Submitted by Christina Hernandez on Mon, Aug 21st at 7:45 pm

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.

Click to view the Fresh Arts Blog


Brown Bag Info Session: Fiscal Sponsorship for Art Projects 
Wednesday, August 30  |  11:30am-1pm

@ United Way of Greater Houston
50 Waugh Drive, Houston, TX 77007
Meeting Rooms C & D

Join us on August 30th at United Way of Greater Houston to learn more about the Fresh Arts fiscal sponsorship program and how it can help you to raise more money for your creative project. We will be discussing how fiscal sponsorship works, who is eligible, and the benefits of being fiscally sponsored.  

Need one-on-one guidance after the workshop? 
Attending workshop participants with a Fresh Arts membership will have the opportunity to sign up got a complimentary 30 minute office hour consultation to discuss your project's eligibility for sponsorship. 

Interested in becoming a member of Fresh Arts? 
Email or visit our Membership Page

Early registration (BEFORE NOON on 8/29):
FREE for Fresh Arts Members

Late registration (AFTER NOON on 8/29):
$5/Fresh Arts Members

Questions? Email or call 713-868-1839

Supernature: Esalen and the Human Potential

In the early 1960's two young visionaries, Richard Price and Michael Murphy, founded a place to explore and nurture what Aldous Huxley had named the “human potentialities,” his expression for the fantastic reaches of mind and body hinted at in the altered states of mystical literature, psychical research, and psychedelic experience. They named this new place "Esalen." And they sparked an enduring movement that has changed countless lives.

Murphy and his colleague, journalist George Leonard, named their new initiative “The Human Potential Movement.” The result was a new visionary school, a Hogwarts before Hogwarts, that fostered both a set of techniques to actualize these human potentials and a worldview in which these potentials could be recognized, accepted, and nurtured. Most of all, they delved, enthusiastically, into questions about the latent or secret nature of reality and the human being that were, and still are, considered out of bounds in the universities and religions.

Supernature: Esalen and the Human Potential is a documentary film about the influential Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, and The Human Potential Movement it spawned. At a time of unprecedented political, social and ideological conflict, we believe the world would benefit from a broad, beautiful, and sophisticated exposure to the ideas and practices fostered by Esalen, particularly those that move us beyond the present schizophrenic split between religion and science. We believe that the world is crying out for positive, even ecstatic models and ideas that can embrace the best of our religious pasts without being bound to those pasts; that can celebrate the discoveries of science without equating these discoveries with a materialism of despair and meaninglessness; and that can finally envision the human being as a conscious embodiment of the evolving cosmos. With Supernature, we hope to bring exactly this vision to a much wider audience and so play our part in the transformation and future of American culture.

Supernature is a big story framed through the prism of Jeff Kripal’s definitive history of Esalen and structured around his own spiritual journey through Catholicism, Hinduism, and the study of religion. There are two big ideas explored in the film: (1) the notion of a living, conscious cosmos evolving into and beyond human nature to a future supernature ("the universe is a machine for the making of gods," as a French philosopher once put it), and (2) a model of Mind as filtered through and reduced by brain but not produced by it, that is, a kind of Supermind or cosmic intelligence of which our present human mentalities are but tiny rivulets but also intimate and precious expressions.  Hence the core notion of the "human potential": we are infinitely more than we imagine; we are not yet what we can be; we will be immeasurably more.

Fresh Art fiscal sponsorship program helps artists and arts organizations raise money from charitable sources.

Mickey Leland, A Man for All ....

This is a documentary based on the life of Mickey Leland. His life was full of promise, vitality, and most importantly, compassion for all of humanity -- qualities of a modern hero. He left a great legacy. He left us too early.

Mickey Leland’s story is both unique and universal.  He came into this world like many other black males. He was poor, fatherless, and grew up in what is reported to be one of the roughest neighborhoods in the country, Houston’s Fifth Ward.  As a young boy, the misery and injustice he saw in the world around him troubled him.  He was taught that he could be anything he wanted to be, and that he could do something about the poverty in his neighborhood.  It was his choice,  vowing that he would strive to improve the quality of life in his community. He was a man of his word.  

Once Leland became a Congressman, his perspective expanded beyond the Fifth Ward in Houston, Texas to include more global concerns.  In order to expand inner-city children’s vision to the world he sent them to live on kibbutzim in Israel.  A growing interest in his roots led him to Africa where he began focusing much of his energy.  He became so impassioned about the plight of millions of starving Africans that ending world hunger became his personal crusade.

Tragically, it was on a famine-relief mission to one of the refugee camps in Ethiopia that Leland's life came to a shocking and untimely end.  His plane crashed into a mountain during a rainstorm just forty-five miles from his destination.  Mickey’s death was a tremendous loss, not only for those who loved him, but also for those who desperately needed him.

The ambition of the film is to inspire individuals; especially the young. Mickey Leland, in his time, created hope for humanity reaching across the aisle, and finding common ground, and not just talking about serious problems, but implementing solutions. He was instrumental in forming the House Select Committee on World Hunger and then carrying 50 pound bags of grain off planes to feed the hungry children in Africa. He talked to anyone who would listen; the plight of the hungry was foremost on his mind.

Mickey Leland is a Man for All, what he believed is still relevant today and we believe the film will bring his ideals into focus and keep his legacy alive. We need Mickey's voice more today than ever before.

Fresh Art fiscal sponsorship program helps artists and arts organizations raise money from charitable sources.

Remembering the Missing

Remembering the Missing explores the intersection between memory and sensation.  Where do we store our memories and how do we access them (or how do they access us)?  Can we call up those sensations at will and what new territory will be revealed by putting them into action.Remembering the Missing is conceived and directed by Lori Yuill and performed by Daniela Antelo, Miranda Tadlock, jhon r. stronks and Lori Yuill.  Stage design is by Brian Buck. 

Fresh Art fiscal sponsorship program helps artists and arts organizations raise money from charitable sources.

Nuit Blanche Houston

Nuit Blanche is a free, annual, city-wide celebration of contemporary art. It was originally conceived in Paris in 2002, to bring contemporary art into public spaces. The first edition of Nuit Blanche Houston will take place in 2018.

​For one night, the familiar is discarded and the city is transformed into an artistic playground for a series of contemporary art experiences in unexpected public spaces.

Fresh Art fiscal sponsorship program helps artists and arts organizations raise money from charitable sources.


About the Project:

Artsnewmedia, produced by artist Felipe Lopez, is designed to promote, exhibit and monetize video and experience based Art through technology. 

Through collaborating and documenting performances with dancers, actors, musicians and poets (artists who usually don’t have documentation of their works of art), there will be proper digital record of these artists work which will allow them to further promote their careers. Art patrons, just starting their art collections to established collectors, will also be able to view, connect, and support those making such cutting edge work that is not typically featured in galleries and museums here in Houston. By making the videos available for sale, this benefits both the collector and the artists. For those who have smaller budgets with larger wall space for projected video, this fills a need. For those who have larger budgets but limited wall space, this also fills a need for their art collections in new media as well. 

By providing a space and utilizing Modular or collaborative spaces to create and showcase this type of work in Houston and gain new audience members to this genre (and the artists who create these works), Artsnewmedia will be filling a gap in Houston arts programming while boosting the tech and tourism industries as well. This project will also provide event space and performance space for other artistic endeavors including fashion shows, music videos, and more. 

Current Collaborative Spaces: Eduardo Portillo Studio, Cindy Lisica Gallery, Apama Makey Gallery, & BlueOrange

Follow on Facebook or visit the website to learn more.

About Felipe Lopez:

Felipe Lopez is a Multi-Dimensional self-taught visual artist based in Houston, Texas. Born in New York, Lopez's career began with his mixed media drawings & paintings.  At this time, he also studied audio engineering, sound design, and projections at the Dubspot Academy in NYC. In 2013, Felipe's work was included in two large exhibitions at prestigious institutions: the Exposure photography exhibition in Long Island City, NY and the African American Artist Exhibition at the MFAH. His first solo exhibition took place in 2014 at the HAA Gallery.

Fall 2014, Felipe expanded on new multimedia works along with a new series of paintings and sculptural works including his Hookseries. In December 2014, Felipe exhibited work at Art Miami. 2015 brought work shown at the African American Artist Exhibition at the MFAH, Houston Fine Art Fair, Texas Contemporary Art Fair, and the KCAM.

Combining the trade of welding along with his skills in visual art, Lopez has developed his Hook series into sculpture, mixed media, and painting. His work was featured by Cindy Lisica at Revision Space in Pittsburg, PA in April. His solo show in May 2016 at the KCAM was his most encompassing exhibition to date. Summer 2017 also brought another solo exhibition at The Duende Art Project. 

In the Fall of 2016, Felipe was selected as an Artist INC Artist Facilitators thru Fresh Arts and completed his mentorship program in 2016. Felipe’s latest Lightbulb series was also a major success at the show Natural Flexibility at Cindy Lisica Gallery in the spring of 2017. This work along with other series including monoprinted sculptures are represented by Cindy Lisica Gallery. Felipe is now working on creating mixed media work through the use of his art, projections, and music including collaborations with other artists, dancers, poets and more throughout the city of Houston.

Fresh Art fiscal sponsorship program helps artists and arts organizations raise money from charitable sources.

Scaped Senses

“Scaped Senses” is an outdoor, future civic art installation in Houston’s Near Norhside to be located at 3517 Irvington.   We invite the community to participate in our family art workshops to create poetic, painted PVC grasses which will align walking paths. Visitors will meander the labyrinth to a monumental, woven, basket sculpture inviting written public comments on glistening cd discs.  Join the artistic team of Tami Merrick and Nicola Parente in creating a meditative, healing, color field, art installation embracing cultural diversity and weaving community with an opening in fall of 2017.   Find “Scaped Senses” on Facebook .
“Scaped Senses” is funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance, and HUB International, in partnership with fiscal sponsor Fresh Arts, Avenue Community Development Corporation and Writers in the Schools.   

Fresh Art fiscal sponsorship program helps artists and arts organizations raise money from charitable sources.

PO BOX 66494
Houston, TX 77266-6494


Fresh Arts |  The Silos at Sawyer 1502 Sawyer St, Studio #103 Houston, TX 77007