Monthly Archives: February 2011

Museum of Broken Relationships

In collaboration with the American Association of Museums and the Blaffer Art Museum

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A BROKEN HEART?  Do you own an object that won’t let you forget? Here’s your chance to give it a perfect new home!  The Museum of Broken Relationships seeks your donation.  Become a part of global emotional history!

In collaboration with the American Association of Museum’s 2011 Annual Meeting & Museum Expo, the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston will present an exhibition from the permanent collection of the Museum of Broken Relationships (MBR).  The exhibition will feature detritus from failed relationships – be it a wedding dress, an “I Love You” teddy bear, or a set of fuzzy handcuffs – donated to the museum by people from around the world. Objects from the permanent collection will be on view alongside ephemera offered by Houstonians and AAM conference attendees looking to exhibit their own love legacy. The exhibit will open at Blaffer Art Museum on Saturday, May 21, and will be on view through June 4.


To donate your object, please complete the following steps:

  1. Visit
  2. Click on “SEND YOUR EXHIBIT”
  3. Submit your completed Intent to Donate Form online
  4. Print out your Donate Form (it will be emailed to you) and bring it with your object in person to the Blaffer Art Museum

Blaffer Art Museum will be accepting donations between April 26 – May 13, from 10 am – 5 pm, Tuesdays – Fridays. 

 All objects donated in Houston will be on display for the duration of the exhibition.  All objects are exhibited anonymously and are non-returnable. 


If you will be attending AAM’s Annual Meeting, we’d love to have you bring something with you to Houston to contribute to the museum and exhibition. We are accepting donations on SUNDAY, MAY 22 from 9 am – 5 pm in the AAM 2011 Annual Meeting Volunteer Office at the George R. Brown Convention Center (Room 340AB).

 If you plan on bringing something with you to Houston, please complete the following steps BEFORE APRIL 15:

  1. Visit
  2. Click on “AAM DONATIONS”
  3. Submit your completed Intent to Donate Form online by April 15
  4. Print out your Donate Form (it will be emailed to you) and bring it with your object on Sunday, May 22 between 9 am and 5 pm to the AAM 2011 Annual Meeting Volunteer Office at the George R. Brown Convention Center (Room 340AB).

 All objects donated by AAM attendees will be on display at Blaffer Art Museum beginning Tuesday, May 24.  All objects are exhibited anonymously and are non-returnable.

 Experience MBR during AAM

A shuttle will transport AAM conference attendees to the Blaffer Art Museum to see the exhibit on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 24 (exact time TBD).

 Then, attendees are encouraged to attend the AAM Annual Meeting session about the MBR, which is entitled Emotional Collection, Universal Collections: Lessons from the Museum of Broken Relationships and scheduled for Wednesday May 25 from 9 – 10:15 am.

 About the Museum of Broken Relationships

Conceptualized in Zagreb, Croatia, by Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, after the couple ended their own romantic relationship in 2006, the Museum of Broken Relationships was established by the two to create a space of protected remembrance where the material and nonmaterial heritage of broken relationships can be witnessed, and where these experiences can move beyond the individual into a universal understanding. 

 Now a permanent museum in Zagreb as well as a traveling event, MBR collects and presents anonymous objects and stories in communities around the world. Used as a strategic tool for reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia, MBR’s exhibits – the tragic and war-torn, the simple, sexy, silly and downright hilarious – strike chords of understanding, healing and universal connection in all corners of the globe, from South Africa to the Philippines, Ireland to Singapore and beyond. As the New York Times noted, MBR offers “a poignant trail of broken hearts, all on display.”

For more information, please contact

 –Selene Foster, Lois Silverman & Jeff Bowen


Wine on a Dime

AAM 2011 attendees – you are going to love “wining” about Houston. Locals – let us know your favorite wine spots.

For me personally, like everything in my life, I prefer to sniff out the ‘value.’ The dollar reigns supreme and so does the vino at these establishments.

Bar Boheme

307 Fairview [ corner of Taft ] in Montrose

This little quaint coffee and wine bar suits its name. A casual venue filled with art and sculptures from local artists where you might imagine the next artist renaissance being imagined in a dark corner of the patio.  Everyday from 4-7 pm Boheme pours $4 glasses of ‘house’ wine. I say ‘house’ because it’s whatever is open, pretty much. AND $4! If you have a more refined pallet, they also have a great selection of bottles lining the walls. Extra treat: Sunday it’s happy hour all day. And Thursdays are Cultured Cocktails benefiting a different local arts group each week.

Block 7 Wine Co 

720 Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77007 in Heights/Washington Corridor

While it seems B7 has brought in some higher end product, I can usually still find a glass around $7-$9. But why would I do that? Order the bottle. It’s the same price as if you order 2 glasses. I can usually snag a great find for $25. And there’s no corkage fee. The staff always picks out a gem for me. I love this venue for its history. It used to be an old hardware store and when the owners transformed it into a wine bar and retail shop, they kept a lot of the same architectural pieces and some furniture. Check out the retail space for some original beams and hardware drawers used for the cash area. There’s usually a great old vice grip hanging around there, too. Double points for live music on Sundays, free Saturday tastings and happy hours 4-7pm with $5 glasses of wine and appetizers.


Photo from Christine Tremoulet
909 Texas St, Houston, TX 77002 in Downtown

Another fabulous happy hour and located in the heart of downtown: This dinner club boasts $5 glasses of wine and 1/2 off appetizers til 7pm in the bar area. And stay for the live music every night and dance the night away.

13 Celsius 

Photo courtesy of Katherine Shilcutt

3000 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004 in Midtown

Located off the beaten track, 13 has my heart. Sadly, they usually get my wallet, too. They’ve introduced happy hour specials for between $5-$10/glasses and they have some great nibbles. My weakness, however, is the sparkling shiraz. One of only 2 places in town, to my knowledge, to find some [Sonoma Wine Bar is the other and Spec’s Liquor Store]. The killer deal is Sunday’s though when all open bottles are 50% off! Snag a table at their interior patio and it feels like you’re in a little French country café – or so I imagine, since I’ve never actually been to the French countryside. Bonus: the fortune cookie factory next door contributes to an absolutely heavenly scent throughout the whole neighborhood!

State Bar 

909 Texas St Ste 2A, Houston, TX 77002 in Downtown

State Bar remains one of my stalwarts for happy hours – be you in a wine mood or martini mood. It’s hidden around the corner and up the stairs from Sambuca in downtown Houston. Exposed brick walls, old leather sofas and a great wrap around bar ooze the history of the bar – once connected to the famed Rice Hotel where JFK spent his last night before his assassination in Dallas. Snag a seat on the awesome patio & laugh at everyone stuck in traffic from 3-7 pm while you sip your $4 glass of house wine.


810 Waugh Dr. Houston, TX 77019 in Montrose

New to the scene, this retro champagne bar [Houston’s only champagne bar] is located in a little strip mall next door to Jack In The Box and is unassuming and perfect for a quick sip. Happy hour specials aren’t the usual house wines but start at just $5/glass or $20/bottle. The back party room is very Mad Men meets Austin Powers, but on gorgeous Houston spring days, I like to climb up to the patio and try to steal a comfy spot while watching the progress on the new Whole Foods construction across the street. And don’t worry about running to Jack In The Box, the bites at Cha are stellar.

–Mandy Graessle
AAM 2011 Houston Hospitality Subcommittee member

VIP Prize Pack!

Enter to Win a Houston VIP Prize Pack!

Have you registered for the AAM 2011 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo in Houston? If so, we want YOU to win a VIP Houston experience! One lucky AAM attendee will be randomly selected to receive a prize pack that will make the 2011 Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo in Houston a truly unforgettable experience.

It’s easy to enter! Simply subscribe to this blog (using the same email address you registered with for the Annual Meeting) and you’ll automatically be entered in the contest to win a package complete with, but not limited to, the following perks:

REV Eco-Shuttle

Remember – you have to be registered for the Annual Meeting (by May 9) AND subscribe to this blog to be eligible to win. Those who are already subscribed to the blog as of February 22, will be automatically entered into the drawing. The winner will be selected on May 10, 2011 and announced by May 13. Employees of and individuals affiliated with any AAM 2011 participating museums, the Houston Local Host Committee, and 2011 AAM Subcommittees and task forces are not eligible to win.

Terms and conditions 

By registering for the blog and participating in this VIP raffle contest (hereby referred to as “The Contest”), you, the participant, agree to abide by the following rules and eligibility requirements:
(1)           The Contest is limited to those participants who are registered as of May 1, 2011 to attend the 2011 AAM Annual Conference in Houston, Texas.
(2)           Participants must be over twenty-one (21) years of age.
(3)           The Contest entry is free of charge and there is no purchase necessary to win.
(4)           Each participant is limited to one (1) raffle entry.
(5)           All taxes due on The Contest prizes are the sole responsibility of the winning participant.
(6)           By entering The Contest, you are authorizing AAM to use your name and image in connection with The Contest, and identify you as The Contest winner.
(7)           Employees of and individuals affiliated with AAM 2011 participating museums in Houston and 2011 Local Host Committee member institutions are ineligible for The Contest.

–Jeff Bowen, Blaffer Art Museum
Anna Foret, Rice University Art Gallery
Adrienne Saxe, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
AAM 2011 VIP Package Task Force

Houston Chronicle: Museum Guide

The AAM 2011 Local Host Committee is excited to be working with the Houston Chronicle on its first ever museum guide!

On May 22, the Houston Chronicle will publish Museums of Texas, an in-depth look at museums from around the state, large and small.  Editorial coverage will focus on industry trends, interviews with museum directors and collectors as well as the Chronicle’s editorial staff picks for the 25 best little museums in Texas. It will also include a statewide calendar of exhibits and events.

All museums are encouraged to submit their note-worthy information, story ideas and pitches directly to features editor, Melissa Aguilar, at, by March 1.

Melissa’s recommendation was to think of it like this — if museums had ONE thing to tell her or ONE thing that they would want people to see or do at their museum in 2011, what would that be? That’s what she wants to know.

The museum guide will be included in the Chronicle’s full Sunday distribution of 515,236 and prior to the publish date, the Chronicle will send an e-blast to their database of one million+ opt-in participants, alerting them about the section. Additionally, an interactive version will be available at where readers will be able to view content and link directly to an advertiser’s website through the ad.

Museums of Texas is made possible through advertising and the sales team has begun outreach to museums across the state for support. They developed the following special rate structure for the section:


Full page                     $8,250

Half page                    $5,350

Quarter page               $3,610

Eighth page                 $2,565

 The Chronicle will print 50,000 overruns of the section to be given to advertising partners for additional distribution. They will also create a special AAM guide to wrap overruns of the section which will be included in the AAM Conference tote bags, serving as a resource to all attendees.    

The AAM 2011 Local Host Committee supports the Museums of Texas guide and encourages all museums in Texas, especially those within the greater Houston area and those participating in the 2011 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, to purchase an ad.  If necessary, museums can collaborate with one another to purchase co-op space in the guide.

For advertising information, please contact Lorna Potter at or 713-362-2724.

It is our hope that Museums of Texas will help to raise the profile of museums throughout Houston and the state with entertaining and insightful editorial coverage. And with the support of advertisers, we will encourage the Houston Chronicle to make this an annual section so we ask that you please support it in any way that you can.

–Laura Jones
Dancie Perugini Ware Public Relations
AAM 2011 Media Relations Task Force Chair

Museum Art Car: Call For Materials


Greater Houston Area Museums Art Car

The 2011 American Association of Museums (AAM) Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo Local Host Committee, in partnership with the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, the Houston Arts Alliance and Spacetaker, is commissioning an Art Car design representing the Greater Houston Area Museums for the 2011 Art Car Parade on Sunday, May 22, 2011.

The Art Car Parade marks the opening event for the AAM Annual Meeting, which brings more than 5,000 museum professionals from all over the world to Houston. Following the parade, the Houston Museums Art Car will be displayed at the George R. Brown Convention Center during the AAM conference, May 22-25, 2011.

A call for artists for the Houston Museums Art Car was distributed in early February.  The Houston Museums Art Car task force will be meeting soon to select the artist.  In the meantime, we encourage museums to gather the materials they would like to see added to the car to represent their institution.  The Spacetaker offices at Winter Street Studios will serve as the collection point for all materials, until they are delivered to the selected artist to incorporate into the car.

Project Objectives: The selected artist will utilize objects and materials provided by museums in the Greater Houston Area to design and create an Art Car that showcases the quality and diversity of Houston’s museum community; reflects the spirit of the Art Car tradition while revealing Greater Houston’s vibrancy as a creative generator; and uses materials that can withstand unexpected weather conditions. The late Dr. Peter Marzio, who served as General Chair of the AAM 2011 conference before his passing, envisioned this car looking like it drove through every museum (and its gift shop) in Houston, and emerging as so. The Houston Museums Art Car will be dedicated to his memory. 

MUSEUMS TO PROVIDE MATERIALS:  This car will be decorated with items collected from Houston area museums. We invite you to participate in this project by donating materials for the artist/artist team to use in decorate the car. Materials should reflect your museum 

Suggested Materials:

  • Items that represent your institution: bumper stickers, tote bags, mugs, t-shirts, etc.
  • Items that will stand up to all weather conditions: plastic items, toys, snow globes, etc.
  • Items the artist could collage on the car: posters, catalogues, other paper items, etc.
  • The car will likely be a limo (more surface area = more museums represented!) so please donate items in bulk where possible! Items that are not used will not be returned.

Instructions for submitting materials:

Specific dates and times have been identified for museums to deliver / drop off their materials.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 10 am – 6 pm
Wednesday, March 2, 2011, 10 am – 6 pm

Spacetaker / Winter Street Studios
2101 Winter Street, Studio 11
Houston, TX 77007                                                                              

If someone from your museum is unable to deliver your museums materials during the specified dates/time, please contact Jenni Rebecca Stephenson (contact information below) to discuss special arrangements. However, please note, NO MATERIALS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER MARCH 2. They will be delivered to the artist on March 3, and the artist only use materials provided to him/her at that time.


For questions about the project contact:
Jenni Rebecca Stephenson, Executive Director
Spacetaker | Artist Resource Center
713.868.1839     |

Volunteer Registration Now Open!

Volunteer at the 2011 American Association of Museums Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo!

Houston welcomes more than 5,000 museum professionals from some 55 countries to the American Association of Museums’ 105th Annual Meeting and Museum Expo held May 22 – 25, 2011 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, TX. 

Registration is now open for volunteers interested in working at the meeting. An orientation takes place on Thursday, May 19, from 4- 6 pm for volunteer positions running May 20 through May 25.  Volunteers will earn a one-day pass to the meeting for each four hours of volunteer service performed between May 20 and May 25.  To review and register for available volunteer jobs, visit

This year’s meeting theme is “The Museum of Tomorrow.”  Where better to hold such a meeting than in the fast-paced, diverse, city-of-tomorrow – Houston, TX!  Fun positions include session monitors, office assistants, registration assistants, hospitality lounge assistants, and more.  Volunteers range from museum professionals from around the country to eager Houstonians who love to brag about our amazing city.  Be a part of the action, meet fantastic people, and help build “The Museum of Tomorrow.”  Visit and register today!

–Mona Fluitt
 2011 AAM Volunteer Coordinator

Eat: Foodies Beware!

Foodies beware! You may find it hard to focus on the AAM conference program in Houston while surrounded by all the delicious fare in this city. The fourth largest city in the nation touts an award-winning culinary scene getting the city some major national recognition. With more than 8,000 restaurants in the area, Houston is serving up culinary cre­ations from more than 35 countries and American regions. It’s no wonder Houston residents dine out an average of 4.2 times a week—more frequently than diners in any other city—according to a 2010 Zagat Survey.

Make time to eat your way through Houston. Here are some of our local favorites, but we encourage our Houston museum friends to post their picks!

Elbow your way past locals for a table at Ninfa’s on Navigation. The original location turns out crispy chips, oh-so-addicting green sauce and tart Ninfaritas. Another must-do is Irma’s Restaurant Downtown. Owner Irma Galvan, who won the 2008 James Beard Foundation’s America’s Classics Award, whips up tasty breakfast and lunch grub. Say yes to the fruity lemonade.

Demeris Barbecue has been feeding Houstonians chopped beef for more than 40 years. Come hungry to Goode Company—another H-Town staple. Save room for the pecan pie. Head to Pizzitola’s along the popular Washington corridor, featuring Houston’s oldest BBQ pit.

The cherry blossom branches that drip from the ceilings make it easy to forget that Gigi’s Asian Bistro is in The Galleria. The dim sum here is a definite do. Kiran’s has perfected her Indian-French-American fare like the classic chicken tikka masala and creamy lamb saag. For more spice, Indika cooks up venison vindaloo as hot as the Montrose scene. Fans flock to Thai Sticks for fiery green curry with ground green Thai chilies and basil.

Mark’s American Cuisine, set inside a renovated 1920s church, has made Zagat’s No. 1 Food Spot in Houston for seven years running. Looking for the In Crowd? They’re at Tony’s. Expect a Texas-sized vino list—there are more than 1,000 wine choices—and upscale European-style Italian food. Set in a classic New Orleans style abode, Brennan’s of Houston serves a Texas creole-inspired menu.

Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler at Ragin Cajun. If you’re feeling adventurous (and want to live like a local) order a bucket of the crawfish. For a little less messy experience, Midtown’s Reef restaurant is well-versed in Gulf Coast seafood. The spot was recently named No. 1 Seafood Restaurant in America by Bon Appétit magazine.

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the steak. For a hearty helping, hit west Houston’s Taste of Texas. The family-owned spot has an in-house butcher shop, a menu printed in 13 languages and a mean NY Strip. For a business lunch, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in The Galleria area is a safe bet, too. Date night do: Downtown’s Strip House. The all-red bordello-chic décor sets a sexy scene to take in the spot’s sinful 24-layer chocolate cake.

Think: Haute Dogs and Damn…Yankee Pot Roast at Max’s Wine Dive—offering a cheeky take on comfort food. Lance Fegan presents a constantly-changing, surf-inspired menu at the Glass Wall. Enjoy sweeping views of Downtown’s skyline from Sawyer Park rooftop bar. Nearby t’afia has an herbal cocktail to quench your thirst, too. But don’t stay out too late! The best part of waking up is Midtown’s breakfast klub, where the signature waffles and wings are well worth the wait.

AAM attendees – we look forward to sharing this culinary diversity when you’re here in May.

-Laurette Canizares and Natalie Bogan Morgan,
Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau