UH Art Professor Abinadi Meza Receives Prestigious Rome Prize

Artist, Educator Among Only 30 Recognized for Excellence in Arts and Humanities

Abinadi Meza

The city of Rome continues to inspire creative spirits from around the globe. With its rich history, ancient architecture and charismatic community, Rome feeds the imaginations of scholars and artists.

Soon, University of Houston School of Art professor Abinadi Meza will be immersed in Rome’s landscapes and culture. Meza is among the recipients of the prestigious Rome Prize – presented by the American Academy in Rome (AAR). The award recognizes excellence in arts and humanities, and rewards recipients with fellowships and stipends that support residencies in Rome.

Rome Prizes are awarded to 30 arts and humanities professionals each year. Recipients are selected from a range of disciplines including architecture, design, literature, music, language studies and ancient studies. Meza was selected for his contributions to the field of visual arts and received the Gilmore D. Clarke/Michael Rapuano Rome Prize.

“The competition was intense, with some 500 applicants for four visual arts fellowships,” said Meza, who teaches courses on technology and media at UH. “It’s an incredible honor and opportunity for myself and our school. I'm excited to create a series of new artworks in Rome and forge relationships with an international community of artists and researchers.”

The Rome Prize is another 2014 highlight for Abinadi. This month, he unveiled his latest work, “Vein of Sky.” The soundscape installation is located in Houston’s Hermann Park within the UH student-built structure ReFrame x Frame (created from recycled cubicle units). “Vein of Sky” presents electronic sounds that reflect readings of light, temperature, barometric pressure and other environmental elements. Readings are recorded through sensors, then sonified using software developed my Meza.

His short film “Black Box Recorder” was screened this month at New York at Anthology Film Archives. It was an official selection of NewFilmmakers New York Spring Series 2014. In February, he premiered “Ghost Station” at the Maryland Institute College of Art. The project presented urban field recordings (audio from gas stations, people, gutters and other city elements) as FM radio transmissions. In two weeks, he will perform and speak in the 2014 Sonorities Festival at the Sonic Arts Research Centre in Belfast, Ireland.

The Rome Prize complements Meza’s other honors, including a recent National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Fund for the Arts Award.

Meza earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in art and creative writing from the University of Northern Iowa, a Master of Fine Arts in art from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture. To learn more about him and his work, visit his blog.

For more details on the Rome Prize and the American  Academy in  Rome, visit AAR’s website.