UH Mitchell Center Announces 2014 - 15 Innovation Grant Projects

The University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts is pleased to announce its 2014-2015 Innovation Grants for projects in the UH School of Art, Blaffer Art Museum, Creative Writing Program, Moores School of Music, and School of Theatre & Dance.

In an effort to spur imaginative, transformational programming and underscore the role of UH as a generator of cutting-edge artistic production, the Innovation Grants Program was launched in conjunction with the University’s UH Arts initiative and funded in part by a three-year grant from Houston Endowment, Inc. Proposals are accepted annually from the five Mitchell Center member units, and awards are selected by a peer review panel appointed by John W. Roberts, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

“The Innovation Grants Program showcases the cutting-edge qualities of the University of Houston’s arts departments,” said Karen Farber, director of the Mitchell Center. “UH is a hub for experimentation and invention in the arts, feeding the next generation of forward-thinking practitioners into our city’s arts landscape. This year’s Innovation Grant projects are the most exciting yet. We thank our brilliant volunteer panelists for their leadership and insight.”

Mitchell Center Innovation Grants 2014 - 15

  • “2014-15 Visiting Artist and Scholar Series” (Blaffer Art Museum, School of Art, and others): The 2014-2015 Visiting Artist and Scholar Series will offer a third season of sustained collaboration between the School of Art and Blaffer Art Museum. The series will bring artists, curators, scholars and critics who represent the highest standards of artistic excellence to the UH campus. This year, in addition to the School of Art, Blaffer’s proposed series features collaborations with Comparative Cultural Studies and India Studies – programs based in UH’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. The series directly complements four Blaffer exhibitions – Candice Breitz: The Woods, Miguel Amat: Exchange and Interpretation, Mel Chin: Rematch (opening January 11, 2015) and this past spring’s Antena @ Blaffer.
  • “Ligatures: Authors and Artists in Conversation” (Creative Writing Program, Blaffer Art Museum, School of Art):“Ligatures” further connects the Creative Writing Program, the Blaffer Art Museum and the School of Art by adding interdisciplinary public programming to enhance the recent merger between Art Lies and Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts. The project will draw on the artists and authors being published in the print journal – many of whom exhibit works at the Blaffer or have close links to the School of Art and the Creative Writing Program – to produce two public events (in October and April) that explore the intersection between the literary and visual arts. These events will bring together writers and artists to engage in a dialogue about overlapping aspects of craft and practice in multiple disciplines.
  • “Sunset at Allen’s Landing” (School of Theatre & Dance, Honors College, Master of Arts in Arts Leadership): “Sunset at Allen’s Landing” is a site-specific performance that will align with the completion of the renovation of the Sunset Coffee Building and the centennial celebration of the Port of Houston Authority in 2014. The performance will incorporate history of the original Port of Houston (Allen’s Landing) and the surrounding architecture / landscape. Partnerships in this project include Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Houston Brass Band, the University Dance Program, the Master of Arts in Arts Leadership program, and the Center for Creative Work at the University of Houston, and Karen Stokes Dance.
  • “Janet Biggs Residency and Exhibition: The Naica Project” (Blaffer Art Museum, School of Theatre & Dance, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Biosciences, Pharmacology, and others): Informed by artist Janet Biggs’ personal experiences with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, heroic stories of individuals dealing with Alzheimer’s, and drawing on research conducted with neurologists and geoscientists, the Naica Project is a multidimensional exhibition to be developed in collaboration with students and faculty at the University of Houston. Investigating the elusiveness of maintaining a cohesive sense of self when faced with Alzheimer’s, the Naica Project will culminate in a multi-room installation combining video, sound, and objects. It also will include a live performance and a feature film scheduled for international release.
  • “XWAVE Soundart Festival” (School of Art, IPEF program, and others) Xwave is a four-day sound art festival featuring a broad-spectrum survey of experiments, innovations, and manifestations of sound-based research. The event will offer an opportunity for experimental musicians, composers, and sound artists /researchers to come together to share their latest directions, creations, and advancements through lecture and performance. It also will offer an opportunity for participants to interact through a series of creative collaborations, mashups, remixes, improvisations and spontaneous compositions.
  • “On Screen: A Film and Video Series” (Blaffer Art Museum, School of Art, and others): The third year of this public film series will continue partnerships between Blaffer Art Museum and the School of Art, as well as with local arts organizations such as the Houston Cinema Arts Festival, 14 Pews and Emergency Response Cinema, Austin. In this season, as in years past, On Screen will present screenings and conversations with visiting filmmakers throughout the academic year. On Screen is organized by Michael Sicinski, film scholar and adjunct faculty member in the UH School of Art teaching courses on experimental film and video, video art and contemporary global cinema. 
  • “Early Awnings: New Work by Henning Bohl and Sergei Tcherepnin” (Blaffer Art Museum and Creative Writing Program): In collaboration with students and faculty of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston, artists Henning Bohl and Sergei Tcherepnin will develop a multidimensional platform for storytelling in the Hamman Gallery of Blaffer Art Museum. Tentatively titled “Early Awnings,” their latest project combines everyday objects and imagery with fantastic forms and symbols. It also offers a unique opportunity for creative experimentation and collaboration between Blaffer Art Museum and the Creative Writing Program. The work combines sculpture, text, drawing and sound into an immersive installation and associated publication.
  • “Plasticity” (College of Architecture, Blaffer Art Museum, and School of Art): Plasticity is a public symposium that will be held at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture in Spring 2015. A series of activities leading
up to the event – including a design competition, exhibition and educational workshops – will engage faculty and students at the College of Architecture, the School of Art, the Blaffer Art Museum, as well as the broader design community. The effort will focus attention on the University of Houston as a leader in innovative cross-disciplinary collaboration between art and architecture through the adoption of emerging technology.

About the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts is dedicated to interdisciplinary collaboration across the performing, visual, and literary arts. Based at the University of Houston, the Mitchell Center commissions and produces new works, presents public performances and exhibitions, offers curriculum and scholarships, and hosts residencies with renowned visiting artists from throughout the world. The Center is home to the Mitchell Artist Lecture, an annual event featuring a pioneer in contemporary art-making, as well as CounterCurrent, an annual spring festival of new performance. The Mitchell Center forms an alliance among five departments at UH: the School of Art, Moores School of Music, School of Theatre & Dance, Creative Writing Program, and Blaffer Art Museum. For more information visit mitchellcenterforarts.org.