Zócalo Artist-in-Residence Program
Located on the Beautiful Campus of Zócalo Apartments
Zócalo Artist-in-Residency program is committed to celebrating the creative spirit by incorporating a fully funded artist residency program in Houston — a key pillar within a vibrant community that encourages the interaction between artists and community. With community-engagement and creative placemaking values at its core, Zócalo Artist Residency debuted its inaugural flagship program in 2020 with the primary goal of enabling artists-in-residence to meaningfully engage with community while granting artists the freedom to explore critical ideas outside the studio as within.
Located on the beautiful residential campus of Zócalo Apartments in the Spring Branch area of Houston, Texas, a single one-year and two six-month residencies are offered each annual cycle. Applicants chosen by a rotating selection panel of local artists, curators, and arts administrators are granted fully-funded housing in a private apartment studio, a monthly working stipend, need-based project funding, and hands-on support from our full time residency Program Director.
As a community-immersive program which strives to strengthen the connection between people and the places we share through the power of art and creativity, a focus is placed on granting artists the opportunity to develop community-based projects while providing artists with dedicated time, space, and the financial leverage to create new work in a supportive environment of open inquiry. Given the ample size of Zócalo's 10-acre campus, artists are welcome to re-imagine everyday spaces and push the boundaries of their creativity with site-specific installations or participatory creative projects on Zócalo’s campus and within the surrounding areas of the Spring Branch neighborhood. Emerging to established US-based artists and artist teams who have a strong interest in deepening a collaborative, community-engaged creative practice are invited to apply.
VISION & MISSION
Our vision is to imbue Zócalo Apartments with “a sense of place” by creating an environment that strengthens the connection between people and the places they share through the power of art and creativity.
Our mission is to build community through dynamic art & ideas. We focus on providing artists working in community contexts with stable housing, a supportive work environment, and professional resources to help advance their artistic careers and develop their practices in ways that help build a vibrant and engaged community with and for Zócalo residents and the greater Spring Branch neighborhood.
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
- Support artists working in community contexts.
- Encourage the development of a wide variety of interactions between artists and community members.
- Support frameworks for creative collaboration between artists and communities.
- Encourage and support artistic projects that leave a physical or social legacy in the community.
- Make our communities more vibrant by inspiring participation and relationship-building.
- Engage communities and people, even those who don't see themselves as artists, as creators, producers, performers, and active audiences.
VALUES & MOTIVATIONS
Supporting Artistic Excellence: We believe in supporting the important work artists do and we understand the multifaceted challenges artists often face throughout their careers. We’re focused on providing talented and deserving artists with monetary and non-monetary support in the form of no-cost housing, space, project and materials funding, artistic freedom, and tailored administrative support to help artists achieve their vision and goals.
Artist-Led Community Building & Civic Enrichment: We believe art plays a critical role in building a strong and connected neighborhood. As a multifamily residential community, we believe in putting art at the heart of our community to enhance the lives and well-being of our neighbors through placemaking projects that promote creativity, are culturally relevant, and most importantly, unite the community in a way only art can.
Accessibility to the Arts: We believe everyone deserves access to arts programming within their communities. It is our intention to invest in the arts and increase accessibility through community-based arts programming in our area.
Meet our Current
Le’Andre Douglas is a nationally accomplished dancer, choreographer, and teacher with a decade of professional dance experience. A Houston native, he has worked nationally with Grammy nominated artists such as, LL Cool J, B.o.B, Rock legend Pat Benatar, Big Daddy Kane, The Sugar Hill Gang, and many others. His work is well known in Houston where he has choreographed for Tobe Nwigbe, Bace Productions Motown, The Miller Outdoor Theater, Radio One, Dance Houston, and even the annual Star Wars Art Festival.
A resident instructor for the Katherine Dunham Technique Seminar, Douglas was previously awarded an art residency by the Broadway show "Swing Out."
Douglas intends to use his Zócalo residency to deepen his artistic practice and plans to engage Zócalo residents in outdoor dance programs on Zócalo’s large, landscaped grounds with appropriate social distancing. Douglas explained what he seeks to accomplish. “My artistic goal is to give everybody a piece of art that they can keep for themselves within their body. Learning to move or connect through movement is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself.”
“We are thrilled to include Le’Andre Douglas in this year’s program,” said Sophia Collier, Zócalo Apartments’ co-owner. “His work is inspiring and beautiful, and he clearly has a tremendous future ahead of him. It is our honor to award him the full year residency in 2021.”
R’Bonney Nola is a fashion designer and textile artist from Houston, Texas running an eco-conscious clothing line and that merges together textile manipulation, sustainability, and design. Nola traces her inspiration to growing up shopping at vintage thrift stores with her mother which led to her purchasing secondhand pieces and re-constructing them into new innovative designs. She studied Fashion Design and Fibers at UNT and learned to merge textile art with apparel design by transforming fabric through dying, screen printing, weaving, quilting, sculpting, heat pressing and other means.
Nola’s fabrics are sourced by recycling pre-existing clothing, scraps, or leftover bolts of fabric, modeling a low-pollution design process in stark contrast to much of the fashion industry,
Nola is also a generous teacher and has offered sewing classes through the MAKR Collective in a collaborative program between Houston non-profit design house Magpies & Peacocks and the Mayor’s Office of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence (MOHTDV).
“We are delighted to include R’Bonney Nola in the 2021 Zócalo program,” said Sophia Collier. “In addition to her amply talent as a textile artist, she brings an interesting economic dimension to her art. By creating a company to sell her fashions as well as teach others earn money through textiles, she is fostering, beautiful human scale art and craft in an age of highly polluting, fast fashion.” Collier continued, “Her art is not only in the physical forms she creates, but also in her larger process of engagement with the market.”
Meet the 2021-2022
Theresa Escobedo is one of Zócalo's current artists-in-residence. Through her current appointment, Escobedo has valuable insight & intimate knowledge about the residency & the cultural context of Zócalo. Theresa Escobedo is recognized as a multi-disciplinary artist, curator, and arts administrator from Houston, Texas. She currently manages the Civic Art program for the City of Houston through the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and has curated, coordinated, and executed public programs and projects designed to activate public spaces and to offer artists the opportunity to impact neighborhood experiences through creative place-making and social inquiry. Her past experience includes diverse curatorial and administrative roles at MECA, Arts District Houston, Manteca HTX, and Main Street Projects.
Sixto Wagan is the inaugural director for the Center for Art and Social Engagement (CASE) at the University of Houston. Prior to this role, he led the contemporary art center DiverseWorks, serving a multitude of capacities including Artistic Director, Co-Executive Director and Performing Arts Curator. During his tenure, he nurtured artists, communities and emerging arts organizations through commissions and place-based initiatives. Wagan is known for collaborating with performers whose works tackle prescient cultural, social and political issues. He currently serves as the Board President of the MAP Fund. He is a celebrated commissioner and producer of contemporary art works, and has served on the boards of Dance/USA, Dance Source Houston, The M.A.T.C.H. (Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston), the National Performance Network, The MacDowell Colony and QFest, in addition to previously serving as a Hub Site for the National Dance Project and on the advisory board for the Texan French Alliance for the Arts.