Yesterday AAMers and Houstonians joined forces for the first ever AAM Community Service Project, picking up paint brushes and cans of spray paint at one of Houston’s newest museums (slated to open later this year), the Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC), to help a diverse group of Houston artists create public artworks for community centers across the city. Working closely with the artists was a special treat, but it was also wonderful to meet other volunteers, some of whom had just flown in from all over the world to attend the conference. Visitors to Houston got to know our community in a very special way by participating directly in the rich diversity and cultural life of our city. About 60 people in total came to HMAAC for the project, and by the end of the day, six beautiful artworks were ready to be installed.
Daniel Anguilu designed panels with Chinese characters and a fire breathing dragon for the Chinese Community Center. Anguilu outlined the work in his signature angular style and volunteers used spray paint to fill in the sections. Toni Brioni and Chu painted family portraits surrounded by candle flames for the Ripley House Neighborhood Center. Jade Cooper worked with volunteers to line up dominoes in a classroom as part of an installation that she will photograph for the Jewish Community Center. Shannon Duckworth made a beautiful paint-by-number type canvas with doves flying around a heart for the Julia C. Hester House in the Fifth Ward. Julian Kyle painted a portrait of a civil rights leader to be installed in HMAAC. Matt Manalo‘s painting showed a the face of a child beneath the words “speak,” “read,” “think” and “influence” for the families at the Blue Triangle Community Center in the Third Ward.
Volunteers also enjoyed spending time with two exhibitions installed at HMAAC– The Roux, an exhibition of prints, and the University of Houston School of Art Graphic Communications Senior Show. They also got a sneak peek at renderings of the new museum scheduled to be completed this fall. A great experience was had by all!
Many thanks to all AAM attendees and Houstonians who came out to help during the very first ever AAM community service project! AAM has left its mark in Houston and set the precedent for future community service projects at annual meetings in the years to come. Thanks!
–Rachel Hooper, Associate Curator and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fellow, Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston; chair of AAM 2011 Community Service Project Task Force; member, AAM 2011 Public Arts & Programming Subcommittee.