About the ALH Exhibitions and Public Arts Programs
Art League Houston’s (ALH) Exhibitions and Public Arts Programs have a strong reputation for brightening Houston's public spaces, along with presenting exhibitions that feature diverse, innovative, and socially conscious artists.
Founded in 1948 and incorporated as a non-profit in 1953, ALH is one of Houston’s longest operating non-profit visual arts organizations. Originally housed in a mid-century building designed by Paul Elliott at 906 Tuam, ALH purchased the 1000 block of Bomar and 1900 Montrose Boulevard in 1969, calling the two connected 1920ʼs bungalows on-site home for the next thirty - plus years. In 2006, ALH commissioned architect Irving Phillips to design a new contemporary building to meet the growing needs of the organization. Prior to construction, ALH invited Houston artists Dean Ruck and Dan Havel to transform the conjoined bungalows into an installation called Inversion, which gained national and international attention, embracing ALHʼs mission to bring art to the East Montrose community.
The ALH Visual Arts Program includes an annual exhibition series, a public art series featuring “The Esplanade Project,” and temporary public art sculptures on the ALH patio, and an annual artist centered convening titled “Charge.”
ALH’s Visual Arts Program presents exhibitions and projects by local, regional, national, and international (emerging and established) artists/curators in all media that include the following:
- Clarity and articulation of a central idea
- Strong artistic quality
- Artworks and projects that address social, political and cultural issues relevant to the local community
- Relevancy to current dialogues in contemporary art
- Opportunities for compelling ancillary programming such as performances, film, lectures, panel discussions, round tables etc.
- Availability of curator and artist(s) to play an integral role in execution of exhibition and events
- Artworks and projects that has not been previously shown in Houston
- Platform artists/curators who reflect the local community
ALH utilizes a hybrid selection process which employs a combination of:
- Blind open call in an effort to be open and democratic
- Artist advisory board input to ensure ALH is reflective, relevant and responsive to the local community
- Focused curatorial vision to foster a thoughtful and critical exploration of current issues
Programmed no more than 12 months in advance for relevance, each round of exhibits is carefully programmed so that local artists will exhibit alongside regional, national, and/or international artists in order to spark ongoing dialogue between local, regional and national art communities.
In 1983, ALH established the Texas Artist of the Year award and exhibition, the first of its kind, to honor Texas artists who have contributed significantly to the arts. Since then, 30 artists have received the award. In 2013, ALH celebrated its 65th Anniversary as an arts organization. In recognition of this occasion, ALH established the biannual Lifetime Achievement Award in the Visual Arts for artists whose career have span more than forty years, and have made an outstanding contribution to the world of visual art in Texas and beyond.
In 2013, ALH established The Esplanade Project, a community driven temporary public art installation project designed to invigorate Houston’s Lower Montrose Boulevard and the surrounding neighborhood. The first of these annual projects, entitled Funnel Tunnel, created by artist Patrick Renner, will be on view through January 2015.