ANNOUNCING THE 2024 IDEA FUND GRANTEES
THE IDEA FUND AWARDS $60,000
to 14 GREATER HOUSTON AREA ARTISTS & COLLECTIVES
(Houston, TX, January 29th, 2024) – The Idea Fund, a re-granting program administered by DiverseWorks, Aurora Picture Show, and Project Row Houses, funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, is thrilled to announce the selection of 14 projects by Houston-based artists to receive grants between $2,500 – $5,000 for The Idea Fund’s Round 17 (2024) grant cycle.
Grantees will present their projects to the public at the 2024 Award Presentation on Feb. 20, 2024, 7:00 PM, at Eldorado Ballroom, 2310 Elgin St, Houston, TX 77004.
Round 17 was juried by Tay Butler, artist, and Round 16 Grantee, Ekrem Serdar, Curator, Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center, Buffalo, NY and Connie Yu, artist and Project Manager, The Velocity Fund, Philadelphia Contemporary, Philadelphia, PA.
For more information check out our press release.
THE IDEA FUND ROUND 17 GRANTEES AND PROJECTS:
Salomé Benalcázar – Sus voces nos hilvanan/Their voices baste
Sus voces hilvanan/Their voices baste is a collective loom-based project that highlights the loss of women to patriarchal violence, both conceptually and symbolically. Developed through open call and working closely with family members, Benalcazar will coordinate the creation of a series of separate textile pieces with phrases of Latinas who lost their lives to femicide. Participants will choose their beloved women’s words and decide how to attach the pieces. Weaving phrases together to create a collective poem that honors these women’s lives.
Sebastien Boncy – Houston Loops & Lines
Houston Loops & Lines is a self-published book project designed to introduce a larger audience to the possibilities of “Purple Time Space Swamp” (PTSS). PTSS is an ongoing visual archive of the city of Houston with over four thousand copyright-free images and counting, available to all by request. With the support of The Idea Fund, Boncy will develop Houston Loops & Lines, an affordable primer of the archive shared with local libraries. In addition to the book release, Boncy will develop photo tours of unorthodox H-town spaces and an artist dialogue on imaging the city.
Liyen Chong & Eddie Garcia aka Inspire – Intergenerational Grief Work, Joy and Triumph
Intergenerational Grief Work, Joy and Triumph is a collaborative project developed by visual artists Liyen Chong and Houston poet Eddie Garcia a.k.a. Inspire. The project seeks to understand how grief is discussed in public spaces and how discussing grief can promote healing, working toward self-advocacy and reconciliation. With support from The Idea Fund, Chong and Inspire will host a series of intentionally designed conversations that explore intergenerational and complicated grief work through the creative acts of storytelling, writing, and artmaking. The process will culminate with a “Grief Work Manifesto” that will be created to be shared publicly online, highlighting traditional and non-traditional ways to move from grief to triumph and joy.
Farrah Fang & Urethra Burns – The Future is Trans!: Amplifying The Next Generation of Trans & Nonbinary Voices: THE FUTURE IS TRANS!: Amplifying The Next Generation of Trans & Nonbinary Voices is a group exhibition and curatorial project of Farrah Fang and Urethra Burns. With support from The Idea Fund, Fang and Burns will select emerging Texan trans and nonbinary artists of different mediums to present new and existing work as part of the project. The project seeks to support those who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to participate in formal art spaces due to transphobia, racism, poverty, and other detrimental factors. In addition to the curated exhibition, Fang and Burns will incorporate a series of discussions, workshops, performances, shared resources, and mentorship opportunities for the exhibition artists while centering BIPOC trans and gender-nonconforming voices.
Ian Gerson – Invisible Landmarks
Invisible Landmarks is a project focused on telling queer and trans stories in Galveston, TX using drawings, zines, and guided audio tours. This will be the project’s second chapter and will embrace speculative history, being told from the point of view of a trans person attempting to access care at an early gender clinic in Galveston in the 1970s. Through drawing, writing, and recorded audio, Gerson will create fictional “archival” materials offering the viewer a lens into a trans experience in the past informed by experiences of themself and their friends in the present.
Erika Mei Chua Holum – Sahara Dust Residency
Sahara Dust Residencies are climate-responsive artistic inquiries into the affective and temporal region formed annually through migrating dust from the Sahara Desert. Each year, dust travels across the Atlantic Ocean from North Africa to the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, and South America. With the support of The Idea Fund, Chua Holum will develop a summer residency program that will activate forms of knowledge-sharing across the temporary and migratory region created by the dust clouds. The project will culminate as an exhibition in Houston, Texas with local, regional, and international artists who live, breathe, and co-exist with the same dust particles–from North Africa, Southern Spain, the Gulf South, the Caribbean, and South America.
Ryan Hollaway & sal.ma bowan.ya – a memes to cope with reality
With support from The Idea Fund, Hollaway and bowan.ya will continue to develop conversations around internet culture in Houston developed through their exhibition a memes to cope with reality. Together they will work to highlight the use of absurdism and dark humor found in memes as a coping mechanism within the digital sanctuary and showcase how memes have moved from digital jokes to a significant art form that resonates with a collective consciousness. The project will uplift original works by local Houston artists that embody the chaos, absurdity, and at times, grim humor of our human existence, bridging the gap between the interweb universe and the physical realm. This project will serve as a time and location capsule that preserves internet culture in the unique context of Houston’s creative landscape.
Deniz Lopez – The Lilt: A Poetic Storyteller Series II: The Lilt is an intimate poetic storyteller series featuring notable and established Houston-based poets who create intimate storytelling experiences with poets not just reading their work, but telling us the stories behind the words. With the support of The Idea Fund, Lopez will launch the second part of the series featuring six months of Lilt Events to be featured on All Real Radio.
Morgan Newton – The South Got Something to Say
The South Got Something to Say is a visual tribute to the resilient voices of black Southern women with a focus on often overlooked women rappers from the 90s – 2000s. Inspired by Andre 3000’s 1995 Source Award speech, The South Got Something to Say, uncovers the complex layers of black womanhood through painting and archive video installation. With support from The Idea Fund, Newton will develop new work that centers on self-expression and confronts the historical disparities within the music and media industry.
Anne Park – Korean Art: Minhwa
The Idea Fund will support Park to research and develop new work inspired by Minhwa, a popular Korean folk painting technique, to expand their artistic practice. In addition to the new works, Park will develop a series of conversations around the history, genres, and techniques of Minhwa as a way to forge interconnectivity between Western and Eastern arts.
Katherine Trimm and Linda Brown – Art in the Dark
Art in the Dark is a collaborative project developed by Katherine Trimm, a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (CTVI), and Linda Brown a Braillist that seeks to provide an interactive art experience that is accessible for Houston’s visually impaired and differently-abled community. With the help of The Idea Fund, Trimm and Brown will curate a selection of work from their community into public exhibition with “touchable” art that can be accessed by senses other than sight.
Trinity Stardust – Stardust Unions
Stardust Unions is a public wedding performance art piece, encompassing the opportunity to be flamboyant, creative, celebrated, and/or legally unionized by a same-sex certified officiant, TriStar. The project will explore the journey of acceptance for the LBGTQ BIPOC community by the Black Church within the Southern States, many of which are governed by laws that prohibit marrying same-sex couples. With support from The Idea Fund, Trinity Stardust will create an immersive experience that seeks to provide a much-needed safe space for BIPOC Queers to be loved and celebrated on their wedding day.
The Peanut Collective – Check Out Artists at the Library
With support from The Idea Fund, The Peanut Collective (founded by Bridget Bray and featuring artists Guadalupe Hernandez, Kill Joy, Ruhee Maknojia, and Matt Manalo) will develop Check Out Artists at the Library, a series of free and public artists workshops for youth in the Sharpstown community created to take place at the Walter Neighborhood Library. The creative workshops will offer students a range of hands-on creative-making sessions including but not limited to, puppet making and puppet performance, creative writing and bookmaking, animation, papel picado (cut paper) making and installation, and the creation of natural art supplies, along with recycling and reclamation as a way to generate sustainable art materials.
Xochipilli Collective – Now Accepting Donations
Now Accepting Donations is a Compost Toilet Project that fuses sustainability and art. Through a collaboration of indigenous artists, this innovative project combines a functional waste solution with symbolic stained glass art, featuring an ascending water bird—a powerful metaphor for life-giving water. The permanent structure, designed collaboratively with the community, promises an immersive experience. This interactive installation invites participants to contribute through toilet use, bridging waste reduction, art interaction, and community engagement. This project challenges waste norms, fostering cultural preservation and environmental consciousness. Now Accepting Donations for a greener tomorrow.
ABOUT THE JURORS:
“In the art world, we are encouraged to maintain tunnel vision and focus all of our energies towards individual success and opportunities. But I firmly believe it a duty to also serve your art community, whether as volunteers, jurors, educators or simply supporters.” – Tay Butler
Tay Butler is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Houston, Texas. He received his BFA in Photography and Digital Media from the University of Houston and recently completed his MFA in the University of Arkansas’ Photography program. After retiring from the US Army and abandoning a middle-class engineering career to search for purpose, Butler reignited a rich appreciation for Black history and a deep obsession with the Black archive. Using past and present images to create a historically-layered body of work, Tay reorients cultural material from the ever-growing Black experience.
“It was a tremendous pleasure encountering the practices, concerns, and commitments of The Idea Fund grantees for 2024. The selection process was challenging; the applications were a testament to what a rich and affirming artistic community the city has. The grantees struck me with the breadth of their work, and I cannot wait to see their projects continue and come to fruition. I’m thankful to Diverseworks, Project Row Houses, and Aurora Picture Show for inviting me to be part of such a careful and considerate process.” – Ekrem Serdar.
Ekrem Serdar is a curator, writer, and arts administrator. He is from Ankara, Türkiye. He is the curator at Squeaky Wheel (Buffalo, NY), where he is responsible for their exhibitions, public programming, and residency programs. He focuses on interpreting media art across practices, economies, and technologies, including non-fiction film, memes, video games, machine learning, sound art, cybersecurity, activist films, home movies, among others. During his tenure, Squeaky Wheel became certified by Working Artists and the Greater Economy, and launched the Workspace Residency program.
“It was an honor to be a part of this regranting effort and decide collaboratively on a group of grantees who will extend their work into their communities with heart, humor, and responsiveness. From the applications, and our three organizational hosts, I learned more about Houston, the arts here, and the urgencies and textures moving the artists’ work. Though tough to choose from so many exciting, simmering ideas, I’m glad we can support a range of projects working towards a celebration of specific communities, experimentation amidst longstanding practices, and development of visual forms as containers for both research and play.” – Connie Yu
Connie Yu is a writer and artist based in Philadelphia. Their practice takes place in poetry and printmaking, cooking and strength training, and takes shape from the administrative aspects of these data — asking the limits of work and its measure, measure and its work. Connie co-curates, edits, and publishes work by/for queer and trans Asian artists with their print collective FORTUNE, and tends to its small-scale risograph imprint Many Folds Press. They are currently the Project Manager of The Velocity Fund, a Philadelphia-based Regional Regranting Program that offers direct-to-artist grants. In this work, they are committed to sharing resources and asking questions that can make arts programs, grants, and projects more accessible, and attentive, to more people.
ABOUT THE IDEA FUND:
The Idea Fund is a re-granting program administered by DiverseWorks in partnership with Aurora Picture Show and Project Row Houses and funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Since 2009, The Idea Fund has provided grants for artist-generated or artist-centered projects that exemplify unconventional, interventionist, conceptual, entrepreneurial, participatory, or guerrilla artistic practices.
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Regional Regranting Program, launched in 2007, aims to support vibrant, under-the-radar and self-organized artistic activity by partnering with leading cultural institutions in communities across the country. The program reaches a sizable population of informal, non-incorporated artist collectives, and supports their alternative gathering spaces, publications, websites, events, and other projects. Together, this network of programs has funded more than 800 artist projects.
The Idea Fund is one of these thirty-five re-granting programs across the nation supporting artists whose work falls outside the scope of traditional presenting organizations and/or funding opportunities. Regional Regranting Program can be found in Alabama, Albuquerque, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Lakota Communities/ Western South Dakota, Los Angeles, Medford, MA, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Mobile, Nashville, New Orleans, Newark, Oklahoma, Omaha, Philadelphia, Phoenix & Tucson, Portland (OR), Portland (ME), Providence, Raleigh & Greensboro, Saint Louis, San Francisco, San Juan, PR, Seattle, and Washington D.C.