(Houston, TX, December 6, 2018) – 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, is thrilled to announce the Round Eleven (2019) grant, recipients: JooYoung Choi; Virginia Diaz (and collaborators: Adán Medrano, Lucía Aljas); Laura Drey; Harrison Guy; Regina Leslie; Jessica Ninci & Dan Schmahl; Zuqiang Peng; Reyes Ramirez; Henry G. Sanchez; Carrie Schneider; S.M.Art Girls (Hannah Gourlay and fellow all girl/femme-identified, transgender-inclusive artists); and Megan Smith & Kelsey Gledhill. 

A total of 133 applications were submitted by artists from the Greater Houston Area with a total of $54,000 distributed to 12 artist projects at these levels: Stimulus ($7,000), Catalyst ($4,000), Spark ($1,000), and Research & Development ($1,000). Round Eleven jurors were Kimberly Drew, former Social Media Manager, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Jake Margolin, Artist and 2018 Idea Fund Recipient; and Cameron Shaw, former Executive Director, and Founding Editor, Pelican Bomb, New Orleans.

“For years and years, Houston artists have had a tremendous presence in the global art scene. It was a special treat to learn about the critical needs of this vibrant community and to grant such a diverse set of candidates with necessary funds to realize their projects.”Kimberly Drew

“I am honored to be part of funding this group of inspired projects, in part because The Idea Fund has been transformative to my practice. And, I keep thinking of the wealth of extraordinary and urgent ideas that we could not fund – projects that are deeply rooted in community – projects that push the conceptual boundaries of art – projects that are just plain beautiful – projects that aim to heal – projects envisioned by artists whose work I admire and think is vital – projects envisioned by artists I had never heard of and am now delighted to be familiar with – projects that are feasible, and projects that are pie-in-the-sky aspirations. I hope that they all reach fruition.”Jake Margolin

“It’s an honor to be invited into a city and to learn the ideas percolating within its artist communities. I left Houston invigorated by the wealth of creativity, enthusiasm, and sense of civic responsibility demonstrated across the applicant pool.”Cameron Shaw

Congratulations to all of The Idea Fund grantees.

The Idea Fund Round 11 Grantees and Projects:

Stimulus ($7,000):
C.S. Watson and the Bio-Engineered “Ultra” Protagonist: An Examination of the Impact of Symbolic Annihilation and an Exploration of the Evolutionary Potentialities of Sci-fi/Fantasy Media
Through the creation of a video-art piece, JooYoung Choi plans to explore intersectionality and the issue of symbolic annihilation through the visual art form of narrative time-based media. The Idea Fund will support Choi’s artistic process, pre-and post-production, and community building components such as conducting interviews with women-artists-of-color, a series of artist studio visits, and a public presentation of the final project that will consist of an artist talk and screening held in Koreatown.

The Roots of Texas Mexican Food
The Roots of Texas Mexican Food is the untold story of Texas indigenous cooking as the artistic act of resistance to colonization. Archaeological footage and oral histories document how the first peoples of Texas, arriving 15,000 years ago, are the ancestors of today’s Mexican American community. Through The Idea Fund, Virginia Diaz, Adán Medrano, and Lucía Aljas will work together in post-production to further develop The Roots of Texas Mexican Food and host two public screenings of the documentary film that highlights the central role of women play as the engineers of cooking technologies and the artistic creators of culinary traditions.

Black Arts Movement Houston (BAM)
Historically, the Black Arts Movement was the name given to a group of politically motivated black poets, artists, dramatists, musicians, and writers who emerged in the wake of the Black Power Movement. The Black Arts Movement was formally established in 1965 when Amiri Baraka opened the Black Arts Repertory Theatre in Harlem. The synergy between creatives was a nod to the communal legacy of Black people. The Idea Fund will support Guy in the creation of a project that seeks to create that same synergy for Black artists in Houston by providing a space to build connection and community, creating an environment that fosters a platform for collaboration, and developing a hub for imagining and dreaming, with Blackness as the center.

Rising Tide Projects
Through The Idea Fund, Jessica Ninci and Dan Schmahl will develop the Rising Tide Projects, an artist-run hybrid space that will serve as equal parts gallery, workshop/community space, and retail hub that takes into consideration the architectural issues associated with Galveston Island’s environmental future. Together, Jessica and Dan will design Rising Tide Projects as a space not only to showcase art but to re-envision gallery practices that respond and create a flexibility around the utilization of a space that is constantly at risk of possible flooding.

The Bio-Art Bayou-torium
Henry G. Sanchez’s Bio-Art Bayou-torium will engage with the Hispanic audience to view Buffalo Bayou from an artistic, scientific and environmental perspective. The Bio-Art Bayou-torium is an art studio situated on a boat launch on the banks of Buffalo Bayou across from Tony Marron Park in Houston’s Second Ward district. The artists will collaborate with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) to engage participants and community members in a new aesthetic experience with this hidden natural resource. With support from The Idea Fund, Sanchez will create a small classroom-size studio space that houses science tools and imaging equipment for making art based on the nature and history of Buffalo Bayou.

Carrie Schneider
Houston Water Baths is an experimental project that questions Houston’s associations to water post-Harvey and in the face of climate change. For the 2019 Idea Fund cycle, Schneider will develop a series of eleven tub-scale bath experiences from her current research project Water Baths into a large-scale performance/installation that includes modulating lights, temperature, and sound. Houston Water Baths will use the common bath to cohere eleven different points of view on Hurricane Harvey and climate change in Houston. The eleven baths represent each City Council District and serve as a survey of the city’s relationship to water, not through census data but through sensory imagination.

Catalyst ($4,000):
For his Idea Fund project, Peng will develop the film project, Inauguration, that focuses on the presence and absence of Chinese political history in Texas. Using the untold history of two young Chinese Cubans who traveled to Texas to participate in the inaugural congress of the revolutionary group Young China Association as a starting point, Peng will draft a fictionalized narrative of a young woman’s journey into a search for the presence/absence of the Young China Association in the setting of contemporary Houston. By creating a work that specifically looks at such absences in history, as well as showing it in spaces where the local communities gather, Peng will invite different audiences to think and reflect on questions of absence and representation in history.

Spectrum South Voices: A Podcast for the Queer South
Spectrum South—a Houston-based online magazine focused on LGBTQ identity and culture in the South—will use The Idea Fund to launch a podcast series that will focus specifically on the voices of queer and transgender people of color (QTPOC). Guests will include QTPOC artists, activists, entrepreneurs, politicians, and more from Houston, Texas, and across the South. Megan Smith writes, “We are striving to be seen, recognized, acknowledged, and most importantly, heard. Spectrum South uplifts and centers the voices of our community, puts faces to these voices, and shares the stories of our brilliant and resilient siblings.” Episodes will be released bi-monthly on Spectrum South’s website (, as well as on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, and other major audio platforms.

Spark ($1,000):
Unsettled Space-by way of…(working title)
Drey’s work is about a state of migration — about movement, location, and identity. Through the support of The Idea Fund, Drey will travel to the U.S.-Mexico border with her mother and daughters to create a vignette of short stories and poetry that speak to the complexities of migration, focusing on the nuances of personal and cultural identities as they intersect with themes of geography and government, labor and movement, economics and culture.

S.M.Art Girls project Houston Hydro-stencils
The S.M.Art Girls is a group of all girl/femme-identified artists (and transgender-inclusive) creating art in Houston using Science and Math. The Idea Fund, S.M.Art Girls will create Houston Hydro-stencils a public art/guerilla-style project, by making a superhydrophobic polymer invisible paint and graffiti-style stencils with encouraging phrases like “Can’t drown HTOWN”. Using science and math, the Houston Hydro-stencils project aims to explore new ways of creating temporary public art that doesn’t damage urban surroundings and appears and disappears through elements of nature.

Can I Get a Witness
Can I Get a Witness is a documentary film project that questions narratives of disability in Afrofuturism. Over the next year, Leslie will use the support of The Idea Fund to develop a series of interviews that explore historical aspects of spirituality and the support offered to Black disabled body-minds.

Research & Development Grant ($1,000):
Latinx Art Writing Series
The Latinx Art Writing Series seeks to bring more attention to the rich and vibrant Latinx art being created in Houston. Through a series of collaborations, the Latinx Art Writing Series will create writing pieces, in conjunction with Tintero Projects, that respond to, analyze, and give new perspectives to Houston Latinx artists and their art. With support from The Idea Fund, Ramirez plans to provide a creative record of participating Latinx artists, writers, and organizers in context with Latino Art Now! 2019 National Conference. The writings inspired by artists will be published as chapbooks as part of the exhibition Here, Ahora: Houston, Latinx, Queer Artists Under 35 which will be featured at Art League Houston in April of 2019.

About The Idea Fund:

The Idea Fund is a re-granting program administered by a partnership of DiverseWorks, Aurora Picture Show, and Project Row Houses funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The Idea Fund is in its Eleventh round of funding and is committed to new, risk-taking forms that help to define new practices in contemporary art.

For More Information:

Ashley DeHoyos, Assistant Curator, DiverseWorks

[email protected] / 713-223-8346


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