The Idea Fund, a re-granting program administered by DiverseWorks, Aurora Picture Show, and Project Row Houses and funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts announces the Round 8 (2016) grantees. The Idea Fund administrators are Rachel Cook, Associate Curator, DiverseWorks; Ryan Dennis, Public Art Director, Project Row Houses; and Mary Magsamen, Curator Aurora Picture Show.
104 artists or collaboratives from the Greater Houston area applied for The Idea Fund, and 12 were funded: JooYoung Choi; Couch Collective (lead artist Lynn Huynh); Taraneh Fazeli; Htxpeopleproject (Bria Lauren & Morganne Nikole Cameron); Vinod Hopson; Anthony Mills; Laura Napier; Mel Petersen & Anna Brodl; Anthony Obi & Matthew Ramirez; Cristal Chanelle Truscott; Nick Vaughan &Jake Margolin; and Uncommon Will (lead artist Tek Wilson). A total of $45,000 will be distributed at three distinct levels: Stimulus ($7,000), Catalyst ($4,000), and Spark ($1,000).
The Round 8 jurors were Shana Berger and Nathan Purath, Co-Directors, Coleman Center for the Arts, York, AL; Joy Moore, Houston-based artist and 2015 Idea Fund recipient; and Ted Purves, writer, artist, and Chair of the Graduate Program of Fine Arts at California College of the Arts, Oakland.
Of the selection process, Ted Purves says: “One of the things that struck me about the selected proposals was not just the breadth of artists’ strategies in the Houston area, but also the diverse definitions and understanding of what communities can be and can mean within the context of those artistic practices.”
Shana Berger says: “It was a pleasure to get to the know the diverse and innovative artists and projects of Houston.”
Nathan Purath says: “The works were striking. There is clearly a lot of energy within Houston’s creative community.”
Joy Moore says: “I am honored to have served our community of artists and creatives on the panel of jurors. After long and careful consideration of each and every entry, both independently and as a panel, we selected a diverse lot whose forward-facing proposals added something unique or needed to our landscape. I am more appreciative than ever of the inventive, resilient, eccentric heart of Texas.”
The Idea Fund 2016 Grantees and Projects:
Cristal Chanelle Truscott: Plantation Remix
Plantation Remix is a NeoSpiritual and a capella musical that will be performed at historical plantations in the United States in order to revisit, raze, rework, reimagine, and remix the separatist genre of “traditional” antebellum reenactments through multi-perspective narratives of both the enslaved and the slave owners and their descendants.
Nick Vaughan & Jake Margolin: 50 States: Colorado
50 States: Colorado is a live-simulcast multi-city toast to the life of Charles “Frenchy” Vosbaugh, a little-known transgender man who lived in the small mining town of Trinidad, Colorado in the early 1880s. Five transgender or gender-queer performers/writers will host simultaneous potlucks in Houston and four other cities across the country that will culminate in a toast to this unsung pioneer. The events will be simulcast to Trinidad where Vaughan and Margolin together with local community members will offer the final toast to “Frenchy” in a fleeting but raucous assertion that the road to LGBTQ progress was paved by ordinary people of extraordinary bravery.
Mel Petersen & Anna Brodl: Awesome Drone Project
Awesome Drone Project is the world’s first drone play, a treatise on man’s dependence on technology and technology’s dependence on man. Petersen and Brodl propose a play written for and performed by drones. They will use the drones to record audience reactions to and interactions with the drones and incorporate the video into the final production.
Uncommon Will (Lead Artist Tek Wilson): Winifred
Winifred is a performance event based on Winifred Wagner, daughter-in-law to Richard Wagner, the composer, mother of his grandchildren. Winifred is a theatrical event that disrupts pre-conceived expectations of theater. The performance will deconstruct themes of innocence and guilt (both personal and cultural), sexual politics, artistic purity, feminism, and familial relations.
Taraneh Fazeli: Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capital’s Temporal Bullying
Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time is a multi-pronged curatorial project comprised of performances, workshops, a reading group, and publications that ask the following questions: What makes us sick? What bodies are more vulnerable to illness? How might we envision a way to care for ourselves and others in a manner which eschews the placement of guilt on the sick individual? How can we avoid pathologizing non-normative bodies or behaviors? The project will meld cultural theory and scientific research while engaging disability activists, artists, and public health officials to address these issues.
Vinod Hopson: To Those Who Desire
To Those Who Desire is a project exploring that lost, often-difficult history of Houston through performance and cartography. Hopson will conduct a series of public tours, narrating the forgotten histories of the city and traveling between locations on a bus stitching them together to form a more fully understood appreciation of this place. Hopson will also produce a printed map based upon sites visited on the tour.
Anthony Mills: The Porch Project
The Porch Project will capture the oral history of Houston-area elders through interviews on their porches. They will be engaged on a variety of topics including gentrification, education, health, and wealth. The Porch Project will be documented through film, an online audio series to air on All Real Radio, and photography. Mills will also organize a community roundtable discussion with the participants in the project.
Anthony Obi & Matthew Ramirez: I Found Me
I Found Me is a publication that facilitates the self-discovery process for Houston’s creative community, one figure at a time. I Found Me gives a voice to various creative Houstonians. Each article will feature a discussion in an effort to examine the essence of what they do and why they do it. The stories will focus on people of color to represent Houston’s ascension as the most ethnically diverse metropolitan area in America.
JooYoung Choi: The Snow People Space Travel to Texas Initiative
Puppets and snow people both rely on human imagination to exist, without the attention of viewers puppets become heaps of fabric, and snowmen become piles of snow. Choi will create a collaborative interactive project with a unique set of Snow People puppets that will be distributed to six Houstonians who will be their caretakers for the summer. Through the construction and distribution of snow puppets, this project will explore how imaginative play objects can enhance our lives.
Couch Collective (Lead Artist Lynn Huynh): 99¢ Dreams Zine and Found Girlhood Art Show
99¢ Dreams Zine is a DIY project coordinated by and for Houston teens who wish to showcase their talents and raise their voices about cultural trends, social and political issues, and artistic endeavors. Huynh will organize an exhibition that diversifies the interpretation and representation of teenage girls, a largely mystified and romanticized demographic.
Htxpeopleproject (Bria Lauren & Morganne Nikole Cameron): NAKED: Public Art Exhibition/ Documentary
htxpeopleproject is a collaborative that is rooted in the ability for women to create a sense of community in a safe space where they can freely communicate their stories, experiences, and circumstances. This debut documentary series, NAKED, gives black women the opportunity to tell their story of struggle, adversity, and perseverance. Through this documentary, htxpeopleproject seeks to challenge the reverberated appropriation that society has placed upon the black woman’s attitude, image, and role.
Laura Napier: Sea of Oil
Sea of Oil focuses on ways that the petrochemical industry intersects with everyday life, primarily in Southeast and Central Texas, major oil producing and processing regions. Sea of Oil will culminate in an exhibition of transcripts, video, photographs, and related objects already collected, along with a public talk. The installation will be inspired by the small, volunteer-run regional oil museums that dot Southeast and Central Texas.
The Idea Fund is structured to provide artists with quick access to substantial financial support for projects that might not otherwise have access to funding. Now in its eighth round, The Idea Fund is the second re-granting initiative of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, following the pilot program, Alternative Exposure, administered by Southern Exposure in San Francisco. In addition to Houston and San Francisco, The Warhol Foundation now funds similar regranting programs in Portland, OR; New Orleans; Miami; Kansas City, MO; Chicago; Baltimore; and the state of Maine.