“Having an arts and business organization to advocate for individual artists and new projects is a tremendous advantage for artists like myself here in Houston. We have an entire office to call upon for advice and resources for research, funding, editing, brainstorming, promotion and networking.” – Lionwoman Productions, a Fresh Arts fiscally-sponsored project

In 2021, Fresh Arts continued adapting our programs in response to the unique challenges faced by artists during the pandemic, offering virtual workshops, online and in-person events, and income-generating opportunities that supported the creation of art we all longed to experience. 2022 will be our 20th year, an anniversary that has us evaluating our past impact as well as the impact we hope to make in our next 20 years of championing Houston artists and connecting them with the community. We’re rethinking our approach to professional development in an economy that wasn’t built to prioritize the success of most artists and planning to build programming that best improves the lives of artists in a changing world.

Here’s how we set the stage in 2021:


Launched a new short-term residency program that allows local artists to innovatively engage the public and generate income. STAR 2021 featured installations, performances, and events by three artist collectives: Koomah & the Locas, Y.E. Torres & the Renegade Carnies, and Saida Carter & Stacey Allen. Read more about the residency in the Houston Chronicle and Houstonia Magazine.


Released Season 2 of the Should I or Shouldn’t I? podcast, featuring 10 Houston-area artists of diverse disciplines discussing career choices and the creative life.

Hosted our third annual artist conference, the Fresh Arts Summit, with over 10 hours of virtual presentations and live panel discussions featuring two dozen speakers from across Houston and Texas. The 2021 Summit theme was Next Directions, spotlighting the ways in which the arts landscape has fundamentally shifted since the pandemic began, and that despite challenges the Houston arts community always finds ways to adapt.

Conducted a survey on the needs of 200+ artists of all disciplines in the Houston region and shared results with participants, arts organizations, arts funders, and the community. The survey will help inform an in-person artists’ town hall in Summer 2022. Stay tuned!


Opened the Arts District Houston Welcome Center, which hosts rotating exhibitions by local artists, information about the area’s arts-focused activities, and a beautiful new exterior mural by David Maldonado that features the District’s motto, “Art is in the Making.”

Commissioned an installation at Spring Street Studios by artist and landscape architect Falon Mihalic. Learn how Mihalic was inspired by local water ecology and repurposed materials in this interview.

Commissioned virtual performances by Dance Afrikana and poet Leslie Contreras Schwartz as part of our new Performing History series. Students from the University of Houston’s Center for Public History helped with the research and oral interviews that informed these impactful works

“I truly believe that outside of historians, that artists are really second in line in making sure that our histories are protected and preserved.” – Lindsay Gary, artist, scholar, and founder of Dance Afrikana

“Artists are not always going to tell a linear story about what happened in a community. But they can get at the deeper spirit and they can speak in different ways to the people in a community. It is much richer than a student reading it in a textbook.” – Leslie Contreras Schwartz, writer, educator, and 2019-2021 Houston Poet Laureate


In the last 8 years, Fresh Arts’ Fiscal Sponsorship Program has helped more than 70 local artist-run projects and small arts organizations raise over $434,000 in tax-deductible grants and donations. We were proud to partner this year with Houston BIPOC Network & Fund to provide organizations and collectives of all disciplines with even more access to the resources that bring art to our communities.

“Fresh Arts gave me a new set of resources that have helped me contribute to my community and broadened my perspective on what I could accomplish as an artist.” – Kemi OG, The Moments Project

Thanks to the 17 organizations that teamed up with us to make it all happen:

Art Houston, Art League Houston, Aurora Picture Show, Austin Music Foundation, BIPOC Arts Network & Fund, Community Artists’ Collective, Dance Afrikana, Dance Source Houston, First Ward, Houston Alliance of Latinx Arts, Houston Center for Photography, Lawndale Art Center, MECA, Midtown Cultural Arts & Entertainment District, Old Sixth Ward, Texas Accountants & Lawyers for the Arts, Writespace

How can YOU engage with Fresh Arts and Arts District Houston in the next year?

Subscribe to Art on Tap to receive a weekly curated list of the best art events in Houston.

Are you an artist? Join the free artist registry, create a searchable profile, and make new connections.

Become an Arts District Houston Partner to support an economy in which artists, businesses, and local residents work together to enrich our neighborhoods.

Donate to our programs to help us make Houston a city where artists can thrive.

Volunteer with us! Your donations of time help Fresh Arts keep the majority of our programming free and accessible to everyone.

Follow us on social media!

Fresh Arts is grateful for the generous support of:

Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation, Art Houston, Art Colony Association, BBVA Foundation, Brown Foundation, CenterPoint Energy Foundation, Deal Company, Frost Bank, City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance, Houston Endowment, Humanities Texas, Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, Mid-America Arts Alliance, National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, Union Pacific, Arts District Partners, Friends of Fresh Arts, and our gala supporters

And big thanks to YOU for supporting us in 2021 as we look ahead to another year of championing local art and artists!