WHAM Artist Call

Call for entries closed on August 25, 2017

Submitted by sarah_stevens on Tue, Jun 14th at 5:03 pm

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.
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Submitted by FreshArts on Thu, Jun 2nd at 4:43 pm
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 ArtBusiness.com 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 Wix.com 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 ArtsHound.com.

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! 

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2016 Art in Public Spaces


Workshop: Art in Public Spaces 
Price: $10.00
Submitted by FreshArts on Thu, May 5th at 10:28 pm

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 sarahstevens@fresharts.org 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 !

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2016 Social Media 101 Workshop


Social Media 101 Workshop

Tuesday, May 24
1:00pm - 2:30pm

NOTE: This workshop is limited to artists working within the Sawyer Yards campus (Winter Street Studios, Silver Street Studios, Spring Street Studios, and The Silos).

Price: $10.00

2016 Fiscal Sponsorship

Fiscal Sponsorship 101
Wednesday May 25, 2016 // 6:30pm - 8:30pm 
@ Fresh Arts, 2101 Winter St., #B11, Houston, TX 77007

Door registration + networking: 6-6:30pm
Presentation will begin promptly at 6:30pm.

Price: $10.00


Art Chatter History: The Art Chatter Critique Group was founded in 2004 by Tami Merrick and Lynne Rutzky with the primary inspiration being the COBRA, an artist collective formed in 1948 in the Café Notre-Dame, Paris.  Art Chatter is now celebrating 12 years of art criticism!  Most members of the group have studied at The Glassell School of Art, MFAH. Membership is by invitation and limited in size to maintain the individual critique format approximately 16 members.  In addition to the ongoing self-examination, artists maintain individual studio practices.  Annually we nominate and vote to stipend an critic from Houston’s art community for a group critique providing critical analysis from diverse perspectives.  We have participated in group exhibitions at the Jung Center and Art Galleries which have offered insight into how our individual studio practice influences the collective.  Our public exhibitions are intended to publicly communicate the Art Chatter Collective rather than highlight individual artists. Guest critics have included Joe Havel director of Glassell School, Alison de Lima Greene curator contemporary art MFAH, Arthur Turner art educator Glassell School, Anya Tish, director of Anya Tish Gallery, Sally Sprout, director of exhibition at Williams Tower Gallery, Toby Kamps curator for the Menil Collection, Sarah Kellner of Houston Arts Alliance, Michelle White, Assistant Curator for the Menil Collection, Terri Sultan, Director of Parrish Art Museum, Clint Willour, Curator and Interim Executive Director, Galveston Arts Center, Christian Eckert art educator, and Howard Sherman artist.

The Rørpost Collaboration Project
"Rørpost" Rørpost  is a pneumatic tube in Danish. In the past pneumatic tubes were used in department stores to make change or exchange paper messages. In this case Rørpost is a metaphor for sending the paper exchange and art ideas across the Atlantic. The verb "Røre" basically means "to touch" when translated from Danish to English. Rørpost is the first phase of a three phase project: Rørpost, the tube, is a fast and free paper exchange. Røre, to touch, is creating art as a result of the collaborative process and the first touch. Rørledning, the pipe, has a larger diameter and exchange. Artists will travel to each other’s country to create art and/or exhibit. Rørsamling. the joint, is a connection.  Artists in other cities will form connections using the Rørpost to Rørledning model.

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

Submitted by sarah_stevens on Tue, Mar 29th at 4:41 pm

“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!

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Submitted by angela_carranza on Mon, Mar 28th at 9:04 pm

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 Submittable.com 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
    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.

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