Fresh Arts Mission, Vision, Values + history

Fresh Arts is a 501c3 Houston-based arts service organization. For the past two decades, we have been at the forefront of empowering Houston area artists, providing them with the tools to learn, the encouragement to create, and the environment to thrive.

 

Fresh Arts fiscally sponsors art projects throughout Houston, hosts professional development workshops and networking events for the creative community, and provides access to resources that help artists and small arts organizations do what they do best.

 

Our Vision + Mission

Fresh Arts envisions Houston as a place where artists and communities thrive together.

Fresh Arts mission is to empower artists through programs that build knowledge, amplify local resources, and connect communities through art.

 

Our Goals

  • Foster an environment of collaboration, creativity, and professional growth
  • Promote the economic value of artists
  • Build a supportive network for artists
  • Increase community awareness of and participation in the arts in Houston

 

Our History + Work

Fresh Arts was born from a 2012 merger of two prominent Houston arts service organizations: Spacetaker (est. 2003) and Fresh Arts Coalition (est. 2002). Spacetaker, founded by artist David A. Brown, identified a need for artists to build sustainable careers and Fresh Arts Coalition, founded by Marita Fairbanks, used collaborative marketing to promote unique arts programs. Today, powered by a small but passionate team of 4, Fresh Arts supports Greater Houston artists of all disciplines & stages by helping them cultivate community, attract new audiences, share resources, build skills, and create momentum for their projects.  

For the past 20 years, Fresh Arts has served over 60k visual, performing, and literary artists through a mix of programs including 200+ workshops and 500+ artist showcasing events

In 2017, Fresh Arts began a partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance to facilitate a cutting-edge regional seminar —Artist INC — which has since brought together 6 cohorts and 145+ artists in various disciplines including painters, spoken word poets, fire dancers, and more. In 2019, the organization launched the Fresh Arts Summit, Houston’s only multi-disciplinary artist conference. Past presenters include 3 poet laureates, nationally recognized musician Kam Franklin (The Suffers) & regional community leaders from Galveston Arts Center, Austin Music Foundation, Houston Arts Alliance & dozens more.

In 2011, Fresh Arts expanded its online resources to include a Houston-specific Artist Resource Library reaching 49k+ users annually. Our resource-sharing newsletters the Art on Tap and Artist Resource Newsletter continue to reach 10k subscribers monthly. In 2019 Fresh Arts relaunched its Artist Registry, a searchable online directory of 1,000 local artists, musicians, actors, dancers, arts organizers, and creative businesses working in the Greater Houston arts sector. Through this ongoing initiative, Fresh Arts aims to connect the diverse range of Houston artists with their community and help the community connect with the artists who make our city a more vibrant and creative place to live.

In 2020 in response to the pandemic, Fresh Arts developed new digital resources including a local artist podcast series and a weekly virtual conversation series focused on topics like emergency funding, income stream adaptation, and equity in the arts, resulting in 100+ hours of digital content.

As a complement to our resource and knowledge-sharing programs, Fresh Arts’ Fiscal Sponsorship program helps local projects gain visibility, momentum, and resources for community-based art initiatives. Since 2013, Fresh Arts has supported 60+ projects and disbursed over $710k in funding through the program.

The Space Taking Artist Residency, launched in 2021 and based out of Winter Street Studios, provides physical space, resources, and mentorship for diverse and traditionally excluded or underrepresented multidisciplinary artists to experiment and grow their audiences. In its first two years, the program has supported 5 artist projects, showcased over 50 multidisciplinary artist collaborators, and hosted 40+ public art events.

In 2017, Fresh Arts took over management of Arts District Houston, a state-recognized cultural district that partners with local businesses and employs local artists from across the city to create public art– adding more than a dozen murals to the Arts District since 2019.

In 2022 Fresh Arts worked with local artists to develop a mural training curriculum and expanded its public art projects to East End Houston with a community-driven mural at Edison Middle School in Magnolia Park, one of Houston‘s oldest Hispanic neighborhoods. Fresh Arts hopes to continue this creative placemaking initiative in 2023 which aims to provide more public art opportunities for emerging muralists and create community-centered murals in partnership with public schools in Houston. 

Our Values

What we believe in

01.

COMMUNITY AND EQUITY

We believe that by cultivating community, we can enhance the social capital of creatives and amplify a resonant collective voice that helps us all be seen and heard. We also believe that we should never stop learning, listening, and responding to the world around us. Diverse and equitable representation when it comes to institutional leadership, featured artists, funding for projects and organizations, and accessibility have been long-standing issues in the arts community in Houston and beyond. We are committed to actively build a healthy and equitable arts community. Fresh Arts is devoted to amplifying and engaging in conversation with artists and arts organizations rooted in advancing the voices of marginalized individuals and communities.

02.

THE LIVELIHOOD OF ARTISTS & CREATIVES

We deeply respect and support working artists and creatives determined to make a living at their craft.

03.

MAKING THINGS HAPPEN

We continually work to facilitate opportunities, enabling ideas to come to fruition.

04.

GRIT

We admire grit, whether it’s the determination & fearlessness that comes with being working artists and entrepreneurs or the slightly unpolished, unexpected, underground nature of Arts District Houston and other artistic communities in Houston.

05.

HOUSTON’S CREATIVE ECONOMY

We seek to enhance the creative landscape by championing artists and building creative commonplace, where artists can connect with each other, audiences, and buyers.

06.

OPENNESS & ACCESSIBILITY

We a don’t have “a type”. Our stakeholders and audiences come form different cultures, neighborhoods, and creative disciplines, what they have in common is ingenuity and openness to new, unexpected experiences.

Fresh Arts is sponsored in part by our generous funders and community partners:
Art Houston Magazine  *  Art Colony Association   *  Brown Foundation   *  City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance   *  Frost Bank   *  Heimbinder Family Foundation  *  Houston Endowment *
 Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs *  Mid-America Arts Alliance   *  National Endowment for the Arts   *  Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation *  Sesh Coworking  *  Texas Commission on the Arts   *  Arts District Houston Partners   *  Friends of Fresh Arts Members   *  and our generous gala supporters and individual donors.