UH High School Artist Academy - University of Houston
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High school artists, join us for an intensive, inspiring two-week art-making experience at the University of Houston.

June 5-17, 2023 | 9am - 4pm

Each Artist Academy day has two sessions:   

  • During morning sessions, students will feed their curiosity through inspiring interactions with UH luminary scholars, scientists, performers and public servants, while also exploring the UH System’s nationally acclaimed Public Art collection and Blaffer Art Museum.
  • During afternoon sessions, students will create their own new artworks in the UH School of Art’s world-class Elgin Street Studios, under the guidance of esteemed professional artist mentors. 

The UH High School Artist Academy will accept up to twenty serious high school student artists (fall 2023 sophomores – graduated seniors), who will enjoy individual attention, support, and guidance from our faculty, mentors, and special guest experts.

About the UH High School Artist Academy

  • Important Information

    Date: Monday-Friday, June 5-17, 2023 | 9am - 4pm

    Location: University of Houston, Elgin Street Studios
    All Artist Academy activities take place on the University of Houston main campus. Each Academy day begins and ends at the Elgin Street Studios, UH School of Art, 4224 Elgin St, Houston, TX 77004

    Application Requirements and submission instructions:

    1. PDF Portfolio:
      • Three to five examples of recent artworks must be submitted as a single PDF document via email to CAA@central.uh.edu
      • On the PDF document, each artwork should be labeled with a title, dimensions, media, and year created. 
      • The PDF document should saved using the following file naming convention: "LastName_FirstName_Artist_Academy_2023" (ex: Picasso_Pablo_Artist_Academy_2023)
    2. Completed submission of the form below

    Tuition and Fees:

    $600 - Tuition, supplies, and fees for the complete two-week Academy.
    UH Artist Academy is a day camp; housing is not provided. Students are expected to bring their own lunch. A monitored pick-up and drop-off zone will be available, or accepted students may purchase a $35 parking pass for the duration of the Academy from UH Parking. 

    Available Scholarships:

    Scholarships are available to a limited number of students. Students may indicate on their application whether they would like to be considered.

    Important Dates:

    APPLICATION DEADLINE (including 3-5 artwork pdf submission via email to caa@central.uh.edu) 
    Monday, May 15
    Academy schedule: 
    Monday, June 5 - Friday, June 9, 9am - 4pm
    Monday, June 12 - Friday, June 16, 9am - 4pm 
    Final celebration and exhibition
    Saturday, June 17, 4- 6pm
  • About Artist Academy Morning Inspiration Sessions

    The University of Houston is an exhilarating intersection point for a wide variety of different traditions and types of expression, invention, scientific exploration, business, and wellness.  Each morning, students will participate in a different activity somewhere inspiring and perhaps unexpected on the UH campus, meeting a variety of luminary scholars, scientists, public servants, and artists.  Each retreat morning experience is designed to fuel new creative ideas and new perspectives.  

    Some topics of exploration:

    What is art made of? 
    A musical exploration of Frank Stella’s massive art installation Euphonia, with cellist Evan Leslie and artist Debra Barrera.   

    How does art bring us together?  
    An interactive dance workshop with Gabriela Estrada plus an examination of artworks in the Wortham Theater lobby.   

    How do we tell our story? 
    An exploration of the Blaffer Museum through creative, autobiographical writing exercises.  

    How do we change people’s minds?
    A visit to the UH Law Center.  

    How do we see?
    A visit to UH College of Optometry.   

    How do we feel and think?
    An experiment facilitated by the Your Brain on Art Laboratory at the UH Cullen College of Engineering.

    What is a Houston artist?
    A dive into the archives of many of Houston’s most visionary artists in Special Collections of the UH M. D. Anderson and Art and Architecture Libraries.  

  • About Artist Academy Afternoon Studio Sessions

    Who are you as an artist?

    Each afternoon students will work on their own artistic projects in the facilities of the UH School of Art. Students will enjoy close supervision and guidance from lead teaching artist Douglas Welsh, plus other special guest artist-teachers. They will participate in group critiques with their peers. They will have access to university-quality feedback and university equipment.

    Students will show their work in a culminating exhibition presented in the galleries of the UH School of Art’s Elgin Street Studios. The exhibition's opening reception will welcome many of Houston's most prominent artists, in addition to students' families and friends.

  • About our Faculty and Facilitators

    Douglas Welsh

    Lead studio teaching artist 

    Douglas Welsh is a painter based in Houston and co-founder of the G5 Collective. He received his MFA from University of Houston and his BA from Bates College.  Douglas has participated in group exhibitions at Studio Nine D in NYC, and F Magazine, Galveston Artist Residency, Blaffer Art Museum, Foltz Fine Art, Anya Tish Gallery, Box 13, Sanman Studios, Hardy and Nance Studios, Elgin Street Studios, UH Third Space Gallery, and Conroe Art League.  In 2022, his work was included in New American Paintings, edition 162.   

    Debra Barrera

    Artist mentor and lead UH Public Art facilitator 

    Debra Barrera is an artist based in Houston, Texas. She graduated with an MFA from the University of Houston in 2010 and has since been included in numerous exhibitions nationally including a solo exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston as well as exhibitions at the San Diego Museum of Art, and the Art Museum of Southeast Texas. Her work is in the permanent collections at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and Tyler Museum of Art and has been published in Art in America, New American Paintings, and The Houston Chronicle. In 2015 Barrera was artist-in-residence at Rice University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy where her work is now a part of the public art collection. In 2019 Barrera received a prestigious Joan Mitchell Grant. 

    Evan Leslie

    Lead morning session facilitator and director of the UH Community Arts Academy  

    Evan Leslie is an arts educator and cellist.  He is director of the University of Houston’s Community Arts Academy.  In Houston, Evan was formerly the Managing Producer of Public Programs for the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and Director of Education at Da Camera of Houston. He has taught at HSPVA, University of St. Thomas, and UH.  From 2013 – 2020 Evan was Artistic Producer of Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. During his time at the “Lincoln Center Library,” Evan directed hundreds of music, theater, and dance programs, working collaboratively with the Metropolitan Opera, the Juilliard School, The Public Theater, New York City Ballet, WNYC radio, The International Contemporary Ensemble, and Sesame Workshop.  He has worked with a diverse spectrum of artists, from pianist Emanuel Ax to Grover the Muppet; from actor Alan Cumming to choreographer Pam Tanowitz; from composer/lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda to director/filmmaker Julie Taymor.  

    Katherine Veneman

    Artist mentor and Blaffer Museum Education Curator  

    Katherine Veneman is curator of education at Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, where she oversees the museum’s nationally recognized education program, which includes a wide range of public and educational programs as well as guided tours for adults, university students, and youth. She is responsible for developing collaborative partnerships with university departments and designing university student programs. 

    Previously, Veneman, who is a practicing painter, maintained a studio in Providence, Rhode Island, and from 2000–2003 was the Director of Hera Gallery/Hera Educational Foundation, a non-profit artist space in Wakefield, Rhode Island. She has exhibited her work on the East Coast and in Houston. 

    Veneman holds an M.F.A. in painting from American University in Washington, D.C., and received her B.A., summa cum laude, from Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts. She is a native of the Washington, D.C. area. 

    Stephan Hillerbrand

    Artist mentor and Director of the UH Art & Technology Center

    The collaborative husband/wife team of Mary Magsamen and Stephan Hillerbrand has been working together over the past several years after meeting at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Their work has been included in group exhibitions and screenings nationally and internationally including solo exhibitions at the Butler Institute of American Art and the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia. Their work has recently been in group exhibitions at LA Freewaves Film and Video Festival, The Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Boston Center for the Arts and the Ann Arbor Film Festival. They were awarded the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Residency in New York City at The Woolworth Building, a residency at the Experimental Television Center and an Ohio Arts Council Individual Creativity Award.

    Stephan Hillerbrand's exhibitions include Nexus Contemporary Art in Atlanta, Artspace in New Haven and the Mississippi Museum of Art. Hillerbrand is a National Endowment for the Arts and Art Matters Grant recipient and a MacDowell Colony Fellow. He was a Fulbright Fellow for the German Technology and Education seminar and has been awarded a second Fulbright Fellowship to study at ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany.

    Garrett Griffin

    Studio teaching artist

    Garrett Griffin was born into a military family and lived in several places internationally and in the states. These experiences in various cultures and environments gave him a strong interest into how societies and the natural world are organized and formed. He has taken that interest into his work, by making drawings, paintings and sculptures that are influenced by manmade and natural forms, such as pupae, nests, redlining and migration patterns.

    Garrett received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2013. After graduating, he moved to New York and lived there for 6 years, showing his work in several group exhibitions and also attending the Vermont Studio Center. While in New York, Garrett freelanced at galleries as an art handler; the experience of working in and around galleries was a second education in fine arts by surrounding himself with other makers and recent art graduates. The experiences of being around other painters, as well as being in an art world hub, helped push his work and helped him realize a return to an academic setting would help his practice.

    Garrett is now attending UH for his MFA in painting. Since being in Houston, he has been part of group shows at Sanman Studios and Community Artist Collective, while being featured in Glasstire’s Top 5 and the Houston Chronicle. Garrett's current practice consists mostly of drawings and painterly sculptures that center around the body and mapping. He uses materials such as burlap, plaster, concrete and rice paper to create textures that allude to natural and bodily forms 

    Michelle Girardot

    UH Community Arts Academy Program Manager

How to Apply

Application deadline is Monday, May 15, 2023 by 11:59 PM. 

Apply Here

Who can apply: high school visual artists

The School of Art will be accepting applications until May 15, 2023. Based on availability, students can email caa@central.uh.edu to inquire about late registration.

Once your application is processed, all accepted participants will be emailed an invoice and any additional information needed. Acceptance emails and invoices with a link to payment will be sent from caa@central.uh.edu within one week of the registration deadline.

For other inquiries, please email caa@central.uh.edu or call 713.743.3398.  

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