with/in: blurring the line between art and education
Organized by Zachary Gresham

Exhibition Dates: August 5 - September 17, 2016
ALH Main Gallery

Upcoming Event - 
Exhibition Walk-through with Zachary Gresham
11 AM Saturday September 17, 2016

Visual Vernacular: Zachary Gresham | Free Press Houston

Art League Houston is excited to present with/in: blurring the line between art and education, an exhibition organized by Art League Houston’s Education Programs Director, Zachary Gresham,  featuring work by Andres L. Hernandez (Chicago), Hannah Jickling and Helen Reed (Canada), Christopher Lee Kennedy (New York), and Patricia Vázquez Gomez (Portland). The exhibition, which includes documentation and works across a range of mediums,  aims to challenge the dichotomy of physical and conceptual space while exploring socially-engaged work centered on pedagogy to incite individual/communal action, response, contemplation, resistance.

with/in employs both an exhibition and a publication to examine the process, practice, and identity of socially-engaged artists who blur the lines between art and pedagogy. The exhibition presents the work of Andres L. Hernandez, Hannah Jickling and Helen Reed, Christopher Lee Kennedy, and Patricia Vázquez, all artists who utilize education as a medium in their work. The publication, designed by local graphic designer, Roby Fitzhenry, shows their work alongside Houston artists Saxton Fisher, Ayanna Jolivet McCloud, John Pluecker, Ruth Robbins, and Alex Rodriguez.

The artists included are radically redefining and reimagining what art education can be - often in stark contrast to the public's perception of visual art instruction. Whether their work is situated in schools, in the community, or in relation to other education institutions, each of these artists takes a unique stance on how they integrate ideas, models, and/or theories of education into their art practice. It seems fitting - intuitive - that this project would emerge from these overlays in the venn diagram of thoughts on art, education, and art and education.

The publication is neither extension nor accompaniment but rather a continuation of the exhibition that lends the textual format as means of relating the work of the exhibiting artists to that of Houston artists. The Houston arts community is comprised of many individuals who have challenged the standards of education by blurring the distinction between art and education. By exhibiting work from both groups in this publication, with/in localizes and globalizes the dialogue - engaging, inspiring, and mobilizing the Houston audience to reconsider the place of and distinction between both art and education.


Andres L. Hernandez is an artist and educator who re-imagines the environments we inhabit. Through collaborative, community-based work with youth and adults, and independent, studio-based practice, he explores the potential of spaces for public dialogue, community building, and social action. Hernandez is co-founder of Revival Arts Collective, a network of citizen activists using arts and culture as a catalyst for community redevelopment in Chicago, and is an Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and workshop faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Christopher Lee Kennedy is a teaching artist and organizer who works collaboratively with schools, youth, and artists to create site-specific projects that investigate queer identity, radical schooling, and urban ecology. These projects generate publications, research, performances, installations, and ongoing exchanges that celebrate the collective knowledge of a place and its forgotten histories. Kennedy was born in Ocean County, New Jersey and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He has worked collaboratively on projects shown at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, the Levine Museum of the New South, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, the Queens Museum, and Ackland Art Museum. Kennedy holds a B.S. in environmental engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a M.A. in education from NYU, and a PhD in education studies from the University of North Carolina. Kennedy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Design Education at Pratt Institute.

Helen Reed and Hannah Jickling have been collaborating since 2007. Their projects take shape as public installations, social situations and events that circulate as photographs, videos, printed matter, and artists’ multiples. They are currently fascinated with the “contact high” intrinsic to collaborative work, especially in their recent projects with children. Giant vegetable growers, orienteers, lesbian separatists and therian teens also feature in their work. Helen and Hannah have exhibited and performed internationally, with both individual and collaborative work appearing in such venues as: The Portland Art Museum (OR), The Dunlop Art Gallery (SK), Smack Mellon (NY), The Yukon Arts Centre Gallery (YT), YYZ Artists’ Outlet (ON), Carleton University Art Gallery (ON), Dalhousie University Art Gallery (NS), The Vancouver Art Gallery (BC), The Power Plant (ON) and Flat Time House’s first issue of NOIT (UK). They currently teach at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, Canada.

Patricia Vázquez is an artist, educator and community worker originally from Mexico City and based in Portland OR. She holds BAs in Graphic Design and Education and a MFA in Social Practices from Portland State University. Her practice includes a range of media, from painting and murals to video and socially engaged art projects, and it is deeply informed by her experiences working in the immigrant rights and social justice movements both in content as well as in the methodologies she uses. Her work has been shown at the Portland Art Museum, the Reece Museum and the Autzen Gallery at Portland State University, but also in more accessible spaces as apartments complexes, community based organizations and schools; reflecting her commitment to a practice that makes art available to diverse audiences. She is the recipient of the 2013 Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize and has received grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC), the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA), Portland’s Jade and Midway Districts and the Oregon Community Foundation.


Saxton Fisher is a seventeen-year-old graduate of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.  He has worked primarily in found object sculpture, sometimes in combination with other materials. In the fall Saxton will begin attending Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where he will likely major in Environmental Studies. He is considering going into marine conservation as well as being a practicing artist. Saxton’s other interests include philosophy, mathematics, cosmology, oceanography, and queer activism. www.saxtonfisher.wix.com/portfolio

Ayanna Jolivet McCloud is an artist based in Houston, Texas. Her work takes on many forms including sound, writing, and painting. While minimal, her work often explores sensation, physicality, and materiality. She has participated in exhibitions and residencies throughout the Caribbean, Latin America and in the U.S. She is the founder of labotanica, which is scheduled to relaunch this year.

John Pluecker is a writer, interpreter, translator and co-founder of the language justice and literary experimentation collaborative Antena. He has translated numerous books from the Spanish, including Antígona González (Les Figues Press, 2016), Tijuana Dreaming: Life and Art at the Global Border (Duke University Press, 2012). His most recent chapbooks include An Accompanying Text (She Works Flexible, 2015). His book of poetry and image, Ford Over, was released in 2016 from Noemi Press.

Ruth Robbins is an artist and educator currently living in Houston Texas. She holds a MA in Social Practice from California College of the Arts. Her practice currently includes images, sound and text that explore sensations of loss, embodiment, pleasure, delight and desire. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and she was commissioned to participate in dOCUMENTA13. Ruth’s most recent work ‘A Lexicon of Dusk’ can be seen at the Blaffer Museum of Art and on Tour with the exhibition Time/Image through 2017.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, agender artist Alex Rodriguez’s work, primarily in video, installation, performance, and sculpture, explores communication through significant objects and memories connected with a variety of personal relationships. Alex is a recent graduate of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) and has attended the early college program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston employs Alex as a Teen Council member where they work on projects such as CAMH Teen Music Fest, art markets, curated exhibitions, fashion shows, film screenings, and poetry readings. Alex will start attending San Francisco Art Institute in the fall of 2016 for Studio Arts and New Genres. They plan to take curatorial courses to work their way up to becoming an art curator as well as an exhibiting artist.


Zachary Gresham is an arts administrator and educator who currently serves as Education Programs Director at Art League Houston. Zachary holds a BA from Lamar University, and completed his MA in Arts Leadership and M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction - Art Education from the University of Houston. He is an adjunct lecturer in the College of Education and the College of the Arts at The University of Houston, where he teaches Art in Elementary Schools, an art education course for upper-level education majors and Technology in the Arts, a graduate seminar in the MA in Arts Leadership program.

A Collection of Babysitters
Betsy Huete

Exhibition Dates: August 5 - September 17, 2016
ALH Front Gallery

Visual Vernacular: Betsy Huete | Free Press Houston

Art League Houston is excited to present A Collection of Babysitters, a solo exhibition by Houston-based artist and writer Betsy Huete featuring a chapbook of poetry and sculpture based on the children’s fiction series The Babysitters Club by Ann M. Martin.  Germane to a particular generation of women born in the eighties and who came of age in the nineties - although the series remains popular today - Huete engages with questions of female friendship, and the camaraderie, jealousy, love, and loyalty inherent in it. She’s also interested in the importance and confinement of female representation: what is the value and what are the problems of popularizing young girls starting a babysitting business in white, suburban Connecticut?

Huete assembles her poetry by lifting phrases from the first eight Babysitters Club volumes, intuitively selecting and remixing the words into prose poems of her own. Although the content of The Babysitters Club reads as innocuous, even saccharine, Huete believes that embedded within the text are deep-seeded feelings of all the things that make relationships tick, that make them fall flat, and she thinks that conflating and confusing the language Martin uses in her novels can unearth some of the reasons why these books are engrained in the collective nostalgia of a particular generation of women. In short, there’s more to the story than Stacey hiding her diabetes and Kristy’s jealousy of Mary Anne’s and Dawn’s new friendship.

View a preview of Huete's chapbook here.

The sculptures are in turn translations of the poems.  Huete dissects her poems line by line, allotting and establishing a bank of materials from which to play and let sculptures organically develop.  Perpetually residing between construction and decay, Huete is interested in the ways these objects, through a kind of double translation, continuously point to and turn their backs on notions of nostalgia, childhood, and innocence.


Betsy Huete is an artist and writer from Houston.  She received her BFA from Rice in 2006 and her MFA in Sculpture from the University of Houston in 2014.  Huete has had solo and two-person exhibitions at Lawndale Art Center, Matchbox Gallery, and galleryHOMELAND, and participated in Houston’s Fringe Festival in 2012.  She attended the artist residency Mildred’s Lane during the summers of 2012 and 2013, and was subsequently included in the residency’s exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the fall of 2012.  A frequent contributor to Glasstire, Huete has also written for The Great God Pan is Dead, gulfcoastmag.org, and served as the assistant editor for the Art Lies section of Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts in 2013. Additionally, in 2012 she collaborated on Dis Manibus: A Taxonomy of Ghosts From Popular Forms published by Information as Material in the UK.

Michael McFadden

Exhibition Dates: August 5 - September 17, 2016
ALH Hallway Space

Visual Vernacular: Michael McFadden | Free Press Houston
Michael McFadden at Art League Houston I Glasstire

“Professions are, in essence, self-regulating. They have strict codes of conduct and ethics. Their willingness to stick by these codes, enforce them on errant members and expel impenitent ones is what distinguishes professions from trades. But there is no agreement in the American art world on how critics, museum curators or dealers should behave.” Robert Hughes, 1978

Art League Houston is excited to present aesthetic][equity by Houston-based writer and organizer Michael McFadden. Making use of Art League’s hallway space as a site of reflection, the exhibition focuses on the turbulent history of socio-economic inequity found within the Houston arts community. Through a presentation that is part visual record and part call-to-action, the exhibition lays the groundwork for artistic intervention and theoretical efforts to level an unjust art-world hierarchy.

At its core, aesthetic][equity attempts to pick apart the history of equity and labor within the art world and examine the effect of reliable, authoritative measures such as industry regulation and systemic conformity as a counter-weight opposing the dominant contemporary art economy.

The root of inequity in the art world can often be traced to a lack of regulation and art’s ties to both symbolic and monetary significance. “In aesthetically transgressing our social existence we experience that we are equal. Political equality is an aesthetic effect,” Christoph Menke writes. “We make ourselves aesthetically equal; aesthetically, we make ourselves equal.” Menke implies that the artist makes herself equal through the symbolic act of creativity. But, when art becomes a commodity, does it lose its symbolic value? Opening the conversation on the value of art within capitalist structures where subjectivity itself is subject to manipulation, Robert Hughes writes, “Only when an object is truly useless…can capitalism see it as truly priceless.” Is art a critical need with a value that can be defined according to regulated capital?

aesthetic][equity provides an opportunity to reflect on this duality of values by honing in on the Houston art scene and broadening out into the larger art world. The exhibition allows the public to learn of the tribulations of the art world, ruminate on the value of art and artistic labor, and respond.

Moving through the hallway, the public is exposed to the present state of the Houston art scene from the perspective of those who participate in it firsthand. The exhibition also presents The Artists’ Reserved Rights Agreement penned by Bob Provjansky in 1971 and e-flux’s Time/Bank as two efforts to organize and regulate. Building on these efforts, the art community is invited to create a resource center in the hallway by offering their skills to one another and calling attention to yet unlisted efforts. 

Updated to address faults and outdated information, these tools along with the resource center act as an initial step - one of many - in organizing efforts to establish artists’ rights and distribute equal pay for labor. At the conclusion of the exhibition, contributions to the resource center will be gathered into a skill-share equity directory that will be distributed to local art spaces and made available to artists throughout the community.


Michael McFadden is a Houston-based writer and arts administrator. He has organized programs and exhibitions throughout the city with the curatorial collaborative Suplex. He is currently a graduate student in Arts Leadership at the University of Houston.