What have I been up to, you ask?
For the last 5 months I have been loving life in Houston, TX as a resident artist at the Center for Contemporary Craft. Hard to believe I’m almost half done with my very first residency.
When I was considering applying for a residency here, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. Would I like Texas? How did I feel about moving to the 4th largest city in the US after living in small or no town locations most of my life? Would I find other artists to form a support network of friends and peers? What about the heat? Seriously, what about the HEAT?! Was I crazy to be committing a year of my life to a city I wasn’t sure I’d like?
Nope, not crazy. Best decision I ever made, to keep an open mind and spend a way-too-short year in a new and exciting place. Houston heat in the summer is no worse than the snow & cold of a winter in western NY (think Buffalo area.) In fact, it might even be better, since you can always go jump in a pool. Big city living is great – I took my time and found a sweet little apartment close enough to walk to the Craft Center and one of my two teaching jobs. Most weeks my truck stays parked 5 days out of 7 — take that, urban sprawl!
Did I say teaching jobs? That would be another advantage of a big city — lots of opportunities. I teach at Glassell School of Art and Houston Community College. No more waitressing for this girl (well, at least not this year.) Those opportunities also apply to exhibitions and galleries. Houston has a very large art scene, and there’s a niche here for everyone and every type of art.
Friends and peers? It’ s going to be very hard to leave this fall. Not only do I have the support of my fellow residents, but I have formed lasting friendships with the staff here as well as the LARGE group of former residents who have decided to make Houston a permanent home.
The residency itself is all I had hoped. I have a private studio with 24 hour access. There is tons of exposure for my work, as we have an active exhibition schedule in the HCCC galleries, and I even have a few pieces available in Asher, our sales gallery. The curatorial staff is right next door to my studio, and always happy to answer questions or talk about the Houston art scene. Miriam, our residency director, plans amazing enrichment activities for us every month, and happily opens my door every time I lock myself out.
The downside?? Eventually my residency will be up and I’ll have to move on, to the next exciting adventure waiting around the bend. I just wonder who will be in “my” studio next year. Maybe you?