork in an organized, thoughtful, and self-controlled format that is accessible from nearly anywhere in the world. It is also becoming more common for grant applications offer the option to submit your website as an additional resource to be considered.  Having an artist website might seem unessential for a beginning artist, but it can be a great way to organize your artwork and the simplest way to show your work to others while on the go.  Also, creating a website is easier now more than ever -- so the real question is, why NOT?

    Many artist websites include work samples with citation information, an artist statement and biography, a resume, and information about how to contact the artist.  Here's a thorough article from that outlines all the do's and don'ts for successful artist websites. Their biggest piece of advice? "Keep it fast, simple, easy, and organized."  Use your website to curate your online portfolio of only the best examples of your artwork.  With the goal of efficiently exemplifying your art practice to the common public, the importance lies in quality - not quantity.  

    In its simplest form, there are two parts needed to lock down your artist website: a domain name, and a web hosting service. This article from Website Builder Expert outlines the basic components for first-time website builders. 

    Finally, there are many simple services that offer website creation and hosting - starting at ZERO dollars!  If you've never made a website before, Weebly is a great place to start.  It uses a simple drag-and-drop interface that allows you to easily add content and organize the pages of your site.  If you're pretty tech-savvy and a little nit-picky with design, you might find the usability of to offer a little more freedom in exchange for simplicity.  Whichever platform you choose, start with a free account as a way to experiment with different strategies to promote yourself.  Once you've got your work out in to the digital world, adding an online shop or blog can be a great way to attract visitors to your site and hopefully new collectors of your artwork! 

    5.  Create a Basic Business Strategy
    If you're used to painting or sculpting in your free time as a leisurely hobby, developing a business strategy for your practice might seem like an uncomfortable transition.  However, if you want your artwork to provide at least a supplementary source of income, its important to structure and predict the ways your work can earn you money.  Do you want to sell your artwork directly to the consumer? Do you want to be represented by a gallery, or sell your work yourself at events such as art festivals and open studios? Do you want to produce installation or socially engaged art and receive your artist income through granted artist fees or stipends? Do you want to work as a commissioned photographer or portrait artist and be paid on an hourly basis? 

    Having an idea about the logistics of your business will allow you to start making goals to move yourself forward.  It might seem strange to think about your artistic practice as a business, but if you have the intention of making some money from your work, then the slight shift to an entrepreneurial mindset is necessary.  Here is an article from Creatives and Business that breaks down the basics of a business plan and some crucial questions to ask yourself when writing one.

    6. Get out there!
    Artists need fuel to create their work, and that fuel often comes in the form of inspiration from other art.  Try to go to as many exhibitions, screenings, openings, and fundraisers in your local art community as you can.  Taking the time to absorb and contemplate artwork that is similar and art that is widely contrasted from your work will allow you to think more critically about the concept, quality, and progression of your art.  To stay informed about art events happening in Houston, subscribe to Fresh Arts' weekly Art on Tap newsletter for event suggestions sent right to your inbox or check out

    Not only is it beneficial to be able to see the interests of other artists, but going to events is also a great way to meet people in the community.  Networking is a great way to gain collectors, meet collaborators, and learn about current opportunities and resources. Although it might seem intimidating at first, the more you talk about your work, the better you become at talking about it AND the more you start to understand how the community engages with your artistic interests.  Pro tip: networking is a fantastic time to whip out your elevator speech that you've conveniently already prepared. 

    Finally, by being actively engaged with events around you, you'll start to get a gauge for how and even specifically where your artwork will best  fit into your local arts community.  Submitting your work to small exhibition spaces is a simple way to add to your resume and get your art seen by the public.  Places like East End Studio Gallery and Hardy & Nance Street Studios regularly post open calls for artwork, so be sure to keep an eye out for shows to which your work might be applicable.  (Pictured right: Lawndale Art Center's BIG Show)

    7. Set Goals and Have fun!
    Setting realistic goals to improve your new professional practice is a never-ending component of your development strategy.  But that doesn't mean it has feel like drudge work.  Your goals can be as simple and objective or as abstract and visionary as necessary.  Karen Atkinson and GYST-Ink, the authors of "Getting Your Sh*t Together: The Ultimate Business Manual for Every Practicing Artist" suggest creating a set of one-month, one-year, five-years, 20-years, and even lifetime goals.  This can be a great way to visualize how your new professional art practice, your personal, and your financial lives will be connected.  This strategy will also help to break down seemingly impossible accomplishments.  

    As a hypothetical example, if your 20-year goal is to have a solo exhibition at The Contemporary Art Museum Houston, setting a 10 year goal of being represented by a competitive gallery or receiving HAA's Individual Artist Grant for a large public-art piece is a good way to place yourself on track.  Furthermore, breaking down that ambitious goal further means a five year goal of getting into Lawndale's BIG Show and a one-year goal of documenting all of your artwork for your artist website makes the CAMH seem much more obtainable.  

    Best of all, these goals can and should change!  Our lives, priorities, and interests are always shifting and our goals can adapt to those changes. The whole point of developing a professional art practice is to embrace the privilege of being able to do what we love for a living.  Therefore, as artists we better be extra certain that we're having fun with our work -- no matter how tedious the essentials might seem. 

    To view more resources including the ones featured in this blog post, check out our Resource Library! 

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: May 5, 2016

    April showers bring May. . . artist opps! 

    There's plenty of exciting opportunities to go around this month, starting with a slew of workshops to nourish your brain.  First, The United Way is hosting a Board 

    Service workshop on May 10th that will cover topics such as board governance, duties, and etiquette.  Another helpful non-profit workshop hosted by The United Way Houston is scheduled for May 13th, titled Using Quickbooks in Nonprofit Organizations.  It's a beginning level workshop that will cover all the basics for the staple program.  If you're planning on applying to the Arts Project Grant Outreach, Houston Arts Alliance is hosting an application workshop on May 12.  Finally, we've got one specifically geared towards you artists! Fresh Arts wants you to know that you don't have to have a 501(c)3 to apply to some of the most generous grants.  Learn more about Fiscal Sponsorship at our workshop on May 25th from 6:30-8PM. Register early to get the best value!

    The month of May also means the deadline for Houston Arts Alliance Resident Incubator Grant.  This is a fantastic opportunity for small arts orgs because not only does it include up to $15,000 of annual funding, but HAA also offers in-depth training and resources to aid the development departments of selected organizations.  Get your application in by May 12th to get a chance at this incredible opportunity. 

    We're well aware that Houston is home to some amazing muralists, and now Kroger is showing their love too! Through HAA's Civic Art & Design department, Kroger has released a Request for Qualifications for the installation of indoor murals at two Houston Kroger locations.  There is no application fee, and special consideration is given to artists who have a connection to the communities in which the stores reside.  A $250 stipend will be awarded along with $7,500 for materials and other fees.  Start your brainstorming - RFQ are due May 16th. 

    Finally, Fresh Arts is seeking a summer intern to join our team! The intern's primary responsibilities would be heading the development of a record retention policy and digitizing historical documents and other material during a commitment of 10 hours per week.  Qualifications include a demonstrated interest in archiving, library science, and/or non-profit work and the initiative to work independently.  Educational benefits include gaining experience working in a 501(c)3 organization and an honorary Fresh Arts Artist Membership for the duration of the internship.  Submit a resume and cover letter to to join in on the Fresh Arts fun!

    To stay in the loop with opportunities like this (and plenty more!) check out the May Resource Newsletter and SUBSCRIBE !

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Apr 26, 2016

    Bayou Boss Ladies Commandment #1:

    Recognize the merits of an opportunity even when it is not ideal. The life experience will stretch your mind and bore its way into your work. 

                                       -Shane Allbritton

    Introducing Fresh Arts' first Bayou Boss Lady, the wonderful Shane Allbritton. Shane is an artist and designer working across a broad spectrum of disciplines and media, including large scale murals, wayfinding, media design, suspended art, sculpture and painting. She has been a museum environmental graphic designer for two decades, creating interpretive spaces from the Buddy Holly Museum twenty years ago, to the more recent Coca-Cola Vault Museum Exhibit. Her many public art projects have won her awards such as a prestigious CoD+A award for her 2013 piece "Memory Cloud", and have seen collaborations with influential Houston-based artists such as Norman Lee.  On top of this, Shane is a mother to her son Grayson, and wife to husband Peter Bernick-Allbritton (who, by the way is also an artist, so they frequently create badass installation work together). In all honesty, there is not a lot that this woman can't do.  
    As part of Fresh Arts' new blog series, I caught up with Shane to pick her brain about what it really means to be a Boss Lady:

    What are you working on right now?
    Currently my public art studio, RE:site, is in the midst of preparing for several installations this year, in multiple locations across the country. Next month we have concurrent installs at the El Paso International Airport and the Hennepin Public Library in Minnesota. As far as personal artwork, I've been short-listed to create a large-scale artwork at one of the entrances to the George R. Brown and my husband Peter and I are developing encaustic prototypes for an upcoming Art League show. In between art projects, I wear my graphic designer hat and am currently developing environmental graphics for the National WWII Museum in NOLA, with a former design firm in DC.

    What inspires you to create?
    Research. Researching an interest or curiosity gives me endless inspiration. Nature, introspection, everything really - finding meaning or an aesthetic interpretation of the smallest gesture to the most profound experience is like a program constantly running in the background.

    How did you get to this point in your career? 
    Like any creative type, I become heavily involved in my projects - embracing large-scale public art works to museum design, branding for small start-ups, mixed media installations, signage, and everything in between, they all matter. The inexplicable drive to create and problem-solve is not the only reason I am at this point, a lot of it is tenacity. I’m not even sure what this “point” in my career is exactly, I just know that diversity in the type of work I do gives me the greatest satisfaction and reflects my interests and passions. Besides keeping me engaged, diverse work is literally a financial necessity - I can pick up one market when the other stumbles and keep moving forward. I am definitely a risk-taker, but I do want to sustain this lifestyle as long as I can make it work.

    From L to R: Shane with Norman Lee collaboration "Radiance" while pregnant with son Grayson; Grayson giving a helping hand: Shane and Peter with their installation at the SITE exhibit and Grayson.

    Public Art as an avenue is kind of mysterious to a lot of artists. How did you get involved and what resources do you use/would recommend for people trying to break into that specific career?
    With about two decades working as an experiential graphic designer for museums and a background in studio arts, public art seemed a logical and fulfilling direction. When I left my full-over-time, yet secure, design job to freelance for a while, I couldn’t find another company in Houston that was a good fit. A former colleague of mine, Norman Lee, had recently been short-listed to design the San Francisco Veteran’s Memorial and invited me to team up. It wasn’t long after that encounter that we realized our interpretive backgrounds- telling stories through design, technology, media, interactives, and experiences laid a strong foundation for site-specific art. In 2012, we founded RE:site to focus on narrative-based artworks and jumped straight into artist call applications.
    Starting out is not a walk in the park - competing against experienced and prolific artists is challenging when you’re lacking built work in public space. It is important not to let a lost commission, impact your enthusiasm. It is a time consuming process but the experience will help your proposal skills, and it is a great way to visualize and explore new ideas. One option might be to collaborate with other artists or professionals that have different backgrounds to contribute necessary depth for specific RFQ/RFP requirements.
    Joining your local public art agency will allow you access to calls to artists, and they are there to offer support if you have any questions. Other useful online sources for finding competitions would include and

    How do you find a balance between family life and being a professional artist? What is the most rewarding aspect, and what do you find most challenging?

    Balance is always the end goal - I want to be wholly immersed in creating and wholly immersed in my family, but both are demanding yet deeply rewarding and often tread on the other’s territory. I don’t have it completely figured out, but I do try to live by a few rules - Stop working by 6pm (there are exceptions here) and don’t work on the weekends (and exceptions here). I must be very mindful about scheduling business/family interactions throughout the day, if it isn’t on my calendar, then it pretty much doesn’t exist, sorry my brain is full.
    As far as the most rewarding aspect, having my son was an awakening that I could have never imagined. I consider him as a catalyst in opening a channel for me to create work from a place that hadn’t been very accessible before. It’s like reliving your childhood in a way, leading you down some dusty old roads from your past. My husband Peter is also a collaborator and we’ve recently begun to work together on personal art projects and installations after a long hiatus. It is fulfilling for us, yet finding the time for both parents to work on art is quite the challenge. I work full-time and Peter is a stay-at-home dad, so anytime after 10pm is our window for personal projects. The impact of this materializes as added pressure to make every move count - we don’t have time to experiment as much as we’d like. However, we still throw ourselves into the fire and stay up working all night on occasion. We do miss out on social engagements and arts around town unfortunately, but we try to go out when we can muster it. 

    From L-R: Shane at the installation of "Time in Motion" at Hobby Airport; CoD+A award winning piece "Memory Cloud"; Shane and husband Peter in their "Urban Forest"

    What has been your toughest challenge as an artist in Houston?
    The reawakening and redevelopment in Houston, although some of it disagreeable to me, is creating an affable climate for artists. I can’t think of anything that was a tough challenge pertaining to Houston directly. I feel I’ve reached out and been presented with opportunities and a lot of support from various Houston arts organizations and art consultants.

    Do you feel like your industry (public art commissions) is male dominated? 
    There is definitely a sizable gender gap in public art, although female artists have made some headway in recent decades. With the exception of most arts administrators, the entire ecosystem of getting large works built is completely male dominated - from city officials to architects, installers, machinists, programmers, and so on. I don’t see it as deterrent however, but rather a motivator.

    Do you feel that there are some obstacles that are specific to being a female artist/arts administrator?
    I don’t feel that I’ve really had the experience of gender obstacles in the arts, except for the occasional squaring off. On the contrary, I feel very supported in the arts, but the design industry on the other hand is another story.

    What's something you learned early on in your career that made you a better artist?
    Looking back, I am grateful that computers were not a part of my early development. I was a college senior cutting rubylith, applying letraset and doing everything else by hand, when the computer labs came. At the time, I remember feeling so obsolete. It changed everything, I mean, it was exciting to think of the possibilities! I gravitated towards it, with the crowd. But soon became disillusioned as it seemed to level out individual expression and replace free-thinking. At this point I became influenced by glitch art and the experimental typography of David Carson’s Ray Gun - all of it chaotic, abstract, illegible deconstructions as complex storytelling. So I guess my take away was to embrace new technologies and techniques as valuable tools rather than let them assume control.

    What advice do you have for young female artists just starting out?
    Become immersed in the art culture around you and network. Become immersed in your interests - take a class, take a journey, dig deep into the root of it. Experiment as much as possible. When it falls flat, absorb the lesson and always be resilient.

    Do you feel like you take ownership of your success? 
    I don’t really think in terms of success or failure, I suppose...I just try to keep momentum. The creative industries are volatile and I have experienced the ebb and flow up close - two of the design firms I worked for were thriving one moment, and then laying off half their staff, then thriving again. My public art partnership exploded out of the gate, winning multiple commissions, then immediately flat-lined. Honestly I’m a bit superstitious to speak in such clear-cut terms - I don’t know what’s around the corner, but I know that I will keep doing creative work in some capacity and perhaps that is a success I can own.

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Apr 7, 2016

    April is starting out strong for arts professionals with plenty of available opportunities, especially with regards to organizational development workshops.  

    First, U of H is hosting their 2016 Leadership in the Arts Summit: Valuing the 21st Century Creative Economy on April 11th.  This year's summit is packed full of engaging lectures, panel discussions, and presentations.  The day starts off with moderator Christine Harris, CEO of Christine Harris Connections and co-founder of National Creativity Network's Creative Economy Coalition, speaking on the topic of "Creative Economy: what is it and why does it matter?"  Susan Mendenhall will provide the Lunchtime keynote, and the day rounds out with a happy hour at Mongoose vs. Cobra.  Want $5 off the registration fee? We've got your back obviously! Just use the promo code ArtOrg16. 

    On April 20th, United Way of Greater Houston is hosting a workshop titled "Effective Utilization of Board, Volunteer, and Staff Leadership."  This event is the third in a five-part workshop series hosted by nonprofit consulting firm Dini Spheris.  Participants can choose to participate in as many of the workshops of the series as they would like, so we recommend clicking the link and attending the ones that would most benefit your organization. 

    Don't worry, we haven't forgotten about you individual artists out there.  Houston Center for Photography is still accepting submissions into their 34th Annual Juried Membership Exhibition.  To apply, just visit their website, become a member, and submit up to 10 images that best express your current lens-based work along with a statement, resume, and other details.  From the works selected for the exhibition, three will receive a Beth Block Juried Membership Honoraria of $1,000. The deadline to apply is April 22nd, so get your submissions in!

    From April 9-30th, Houston-based artist Charisse Weston and Alabama Song founder Gabriel Martinez are hosting School of Experimental Work: an audio-visual workshop series.  The schedule starts off a workshop led by interdisciplinary artist David Feil on the topic of Language as Material and ends with a meditative practice with artist Ayanna Jolviet McCloud.  Twenty bucks gets you into the entire series, so be sure to check out the details and take advantage of all the programs.  

    Also, check out the entire list of open calls for art on the Artist Opportunities section of our website.  There are some fun prospectus including East End Studio Gallery's "Spring POP" exhibition and HAA's extension for the pop-up exhibition at the 2016 Gulf Coast Green Symposium and Product Showcase.  

    Finally, with HAA's Arts Project Grant application closing on April 11th, many of the grant opportunities through the designated public funds distributor have closed for the year (aside from the bimonthly City Initiative Grant).  That means individual artists might have to turn to other methods to fund their upcoming projects. We can help with that, as we are hosting a workshop on April 27th on the topic of Alternative Funding Strategies for the Independent Artist, led by Susannah Mitchell, the director of the Washington Avenue Arts District.  We'd love to see you there and help you determine the best way to fund your project, so check out the link and register early to get the best value! 

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Mar 29, 2016

    “There is something about a woman who raises her voice in public that is difficult for us as a society.. There is a sense of authority being a masculine quality”.
    - Zinnie Harris, Playwright

    If you have been living under a rock, you may not be aware that March is Women’s History Month. As an all-female staff, we Fresh Arts ladies can appreciate the importance of acknowledging other women’s achievements (if only it was all year round huh). Sadly, even in 2016 we are used to hearing about sexism in the world in general, and despite huge progress in gender equality in the last century, it still lingers. In a sector as ostensibly liberal as the arts, one would expect (or at least hope) that in this day and age, credit would be based on creative merit rather than the artist's ability to grow a beard.. 

    According to Gallery Tally, a collaborative art project that invites artists all over the world to calculate and visualize the gender ratios at top contemporary art galleries, approximately 80% of BA and BFA graduates are female, and approximately 60% of MFA graduates are female. Yet, only 30% of artists represented by galleries are female. The issue is undoubtedly a national or even a global one, but it's happening right here on our doorstep too. Just a quick look at 8 of Houston's most popular contemporary art galleries reveals that we are barely above this national average, with just under 34% of artists represented being female. Since 2010, only one out of the six Hunting Prize winners has been a female artist. Of course it’s certainly not an issue that is specific to visual artists either, as discrepancies in compensation, representation, and recognition continue to permeate a variety of disciplines throughout the arts.

    Luckily, here at Fresh Arts we have the pleasure of knowing a whole host of innovative, visionary, and creative women who are constantly forging new paths in a competitive arts scene. So, with this being said, Fresh Arts is pleased to announce Bayou Boss Ladies, a ten-part blog series honoring ten of the most badass ladies making waves in the Houston art scene right now. The idea was borne from a brainstorming session between local artist and activist Carrie Schneider and our very own Ariel Jones. As both an arts administrator and a woman of color, Ariel was keen to instigate a program that, in her words, will “accentuate the creativity and the narratives of those who are often overlooked and overshadowed. Women, in particular, spend an exorbitant amount of energy trying to convince ourselves that we are worthy of our own accomplishments. It’s a shame. Bayou Boss Ladies is an attempt to not only recognize exceptional female creativity in Houston by saying, “we see you, you are amazing, own your success”, but it is also an instrument of encouragement for emerging female creatives.”

    The series will culminate in an evening of cocktails and conversation with said Boss Ladies at the Fresh Arts Gallery at Winter Street Studios. Stay tuned for the first installment!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Mar 28, 2016

    Artist call for entries are plentiful this spring! Are you planning to apply to any?  If so, you may want to consider freshening up your artist statement and bio (oh no!).

    Whether applying for consideration into a group show, a gallery, coffee shop, artist residency, or museum, you will most likely be asked for an artist's statement and/or artist bio to accompany your work. Here are a few upcoming artist opportunities that require the dreaded artist statement or bio:

    • The MFAH Core Program 2016-2017 application (deadline April 1st) requires a 600 word statement while Silver Street Studios’ Artist vs. Architect call to artists (deadline March 30th) requires a significantly shorter artist statement at 350 words or less (yes!). 

    • Prefer to measure your artist statement in character limits? CraftTexas 2016 (deadline April 30th) and Texas Big 10 (deadline March 31st) call for entries both require a 1,000 character artist statement. (uh, how many words is that…?)

    • Lawndale Art Center’s Spring 2016 call for exhibition proposals (deadline March 31st) and Lawndale’s 2016-2017 Artist Studio Program (deadline April 30th) guidelines do not specify an artist statement or bio; however, applicants must have a completed user profile which includes a section for an artist bio.

    • Did you know that Skyline Art Services welcomes submissions from artists year round? Skyline Art Services maintain an active roster of artists for their corporate healthcare client projects. Their submission process requires both an artist statement and artist bio (oh, the horror!).

    Think you might need help with your artist statement or bio? 

    Let Fresh Arts and Elizabeth White-Olsen, founder and director of Writespace guide you in writing an effective yet personal artist's statement + bio at our upcoming workshop on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. 

       Crafting your Artist Statement + Artist Bio
       Led by Elizabeth White-Olsen, Founding Director of Writespace
       Tuesday, March 29, 6:30pm - 8:30pm 
       @ Fresh Arts gallery
        2101 Winter St., #B11, Houston, TX 77007
       MORE INFO  
        As always, all early bird registration prices start at just $5.

    Want to stay in the local artist opportunities loop? 

    Check out Fresh Arts’ Artist Opportunities page or sign up for our monthly Resource Newsletter for Artists.

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Nov 13, 2015

    There is just one week to go until the return of WHAM! In celebration of a whole glorious decade of Houston's favorite annual art market, we have been talking to some of the artists who have exhibited at WHAM not once, not twice, but EVERY SINGLE YEAR since its inception. This week Fresh Arts gal Sarah Stevens caught up with local artist, potter, and jeweler guru Nicki Berndt for the final part to our Ten Years of WHAM series:

    Ok, can we start
    with you telling me a little about yourself and your work.
    I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois in
    Champaign.  I taught art for a few years before going into corp.
    sales.  I retired early from Account Manager, and then decided to really
    go full time into my art.  Pottery and throwing on the wheel is my biggest
    interest.  I like to make utilitarian pieces that people can enjoy
    daily.  I also do decorative and Raku items that are enjoyed aesthetically.
    A few years ago, I took up metalwork at Lone Star College at the North Harris
    campus.  We had a wonderful jeweler as our teacher.  I have been
    taking many courses in metalwork, and enjoy working in sterling
    silver, precious metal clay, and copper and bronze.

    we be seeing some of that at WHAM this year?

    I will be selling stoneware pottery; bowls, mugs, flower holders, vases,
    and candleholders and gratitude covered boxes. 
    I’ll also be selling one of a kind earrings and necklaces in sterling, and
    other metals. 

    How did you first get involved in WHAM?

    I had exhibited at the Glassell School of Art, which was the 1st week in
    December.  It was a wonderful show, but when they decided not to have it
    anymore, Winter Street took over having a holiday sale, and I chose to take a
    chance and exhibit in that, and I loved it.

    seems to be how a lot of people first got involved. What was WHAM like that
    first year? 

    The first year it was good.  A lot of the people that attended the
    Glassell Sale came.  It has grown and it's reputation for very good art
    work has also grown. 

    brings you back year after year? Is the draw financial or is it something else?

    Of course the income from the sales is very nice and helps me to continue
    creating pieces, but the best part of the sale is getting the feedback from the
    customers.  I have clientele that have been coming for many years and come
    look for my booth and compliment me on my work, and buy their Christmas
    gifts from me.  They like the 'one of a kind' creations that I produce.

    can see why! Where can we see you exhibit next?

    I will be having a home show and open house on Nov. 11, and I will be
    selling at the Holiday Sale at Insperity in Kingwood on Nov. 13.  I have
    also contributed 2 items to Art on the Avenue, which is a charitable
    organization that builds homes for low incomes in Houston.  I look
    forward to contributing to their silent auction each year.  That will be
    held on Nov. 12-14.  The first week of Dec. will be a Student Art
    Sale at Lone Star College at the North Harris Campus and in the Spring I will be selling at the Market Street
    Art Fair in the Woodands.  That should keep me very busy!

    Thanks for your time Nicki, I’ll see you at WHAM!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Nov 9, 2015

    In the second of this three-part WHAM series, Fresh Arts lady and resident blogger Sarah Stevens ( met with local ceramic artist Betsy Evans, one of the few original WHAM artists to still be exhibiting with us 10 years later. Side note: she is very pleasant to drink tea with on a Monday morning!


    OK, so to start why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself and your work?

    Ok, well I’m a ceramic artist, primarily clay. I was trained as a woodwork artist and furniture maker, and had a metal and woodworking background, but went into ceramics when my daughter was born. So, I went to school at Glassell School of Art and did a little clay there, but ultimately I moved to Winter Street Studios and got my own studio there. I’m mostly self-taught, and then about 8.5 years ago, I formed a craft gallery called 18 Hands Gallery in the Heights with a few other people.


    Ah OK. So how did you first get involved in WHAM?

    The way the show originated was Glassell used to have a holiday show, and so Shane Tidmore who at the time had a studio a Winter Street felt that there was a real loss there, so he initially started it to fill that gap.  I have been at Winter Street since the very beginning. I’m one of – I guess - seventeen original artists.  So being one of the originals, it made doing WHAM logical for me.  I can simply just move my tables outside of my studio!


    Convenient! What was WHAM like when it first started?

    SLOW! I mean, the intentions were good, but I think initially people didn’t know what Winter Street was, and they were really nervous about going there. The neighborhood has changed significantly in the last ten years, but people used to be scared to go there! It’s something I’ve never understood, I guess because I’m a fiercely independent person and I don’t get scared easily – I’d be out there in the middle of the night working! Over the course of time Winter Street and the arts district has developed a phenomenal reputation and become such a major force in Houston. With the force of Fresh Arts behind it, more exposure, and better quality artists, WHAM has just continued to grow too.


    What brings you back year after year?

    Accessibility! But seriously, I also enjoy the camaraderie that develops and you get to see what Houston has to offer for this specific market. These are not people that are being represented by galleries; so it’s a different way to produce in that sense. Looking at it as a crafts person, these types of markets can be tricky, especially for people who are in Fine Crafts.  There are a lot of places that don’t take it seriously; a lot of the mediums are not considered fine arts, they see it as a hobby. But arts and crafts are hard - creativity is hard! It’s my hope that with more exposure at shows like this there will be more education and more understanding.  Texas has no history of craft, and there’s a lot of bad craft out there that confuses the public. So if you can get it out there maybe people will understand that it’s not just silly little ducks with bows on!


    Do you think WHAM helps to address that issue?

    Absolutely, I mean for a city this size there just aren’t a lot of venues for the local artists. It really amazes me that my gallery (which is 90% clay) is the only real craft gallery in the city of Houston, and that’s the fourth largest city in the United States! I think there should be more and more of these events that allow emerging artists to sell their work and be a part of the engine that keeps the city moving.


    So you’ll be selling ceramic sculpture at WHAM this year?

    Well I have some non-functional work and some functional work at various price points.  Just a nice mix of things, I’ve got wall pieces, I’ve got tabletop pieces. I’ve got a tendency to straddle the fence when it comes to functionality! 


    Is it important for you to sell work at WHAM? Or do you do it for other reasons?

    The revenue is not necessary, but it’s nice! Really I just like feeling connected, going out and seeing people and being part of an event is so much more fun! Feeling like my participation is leading to something that makes Houston more interesting is one of the advantages of being an artist in a big city. I think the more we have these art markets and festivals, the bigger the sense of community.


    I think you’re absolutely right.  So you know a lot of the other artists that exhibit at WHAM regularly?

    Yeah, I know quite a few. There are some that have been there consistently year after year. I’m familiar with most of them.  I actually didn’t think I would be accepted again this year, because it’s getting really competitive with all the new artists. But, that competition just makes for a better show; I think that’s one of the great things about WHAM.


    Well we’re pleased to have you back! Thanks so much for your time, I’ll see you at WHAM!

    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Nov 4, 2015

    So as you may already know, this year marks the tenth anniversary of our beloved Winter Holiday Art Market.  With just three weeks to go until the big event, we caught up with the few very special folks that have been exhibiting with us at WHAM since its humble beginnings in 2005.  In the first of these interviews, Fresh Arts lady and resident blogger Sarah Stevens ( met with local printmaker, photographer, and retired biologist David J. Webb to
    pick his brains about what its like to be a veteran WHAM artist:


    Ok, so let’s kick this off! Tell me a little about yourself and your work:

    Well, to summarize I’m a print maker and photographer. I do block prints of various sizes from 4x5 to 2ft by 4ft. Right now I’m working on a project to obtain old post cards from Houston, Texas and then I go to the location where those old postcards were photographed and take a current picture. Then I take it further by looking at who the post card is directed to and using genealogical software to figure out who they are and track the whole trajectory of a life. All these people are from 1910, so sometimes it’s just impossible but if I can I also find out who wrote the postcard.  I’ve done other photographic projects, mostly associated with the passage of time.


    Very cool! Will you be selling those at WHAM this year?

    Those are actually for an exhibition at the Cloister gallery next year, and I probably won’t be selling any of those.. I may have a few presented to stimulate conversation though! A lot of times I learn things from people who just happen to see it and say, oh, by the way…! For me WHAM is so much about the kinds of people you can meet and the kinds of conversations I can have about my work. Of course, it’s nice to sell things! But, for me it’s about having a good conversation.


    So do you think that the networking aspect of WHAM is the most important aspect of it? Not the sales? 

     Yeah, I think that’s the real draw for WHAM artists. It’s one thing to put yourself on the internet, but that’s kind of impersonal. Some of my work is botanical monoprints, which are 15” by 42”, and it’s really hard to capture their impact on a tiny screen. Some things just don’t translate as well on the Internet.


    Absolutely. So tell me about your first experience of WHAM in 2005? 

    For me, it was not exactly a disaster.. but I sold only to other artists that were there, and there was very little foot traffic. I guess there were people that had second thoughts about participating, because I ended up at the end of a long hallway with no other booths! The next year I said I’m not going to do it, but then the time came and I thought well, it could develop into something, so I was there for the second year and made double what I had made the year before! That was good enough for me to try a third year, and it just kind of got bigger and bigger. Now it’s a must do for me if I want to make my art business function in a real economic way.


    Aside from the financial appeal, what else brings you back to WHAM year after year? 

    Well, I have a lot of customers who repeatedly buy my stuff, because the block prints look good by themselves but they look better in groups. I’m pretty affordable if people want to buy like five or six at a time. So I have a lot of people, when they go to WHAM, they look for me and a lot of people are repeat buyers or collectors now. I don’t have a functioning studio where people can come to look at my work. I don’t have many opportunities to put my stuff out there. WHAM is one of my more important venues for that.


    So, being face to face with your buyers is very important to you?

    Absolutely, it’s fun for me because I do like to engage with the buyer, or just have a conversation with somebody. For me just having someone look at my art and react to it gives me ideas for the next year. It’s sort of crowdsourcing, in today’s terminology!


    Like a think tank, I like it! How has WHAM evolved since it first started? 

    It’s definitely gotten a lot more publicized! And a lot better attended. The first artists were of a certain caliber, and that has only risen with time. It gets better and better for people coming there to look at art or buy art.


    Ten years ago, what was it like to be an emerging artist in Houston? How has it changed? 

    Oh it’s gone way upscale in the last decade.  I moved to this neighborhood five years ago and on my block there were many of these little suburban looking houses. In the last three or four years 50% of those have been replaced with townhouses. So, all these new families are looking for some snappy art for their homes, and I think it has created a big market for not only the high end stuff for the big
    spenders, but for smaller things for people on a budget. 


    Like our WHAM shoppers!

    Yes! WHAM I think really fills that niche, it’s not a gallery environment, there’s not the intimidation going in, you don’t have to deal with a curator.  I think that’s a real special niche.  I like to point my stuff in the direction of affordability. One of the things I like about my smaller prints is that just about anybody can have one. It’s a real handcrafted thing, it has a history, it has a genesis. When people can get there hands on stuff like that to decorate their personal environment it serves art really well.


    It does. After WHAM, where can we see you exhibit next?

    In July I’ll have an exhibit of the postcards and photography at the Cloister Gallery. I’m currently looking for funding to frame it, but at the very least I’ve committed to exhibiting about 50 or 75 individually framed works. I’m also contemplating doing a book dealing with the author and the recipients of the postcards, it’s fascinating.


    Great! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me today, see you
    at WHAM!


    Comment count: 0
  • 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) 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.

    Comment count: 0
  • 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?




    Comment count: 0
  • 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!


    Comment count: 0
  • 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!

    Comment count: 0
  • 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 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)





    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!

    Comment count: 0
  • 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:





    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, 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.

    Comment count: 0
  • 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


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



    p.s. I love cupcakes! 




    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.)

    Comment count: 0
  • 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

    Comment count: 0
  • 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!



    Team Fresh Arts



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



    Comment count: 0
  • Posted on: Apr 30, 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
    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

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

    In praise of makers: Where Houston artists become artisans



    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."


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


    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


    "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."





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

    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:

    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


    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:




    Or contact her at

    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 (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.



    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 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 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 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!




    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:  


    (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



    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:


    (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!



    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 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.




    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.




    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.



    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!



    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.




    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 5, 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,, 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.


    Comment count: 0
  • 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?


    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


    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!

    Comment count: 0
  • 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


    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!


    Team Spacetaker


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

    Comment count: 0
  • 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



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

    • QuickBooks Training

    • Quarterly TALA Legal & Accounting Clinics



    • 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



    • Art for the Healthcare Industry

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



    • Art Licensing & Leasing

    • Copyright for Artists & Performers

    • Right to Publicity

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



    • 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.

    Comment count: 0
  • 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!


    Comment count: 0
  • 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




    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 



    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!)



    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 




    *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*:




    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 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:





    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.




    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!


    Team Spacetaker


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


    Grant Information Clearing Houses

    Art and Art

    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


    Artists Wanted

    Mira's List

    Poets & Writers

    Spacetaker Artist Field Guide

    Glasstire Classifieds



    Houston Arts Alliance

    Texas Commission on the Arts

    National Endowment for the Arts

    Foundation for Contemporary Arts

    Creative Captial

    Map Fund

    United States (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.

    Comment count: 0
  • 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.




    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!



    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!


    Comment count: 0
  • 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.



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

     Julia Wallace


    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.



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



    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!



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



    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]



    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?



    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.]



    What is it about performance art that you love?



    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.



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



    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.



    Anything else you’d like to share?



    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?


    Comment count: 0
  • 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.



    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

  – 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.



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


    Texas specific resources on the AHIRC website.






    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:



    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 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]


    Thanks for reading!



    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.


    What kind of programs does WITS offer?


    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.


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


    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.


    Tell us about a recent inspiring moment at WITS.


    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
    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?


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


    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.


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


    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.


    What are WITS plans for the future?


    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!


    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.



    How does your culture infuse your artistic work?


    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.


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


    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.



    What do you hope people gain from viewing your work?


    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. 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."



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


    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. 



    What are your plans for the future as an artist?


    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.



    How does your culture infuse your artistic work?


    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.


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


    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.


    What do you hope people gain from viewing your work?


    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. 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."



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


    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. 



    What are your plans for the future as an artist?