Category Archives: Houston Events

Fab Collab – Queens Museum of Art and Project Row Houses: An On-Site Insight Experience

Project Row Houses has been showing visitors for years how art can impact a neighborhood in a positive way.  And on Sunday, May 22, 50 AAM attendees got a double dose when they had the opportunity to visit and see the work that PRH has been doing for the last 17 years plus hear firsthand about the impressive strides that the Queens Museum of Art (QMA) have made in connecting with their surrounding diverse community. 

The tour began at PRH’s office building where new faces crowded into the cool air-conditioning as Rick Lowe (PRH Founding Director), Tamika Evans (Row House CDC Property Manager), Tom Finkelpearl (QMA Executive Director) and Prerana Reddy (QMA Event Director) welcomed everyone to Project Row Houses.  Rick told the story of PRH, his conversations in 1992 with six other African American artists and how they were working toward using their art to create a positive change within the Third Ward Community.  During a tour of Houston’s worst neighborhoods they discovered the 22 boarded up shotgun houses (c.1933), and inspired by Joseph Beuys’ idea of Social Sculpture and the work of Dr. John Biggers, transformed the houses and created Project Row Houses as we know it today.Everyone stepped out in the Houston sunshine and began walking down the historic oyster-shelled sidewalk along Holman Street, where they meandered in and out of the seven historic shotgun houses which now serve as Artist Project Spaces, currently displaying Round 34: Matter of FOODA few attendees were delighted to see GreenHouse Collective’s aquaponic garden and the chickens located in the back courtyard. 

We turned the corner onto St. Charles, walking by the Young Mothers Residential Program and gazed upon the development of 12 Duplexes where the Row House CDC provides affordable rental units, designed by Rice Building Workshop.  We wandered into the old Delia’s Lounge, which now serves as affordable studio rentals and visited with artists Robert Pruitt, Rabe’a Ballin and Gregory Michael Carter.  As we made our way across Dowling Street, Rick pointed out Flower Man’s House and the Rice Building Workhop’s ZeRow House. The tour ended at the historic Eldorado Ballroom.  Everyone had the opportunity to rest their tired legs and refill on water as Tamika Evans spoke in more depth about the residents living in the Row Houses CDC Duplexes, how they are selected, the interest of a mixed income neighborhood and the expectations for community interaction.The focus shifted as Prerana and Tom presented a PowerPoint of the Queens Museum of Art.    Maps are shown illustrating the melting pot community that surrounds QMA.  We learn through historic images that QMA is located inside the New York City building created to house the New York City Pavilion at the 1939 World’s Fair and that from 1946 to 1950 it housed the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations.  As the context is set of where QMA is located, Tom and Prerana speak about the various programs their museum has developed and share images depicting the creative ways in which they have successfully connected with their surrounding community.  We learn they have community organizers and art therapists on staff, offering workshops and working out in the neighborhood engaging the diverse residents.  We see the The Panorama of the City of New York, the largest architectural model, built by Robert Moses for the 1964 World’s Fair and how Damon Rich activated the panorama by displaying housing foreclosures as part of his project Red Lines Housing Crisis Learning Center.  Additionally, we learned about some of the innovative projects being developed through their programs The Heart of Corona Initiative, Queens Teens and New New Yorkers.   

The presentation ended with PRH’s Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud talking about her project labotanica and then a Q&A followed.  Everyone emerged back into the May warmth making their way, with satisfied expressions upon their face, back onto the bus.  Feedback assures me that, for many, this was an inspiring first day of the conference. 

–Ashley Clemmer Hoffman, Project Row Houses; AAM 2011 On-Site Insight Co-Coordinator


Exhibition in Collaboration with AAM Offers Unique Perspective


Beginning this weekend, Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston presents an exhibition from the permanent collection of the Museum of Broken Relationships. In collaboration with the 2011 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo™ in Houston, the exhibition will feature detritus from failed relationships — be it a wedding dress, an “I Love You” teddy bear, or a set of fluffy 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 attendees looking to exhibit their own love legacy; as a reminder, AAM attendees will be able to drop off their object on Sunday, May 22 between 9 am and 5 pm at the AAM 2011 Annual Meeting Volunteer Office in the George R. Brown Convention Center (Room 340AB).For those of you in Houston TONIGHT, Blaffer Art Museum invites the public to an opening reception in celebration of the exhibition. It will take place today, Friday, May 20, from 6 until 9 pm. Admission is free and complimentary cocktails will be provided.  If you plan on attending the opening reception, let Blaffer know on Facebook! But if you’re not in town until after AAM begins, be sure to catch a ride on a free bus tour that departs to Blaffer from Exhibit Hall E in front of the Convention Center at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, May 24.Conceptualized in Zagreb, Croatia, by Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic, 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.

–Jeff Bowen, Blaffer Art Museum; member of the AAM 2011 Public Relations & Marketing Subcommittee

The P.O.D.A Project Has Arrived!

The opening reception for the P.O.D.A. Project kicked off tonight at Discovery Green. Hundreds ascended on the park for a rockin’ party, complete with St. Arnold suds and Fusion Taco treats.  The eight PODS containers were a huge hit!  We can’t wait for AAM attendees to get to Houston so they too can enjoy this amazing public art exhibit, as well as all the other fun things happening in the park during the conference. 
Below are some photos taken during tonight’s opening reception by Local Host Committee member, Kim Davenport, the director of Rice Univeristy Art Gallery. Thanks for sharing these with us, Kim!

 –Monica Rhodes, AAM 2011 Local Conference Coordinator

Join us as Houston hosts the AAM Annual Meeting’s first ever Community Service Project

Many of us who are involved in museums are dedicated to caring for material culture and educating others about subjects like history, science, art and culture. But how often do we get to roll up our sleeves and be a part of making a tangible and unique expression that will leave a lasting legacy in our community? The 2011 AAM Community Service Project on Saturday, May 21 from 2 – 5 pm will give us just that opportunity.

Houston Museum of African American Culture

Houston Museum of African American Culture

AAM has partnered with one of Houston’s newest museums, the Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) located at 4807 Caroline at Wentworth in the Houston Museum District, to give conference attendees and Houstonians alike the opportunity to unite and make murals that will be displayed publicly around the city at locations as diverse as Julia C. Hester House in the Fifth Ward, the Jewish Community Center, Ripley House Neighborhood Center, Blue Triangle Community Center in the Third Ward, and the Chinese Community Center.

You don’t have to be an artist to participate in the community service project or even think of yourself as creative or craftsy. The project is open to all!  We need all hands on deck to HMAAC expand the scope and impact of its mural initiative! There’s no doubt in my mind as to how rewarding the project will be as we all chip in to support a new museum.

Museum of Cultural Arts Houston

Museum of Cultural Arts Houston

The afternoon is designed to be easy and fun. HMAAC has selected a diverse group of talented local artists, such as Jade Cooper, Matt Manalo, Toni Brione, Julian Kyle, Daniel Anguilu, and Shannon Duckworth, who have designed paint-by-number-type murals for us to help fill in. The artists will be present during the project to guide us through the process, talk to us about their inspiration and discuss how they hope the works will affect the communities in which they are installed.

This is the first year that an AAM host committee has organized a community service project, and it will set an important precedent for how the conference can be leveraged in the future to support museums and spread positive change in the host community at large.  The AAM Community Service Project is something that Dean Phelus, AAM’s director of meetings and professional development has always wanted to do, and he knew that the Houston Local Host Committee would be the right group to make it happen.  Upon hearing the concept, Dr. Peter Marzio, who served as the General Chair of AAM 2011 until his death in December 2010, eagerly embraced the idea and charged the Local Host Committee’s public art and programming subcommittee led by co-chairs Jonathan Glus, the CEO of Houston Arts Alliance, and Claudia Schmuckli, director and chief curator of Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, with the task of organizing it.

HMAAC was identified early on as an important partner in the project as their new home in the Houston Museum District is nearing completion around the same time as the AAM conference, and the subcommittee worked closely with John Guess, Jr. and the staff at HMACC to plan the project. HMAAC is an African American Museum that serves the greater Houston community, which is characterized by diversity. This diversity is reflected in the participating artists and community centers of this project, and reflected by HMAAC’s programming in general.  In addition, Houston has a storied history of magnificent murals, including those by the legendary African American painter John Biggers, and it will be an honor to participate in that tradition even in a small way.

For my part, I have enjoyed working on the subcommittee and getting to know my colleagues at HMAAC and fellow Community Service Project members: Monica Rhodes, the AAM 2011 Local Conference Coordinator; Trudi Smith from the Buffalo Bayou Partnership; and Reginald Adams from the Museum of Cultural Arts Houston. I am looking forward to working with the artists and helping HMAAC realize its mission. I think it will be a wonderful activity to kick off the AAM conference. It will put us off on the right foot and remind us all of the reason we are so passionate about museums– because they engage us, bring us together and give us a sense of community and purpose.

To participate in AAM Community Service Project, please RSVP to or call 713.353.1570 by May 15. Remember – EVERYONE is welcome!

–Rachel Hooper
Associate Curator and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Curatorial Fellow,
Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston;
member of the AAM 2011 Public Arts & Programming Subcommittee & Community Service Project Task Force

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

As the fourth largest city in the nation, Houston has a lot to offer, and the Houston Astros, our hometown baseball team, is extending some southern hospitality to attendees of the 2011 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo™ by offering exclusive discount tickets. Minute Maid Park, located in thriving downtown (just down the street from conference headquarters at the George R. Brown Convention Center), is certainly a sight to see for anyone visiting, and enjoying America’s favorite past time when the Houston Astros take on the Los Angeles Dodgers at these discounted prices cannot be beat!

Enter the park through what was once Houston’s Union Station, and cheer on the Astros…a home team homerun or win will send the stadium train, which pays homage to the site’s history as a former train depot, moving along its 800 foot track. And, as long as temperatures aren’t soaring, the retractable roof will be open so that fans can take in the sights and sounds of the game with downtown towering around them.

Games start at 7:05 p.m. on Monday, May 23 and Tuesday, May 24, and 1:05 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25. Prices are low as $8 for a View Deck II Seat, normally $13, and $23 for a Field Box Seat, normally $41.

This offer is open to AAM visitors and local museum friends alike!  To purchase your tickets, log on to, and enter the password: AAM. For group ticket purchases of 20 or more, or for more information, contact Jeff Troncoso at 713.259.8318 or

–Lisa Sursavage, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Houstonians are the Sparkle that Make Houston Shine

A table in a Texas Southern University studio has become a parking lot of cars waiting to be painted.

671.  That’s the number of shifts (thus far) required to produce AAM Houston 2011.  Session monitors, office assistants, registration assistants, hospitality lounge assistants, greeters, public art docents, and more are necessary to properly welcome the American Association of Museums’ members as they gather to conduct business, network, and learn.  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!

The AAM Volunteer Subcommittee released the call and Houston is answering.  Staff members and volunteers from our amazing museums as well as community and corporate citizens are all heading downtown to the George R. Brown Convention Center to ensure that this generation of museum professionals talk about all Houston has to offer for years to come.

In preparation for my job as Volunteer Coordinator for AAM Houston 2011, I attended the AAM 2010 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.  I sat near the entrance to check-in volunteers upon their arrival.  I didn’t know anyone there, so I remained at that post in the back of the room throughout the orientation.  Fortunately, with everyone’s back to me, they could not see the smirk on my face as the 2010 Volunteer Subcommittee Chair explained to the crowd the importance of doing a good job because, “next year AAM goes to Houston and no other city volunteers like Houston!”

It’s no wonder that AAM selected Houston to launch several new programs including the first ever Community Service Project and Public Session Track.  It’s no surprise that the Houston Local Host Committee created amazing new projects on its own including the Portable On Demand Arts (PODA) Project.  It’s not a stretch to imagine that local galleries, corporate partners, and other organizations want to join us in this adventure.  Why?  Because this is Houston.  And it is the hard work and dedication of volunteers that will make AAM Houston 2011 an over-the-top success.

Artist Jesse Sifuentes and student LaStarsha McGarity discuss a collection of cars in progress.

The AAM Houston Volunteer Subcommittee has found an exciting way to thank the volunteer corps registering for shifts on the Volunteer Registration website.  Houston artist Jesse Sifuentes has created an original, limited and numbered edition, ceramic art piece to celebrate AAM Houston 2011.  The art car inspired piece is a half-circle design mimicking a hub cap and features an art car on top.  Each piece is uniquely hand-painted by professional and volunteer artists from around the city.  The result will be a fun and funky, one-of-a-kind piece of art which AAM volunteers will be proud to display in their home or office.

AAM volunteers gain access to the event’s fascinating sessions and exhibit hall, providing rare insight into the great museums in Houston and around the world.  Shifts are filling quickly, so don’t miss this chance.

Registration is open for interested volunteers.  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 conference for each four hours of volunteer service performed between May 20 and May 25.  To review and register for available volunteer jobs, click here.

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, AAM 2011 Volunteer Coordinator

Special Free Art Gallery Tour for AAM attendees – Saturday, May 21, 4 – 8 pm

Hello AAM and museum friends! 

Gus Kopriva of RedBud Gallery, Wayne Gilbert of G Gallery, and Catherine Anspon, PaperCity magazine Fine Arts & Social Editor and author of the new and exciting book, ” Texas Artists Today,”  here! 

We are hosting a special (and gratis!) tour of some of Houston’s premiere gallery spaces, planned especially for AAMers, on Saturday, May 21 from 4 – 8 pm (from the Hilton Americas Houston hotel) and hope that you can join us!

Houston is a proven leading international center of business, trade, medicine, education and art. Houston has always maintained a leading position in the arts and is proud to introduce AAM attendees to a small taste of what has become accepted as the Third Coast of American Art.  

 G Gallery

The tour will start with a little glance at just a few of our past Presidents, large sculptures by Houston artist David Adickes, while in route to the historic Houston Heights for a look at the RedBud Gallery, G Gallery and NauHaus gallery. This cluster of galleries highlights a largely eclectic mix of art from every genre, exhibiting early, middle and late career artists. It is not unusual to have a world famous artist in one gallery, a locally renowned artist in another and a self taught, early career or perhaps a MFA graduate in the other.

From there, our group will proceed to the Hiram Butler Gallery nestled in a delightful tree laden section of Houston called the Washington Corridor. Hiram Butler is one of Houston’s oldest galleries and has a strong tradition of Prints and Drawings and exhibits some of Houston’s best artists such as Joe Havel, Terrell James, as well as internationally famous artist such as Jennifer Bartlett and James Turrell.

Next stop on the tour – the Sicardi Gallery and McClain Galleries in the Upper Kirby District. Sicardi Gallery is the premier connection to Latin American art, showing modern and contemporary artists. McClain Gallery principals Robert and Cynthia Cage McClain,  have focused on the exhibition and the acquisition of museum quality artist such as John Alexander, Aaron Parazette, Louise Nevelson, Julian Schnabel and Cy Twombly, to name a few.

From there, we’ll head down the road for a cocktail reception at the Colton Farb Gallery where we will be fortunate to catch a glimpse of two of Houston best known artists, Sharon Kopriva and Angelbert Metoyer, as well as many beloved international artists.

Last but not least, we’ll stop at Moody Gallery, nestled in an area commonly referred to as Gallery Row or Colquitt Row, and one of 14 galleries in the neighborhood. Betty Moody, of Moody Gallery, is affectionately known as the grand dame of the Houston art community and has been a leading advocate of art and artists in Houston, helping make Houston the great art center it has become. Moody Gallery exhibits a selection of some of the leading artists in America.

While there isn’t enough time on the tour to see the other 13 galleries on Colquitt Row, we encourage AAMers and locals alike to come back soon to visit these gems.  We also recommend other Houston galleries such as Meredith Long, Archway Gallery, those on 4411 Montrose, including Anya Tish Gallery, Peel Gallery, and Barbara Davis Gallery, and the powerhouse group on Main Street, including Bryan Miller Gallery, Art Palace and Kerry Inman Gallery.

As for the exciting overview of Houston’s art scene that will be featured on the tour, we do hope you’ll join us. Space is limited, so please reserve your seat soon by sending an email with your contact information (name, company, email and phone) to by May 6. 


–Catherine Anspon, Gus Kopriva, and Wayne Gilbert