Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year Performances Around the clock

Happy New Year everyone!
There's so much to be thankful for that happened in 2008 - an incredible end to DW's 25th Anniversary; a terrific start to the new 2008-2009 season; a full staff!; and so much more.
Though DiverseWorks is closed for the holidays, I'm sure that many of you can't get your performance on, so I encourage you to check out these sites that are doing 24 hours of live performance via the web:
Miguel Gutierrez's Freedom of Information that was featured in the New York Times yesterday. It's an incredible vision of artists across the US organized by Miguel Gutierrez in response to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. DW followers might remember Miguel's Retrospective Exhibitionist and Difficult Bodies that were co-commissioned by DiverseWorks, Dance Theater Workshop and National Performance Network that was performed at DiverseWorks a couple of years back (mirror, candles, books, exposed bums, "Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush...). Miguel has set up the premise, but each of the dancers are interpreting it in their own ways, including Houston's Daniel Adame.
However, if you're not able to get to that site today, you can check out to see Jump-Start Performance Company's 24 hour online performance festival starting 9 pm January 2, 2008. Every year Jump-Start celebrates it's anniversary with a big blowout Performance Party on the first Saturday in January. This year the Performance Party is going global with "24 Hours 24 Artists" - a marathon webcast featuring performers from all over the world including Houston's Elia Arce; upcoming DW performer Michelle Ellsworth; and a host of others. Should be a great online show! (gotta love good Internet content!)
and for those of you who are dying for a live performance, you can join me tonight at Zilkha Hall for Ars Lyrica Houston's BACHANALIA 2008-2009 tonight starting at 9pm. There's a party afterwards with champagne, goodies and a silent auction! There might still be tickets available!
Just wanted to share some performance options with you until you can join us for Pat Graney's House of Mind Jan. 30 & 31, Feb. 5 - 7, 2009 7:30 pm!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Office Party, DW-style

I have a confession: I’m usually not a big fan of office holiday parties. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great and everything, but they always seem awkward. Like the one party I attended while working at Mervyn’s that was held at this odd little reception hall. It was OK, but I didn’t stay too long because I had a final exam the next day. Oh, who I’m I kidding, I stayed until midnight, and my manager wasn’t too happy because she let me out of work early to go home and study, not party. And I avoided them at the Chronicle because they were always held when I was working, and it’s kinda hard to work and party. But I digress.

So imagine my surprise when I found myself having a blast at the DW office holiday party on Wednesday. We had all sorts of great food: tamales, cappuccino cheesecake, an awesome meat and cheese lasagna created by yours truly, and drinks. We watched Diane’s favorite holiday movie, Polar Express. It was awesome. But the best part was the Bow Hunt.

It’s kinda like an Easter egg hunt but with bows hidden all around the DW facility. (Bet you can’t do that in your office) I scoped out a couple as I walked into the facility, trying to get an edge on the competition. And I was determined to win, but sad to say I was no match for Sixto. He is obviously a Bow Hunt Champion…but there is always next year.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

DW heads to NPN Annual Meeting

I'm thrilled that I'm headed off to Seattle for the National Performance Network's Annual Meeting. It's the one gathering of professionals that I constantly look forward to, even after 12 years.

For all those who don't realize what the National Performance Network is, you need to check out their website to find out all the amazing things that they accomplish. NPN is one of the reasons DW has been able to sustain and expand our performing arts programming over the past 15+ years. By raising funds to help subsidize our residencies, NPN has matched our fundraising efforts for certain performance programs. We're doubly excited that DiverseWorks has been selected as part of the Visual Arts Network of the NPN (supported by one of most favorite foundations: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts). This means we'll be able to enrich our visual arts residencies, extending the possibilities for community connection and further development.

The annual meeting means that I get to see some of my dearest friends and closest collaborators across the country. Not only will we be hanging out with our buddies at On The Boards, but I'll be hanging out with friends from REDCAT; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; Maggie Allessee National Choreographic Center at FSU (who will be hosting Morgan Thorson in residency for Heaven, a work DW co-commissioned with PS122); Dance Theater Workshop who commissioned House of Mind with us; Walker Art Center who presented Claude Wampler right after we did last year; Miami Dade College Cultural Affairs the other co-commissioner of Michelle Ellsworth The Objectification of Things (coming to DW in March); 651 Arts who supported Jennylin Duany whom we presented last season; and loads of artists and other great people to share ideas with, think about "big issues," and (perhaps most importantly) realize that we're not the only ones facing these issues.

The most exciting thing, is that we (Diane, Jon, Shawna and I) will be able to see Pat Graney's House of Mind in Seattle. This will be the first time that all of the elements will come together, and we can't wait to be bringing this to Houston in January/February. (read about the process in seattle!) We'll also get to see Scott Turner Schofield, The Suicide Kings, Zoe Scofield/Juniper; Holcombe Waller; Carpetbag Theater and a host of other amazing artists.

and... one of our own will be performing in Seattle! The Wiggins perform Dec. 13th @ 8at the VERA Project. w/ HAWNAY TROOF and more! you've got to check it out!
stay tuned for pictures and updates!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hello Again!

It is I julia the intern, blogging from DiverseWorks once again.

Well I everyone at Diverseworks had a lovely little vacation for Thanksgiving (except mine was full of preparation for finals!)

And we returned to find millions of idea fund applications pouring in our mailbox. The envelopes were all sorts of interesting shapes and sized. How exciting! I can't wait to see who gets the funds. I am sure its going to be some interesting stuff.

The thrive opening was huge and amazing.

Elia Arce was inside this big cacoon for almost the entire time, there was constantly this huge crowd waiting for her to pop out, but she just stayed in their meditating. i loved it.

And seeing Rachel Hecker feed her water through the small air hole was pretty great too.

And of course it was cool to see Kelli Vance show some of her paintings, since she was recently going to school at University of Houston and thats where I go to school! go UH painting department, yeah!

And everyone else was amazing too... It really is interesting to see this group of Houston women artists, If you fall in that category you must see this show, and you should read Mary Ross Taylor's writings about it.

Lets see, in other news I am excited to get to go to the Thrive REMIX, on the ninth. It sounds really tasty.

And I get to help with a DiverseWorks artist workshop Saturday morning. The one that all of those artists had to apply to be a part of? I am pretty happy about that. Have I said how awesome it is to be an intern at DiverseWorks and that all art school students who like good art should do it?? Because yeah. its great.

Alright, thats all we have for today, check us out later for more REAL DIRT from the bowels of Houston's own, DiverseWorks!

P.s. just to remind you guys of what I said last post....

We are going to need 4,000 books and huge pile of high heels!
So clean out those closets and make room for some sexy NEW shoes.
get rid of all those pesky books, its all about the internet now anyways.

anyone? anyone?

email me!

p.p.s. I know its a little off topic, but dont you just LOVE money??

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

From the eyes of a DiverseWorks Intern:

Hey hey hey!

My name is Julia Claire Wallace and I am currently interning at the amazing and wonderful DiverseWorks, an experience that has so far been very rewarding! Usually I hate working, ESPECIALLY without getting paid, but for DiverseWorks I don't mind so much.They are paying me pretty well in interesting experiences.

One of the most exciting things I have gotten to work on is the upcoming Pat Graney exhibition/performance., House of Mind (coming in late January). She flew in last weekend and we had a planning meeting. It is going to be an extraordinary event. I am thrilled to be able to work with her, ESPECIALLY because she is a fan of some of the art I am involved with. ( If I am working for free, I am at least going to do some self promotion!) Here is a gorgeous pic she gave me from rehearsal:

Isn't it beautiful? I can't wait to see what she does with the entire DiverseWorks space.

In the meeting we found out that we are going to need about a million books and evening shoes to make the show happen, so start us a pile! clean off those bookshelves! clean out that closet! And send me an email me ( if you have any ideas on how i can attain a large amount of either of these things.

Anyway! I keep hearing about this Thrive show that's coming up as well, and as a Houston Artist of the woman kind, I am thrilled to see what this lovely collection of ladies are giving to us. PLUS, the beautiful Elia Arce is involved, and I am one of her hugest fans!

Another thing I have been working on is planning some things for Jonah Bokaer to do while he is town. I arranged for him to teach some workshops at a couple of Houston schools as well as an open to the public workshop here at DiverseWorks! I am excited to have this opportunity, and all you readers out there should be too! It will be on the evening of November 18th. Come!

Alright, that is all this week of THE REAL DIRT, stay tuned next week for more exciting tales from the inner workings one of Houston's favorite ArtSpaces.

Friday, October 24, 2008

tales of a artspace operations manager: Part 1

Ok! We got lots of stuff coming up in my department.. Next weekend is the closing of Ben DeSoto's: Understanding Poverty... This show has had a fantasic run(dispite being delayed a week due to our old friend IKE) and gave DW a chance to work other great non-profits like S.E.A.R.C.H. Spacetaker and Health Care for the Homeless(who will be having a small receiption in the gallery on 10/28 4pm to 6pm.. all are welcome.)

Up next is THRIVE(opening on Nov. 14th).. The work is already starting to come in and Im pretty excited. Today I met w/ one of the artist, Elia Arce, to go over some details of really cool performance she'll be doing the night of the opening opening!! I dont want to give it away, but its different from anything I've worked on before( and trust me, that's saying something!!)

As always, there is way more work then we can handle(16 artist!!) so if you want the chance to help out(and get an insder point of view of how these shows are put together), please drop me a line:

Also remember, in the black box theater, we have Catastrophic performing: THE STRANGERER. Which I will be attending tomorrow(I hope). This runs through the 8th, so get you tickets ASAP

Stay tuned to THE REAL DIRT!!!

and don't forget to VOTE!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Piece of paradise at DW

Hello! My name is Tracey Morton and I’m one of the latest additions to the DiverseWorks staff. I have been with the organization for six months and have worked my way from Volunteer/Intern/Consultant (or VIC as I called myself) to contract worker to full-fledge staff member with a snazzy title — Administrative Manager.

I first came to DW because I wanted to get back into PR (my actual bachelor’s degree study) after working five years at the Houston Chronicle. I really fell in love with Houston’s art scene and wanted to work for art space, a year later, here I am.

Working here is awesome, I have met so many great artists and have learned so much about our city’s flourishing art community, but I have to admit, one of the sweetest things I have gotten from working at DW is one most probably take for granted — I have my own office. To some, this is nothing, but for me, with my past life of shared cubicles, or no desk at all, this is major.

Wanna see what it looks like? Take a tour with me:

--Tracey Morton

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Day of Lists

Today has been a day of lists. To-do lists. Board of Director's lists. Works in the Exhibition lists. Artists in the Show lists. Income and Expense lists. iPod Playlists (after all, making lists requires good tunes).

Yesterday Rachel Cook sent me a link to an amusing article by Jennifer Allen called Unsung Heroes. The article provides a snapshot of the life of a gallery assistant and illuminates the random and often absurd nature of that particular line of work. Rachel said it reminded her of her days working at DiverseWorks where every project involved a scavenger hunt for some must-have item required for the execution of a particular work of art. Anyone who has ever had the good fortune of working for an arts organization knows that there is a certain quirkiness about the work that we do. It's so much fun, I sometimes feel guilty for getting paid to do it.

During my time at DW, I've worked with hundreds of artists on countless projects and have fielded some pretty unusual requests for materials to be used in those projects. Last year as we were preparing for our 25th anniversary season, the staff thought it would be fun to assemble a list of some of this stuff. It's a fascinating and funny list--a long line of strange ingredients that, in the hands of the right person, can transcend its original function to become a fantastic work of art. So today, on this day of lists, I present the Partial Record of Random Stuff Used by Artists in Exhibitions at DiverseWorks Over the Last Ten Years list:

52 pop tarts
2000 hot dogs
a barrel of flour
100 gallons of peanut butter
2 ton cement horse
car engine
ping pong table
100 white weather balloons and 1 red one
11,000 feet of black tie wire
4 rolls of reflective tape
20,000 feet of fishing line
car airbags
paper snowflakes
10,000 plastic butterflies
a saddle
a purple monkey
toy fire engine
a working coke machine
a 10'x70' sheet of paper
a pallet of oranges
50 lbs. of onions
bales of hay
a bowl of matches
an ambulance (with a crew)
a pulpit
the contents of a small apartment
surveillance cameras
wooden fruit crates
36 tvs
7 old bedspreads
40 lbs of raw cotton
a baby pool full of jello
5 gallons of tumeric
enough crushed cigarette packs to make a 4 foot pile
disco ball
a barbershop choir
25 mixed breed dogs (it was for a video shoot so don't freak out)
a kindergarten class with teacher
a garage band
a mariachi band
gallon of ketchup
yoga instructor
6 members of falon gong
a block of butter measuring 2'x2'
8 4'x8' sheets of steel
bubble machine
red, orange, yellow and brown duct tape
40' table covered with newspaper stacked 2" thick
3 rottweilers (which we couldn't find so we used dobermans instead)
cowboy costumes for said dogs
a 10' stack of pillows
garbage bag of stuffed animals
polar bear costume (serious, not smiling)
old wooden boats - real ones
a wall-mounted water fountain
toy machine guns
tree trunk
cake icing
25' boomerang shaped rug made of black astroturf
bull horn
dog food cans

And yes, as a matter of fact we DO call that art. I love my job!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Howdy. Welcome to The Real Dirt, DiverseWorks’ weekly blog. You’ll get the skinny from a different staff member each week – sharing stories, ideas and opinions on the “inner workings” of DW.

This season is starting off not like we planned. The entire staff at DiverseWorks is pretty good at “going with the flow” and “enjoying the process,” but Hurricane Ike tested all of that. We’re lucky, don’t get me wrong - no one hurt, no particular damage to the space or to our respective homes – with only some of the staff suffering from the lack of electricity (happy to report that the entire staff has electricity, though it took 15 days for some).

Right before the hurricane, we hung Ben DeSoto’s Understanding Poverty exhibit on poverty and homelessness in Houston over the past 20 years. While we worked with Ben to make this exhibit happen, we knew it was a topic that is “of the moment,” little did we know how clear that moment was going to hit home.

Each day I come to work, I have the opportunity to look at the photographs and absorb the stories. It reminds me how completely lucky I am. I have my partner Matthew, my family and my friends who helped out throughout the 11 days without electricity. Our home had turned into a big, messy closet I didn’t want to go into. I admit that I was a wreck without that place I could call Home, without that sanctuary. It was hard for me to think beyond that day because of uncertainty, exhaustion and the dissolution of my routine. So many people I know – artists, administrators, creative types – all live on a paycheck -to-paycheck existence. We’re living on just this side of “not making it” – and “making it” is now completely redefined (I so live in a world of luxuries).

It’s exciting to be part of an exhibition that so fulfills our mission; Ben’s Understanding Poverty isn’t about politics, isn’t just about the striking photographs - it inspires questions, engages ideas and has changed my daily life. The exhibit tells many stories, but the one that continually comes home to me is about generosity.