ABOUT Charge Grant


We are excited to announce that the winning proposal for the 2016 charge grant was Made of Star Stuff: A Documentary Mapping Women Creatives in Houston by Autumn Knight and Monica Villarreal.

The $10 registration fee for charge raised $1,100 for charge grant. 

All charge participants were invited to submit a proposal for charge grant.  The only criteria for submission was that the proposal was inspired by something heard, talked about or felt at Charge. Charge Grant is given on a no-strings-attached basis.

All charge participants were invited to select the charge grant awardee via online voting. 

The funds were distributed to one awardee, based on the results from the charge feedback survey where 56.52% suggested winner takes all, 21.74% suggested evenly distributed, and 21.74% suggested other. 

View all 2016 charge grant proposals below listed in the order they were received.

View all 2014 charge grant proposals here.

2016 Charge Grant Proposals

Mythic Picnic: A Picnic of Mythic Proportions

Stacy Kirages (Zine Fest Houston, Modernizm), Maria-Elisa Heg (Zine Fest Houston), Sarah Welch (Zine Fest Houston), Randy Guthmiller (SHAPE Zine, Dallas Zine Party), Vico Puentes (TOMO mags), and Sally Glass (Menil Bookstore, Semigloss) present: MYTHIC PICNIC! A visionary, immersive picnic-cum-zine market and interactive installation, this event will draw in crowds attending Menil Fest to enjoy a curated experience focused on print, the written word, and the celebration of DIY publishing and organizing. Inspired by the Zine Fest Houston 2016 theme, Year of the Ama-Zines, we plan to create a fantastical, mythic environment for Menil Fest attendees to step out of the modern world and into…THE HEROIC PAST/PAGE! Mythic Picnic will feature a vast array of blanket seating and a blanket bazaar zine marketplace, movie screenings (by Christopher Patterson of Ella Egg Films), a mythical piñata, LARPers, sweet treats, music, a collaborative collage and much more! This event will bring together zinesters from all over Texas. Mythic Picnic will also be the release event for Zine Fest Houston’s annual compilation, featuring submissions from Houston artists, writers, photographers (to wit, Houston’s zinesters!) and previewing the talent to come at Zine Fest Houston 2016 in November. If awarded the Charge grant, the funds will go primarily toward printing costs for the 2016 compilation and payment for this year’s featured artist, Jessi Jordan, to design original promotional materials. The remainder of funds will be used for various decorations, blankets, and food/drink items to offer guests at Mythic Picnic.


Dogon World: A New Constellation!

I AM. Courtney Wilson, aka, Dopako Jones - Creative Activist and Cultural Curator.

I SEE. New and exciting cycles in the formation of ancestral expression. I HEAR. Conversations of not allowing others to define who we are. I FEEL. Creative healing journeys, collectively beginning to embrace the magic of our ancestors. I MOVE. Music is a universal conduit of human connection. I CREATE. Dogon World: A New Constellation!

Inspired by: Made of Star Stuff: Mapping Constellations of Women Creatives with Autumn Knight and Monica Villarreal 

A photo and video archive of the Afro Bohemian, Afro Punk, Afro Futuristic, & Afro Femme-drogany circles in Houston. Archival data will be used to create a Zine documenting these scenes historically and as the currently occur. 
An audio soundscape of music, interviews and local sounds that create this community in Houston.
A round table discussion centered on living in non-conformity and the application of indigenous concepts and ancient culture in a modern and emerging Houston.
In indigenous cultures, healing takes place via movement and sound. This project will create a playlist to help connect, process, reflect and heal from the experiences of being. 

If awarded the grant, the monies will fund the creation and promotion of a Zine, build an online photo and video archive, provide audio files to share, secure the venue for the round table, and provide an online space for the curated playlist.


2016 Charge Grant Awardee
Made of Star Stuff: A Documentary Mapping Women Creatives in Houston

Made of Star Stuff.jpg

Project Description: Monica Villarreal and Autumn Knight co-presented Made of Star Stuff: Mapping the Constellation of Women Creatives during the Charge 2016 convening. Our project demonstrated the importance of women who support and produce art in Houston. The presentation included a game of gin rummy, a worksheet for mapping individual constellations and a short video featuring three local women creatives. We created a customized deck of playing cards featuring the names/faces of 52 women creatives (curators, directors, artists, etc.). 

Our proposal aims to use the Charge grant to seed the creation of a documentary about women creatives in Houston. After the charge session, participants expressed interest in hearing more voices/interviews from Houston’s women creatives. To jumpstart this process, we will host a public game night using our customized cards. We’ll utilize this casual environment to generate footage for the documentary while creatives are playing fun card games. The cards are a conceptual artwork used for recognizing, relating to and appreciating women creatives.

As imagery of the cards spread via social media, people, especially women featured in the deck, expressed an interest in engaging in a deeper conversation. The grant would be an opportunity to expand our original vision to feature more women on an additional deck. Charge grant funds will cover materials for the event, printing/shipping of card deck and any additional recording equipment. These funds will help to support a larger effort to archive the constellation of women creatives in Houston as it continues to expand.


EMOTIONAL LABOR: Expressive Encounter

Angela Sanchez de Bravo (Creative Cultural Producer) presents an EXPRESSIVE ENCOUNTER featuring new creative works that explore the highly charged and often romanticized emotional process and product of individuals, artists and activists functioning in expressive fields. When emotions are the fuel we invoke to inspire, move and create, mis/managing that force can create some very real and personal costs for using our feelings as fuel.

Inspired exchanges about the stress/burnout of creating and sustaining viable art practices, as well as the W.A.G.E. session, reinvigorated conversations about how we value our work often begins and ends with how we value the self. 

The madness/genius connection dates back to the times of Aristotle. Mental/emotional health is sometimes ignored as passion or dedication to your craft or movement and with lack of access to healthcare or community resources, those issues can magnify. The EMOTIONAL LABOR initiative continues the dialogue and provides a platform and resource towards individual and community health-enhancing efforts.

The EXPRESSIVE ENCOUNTER will be a mixed media art show of new works which includes an onsite collaborative installation and the introduction of themes for the COMMUNITAS SERIES (informal networking, chat sessions) which will incorporate issues of race, class and gender.

If funded, the Charge grant will cover promotional and event costs for the inaugural ENCOUNTER, and promotion of the COMMUNITAS SERIES.


Screening of "Cuts Make the Country Better"

Concerns around the payment of artists and cultural workers, and questions about the value of culture and creative labor are happening in diverse regions, economies, and funding structures around the world. In order to facilitate a dialog about these topics, and expand on the conversations from Charge 2016 I am proposing to screen the film "Cuts Make the Country Better" in Houston during April 2016. 

This 2014/15 film, by Montreal artists Edith Brunette and Francois Lemieux features a series of interviews with Dutch artists and cultural workers, capturing their responses to drastic cuts to public arts funding by a rightwing coalition in 2011. The interviews discuss "the reasons that kept the arts milieu from blocking the cuts, the consequences of this failure, as well as the various political and artistic initiatives sparked by these upheavals." While circumstances in the Netherlands or Canada may seem quite different from those in Houston, it bears thinking through how global arts economies are connected and how arts communities might work together to share resources and information. Public arts funding is often regarded as a thing of the past in the US, but perhaps it is worth considering the realities, practicalities, and possibilities of supporting the arts in ways that actually work for artists and arts organizations.

Funds would be used to pay the artists a screening fee, and support their travel to Houston to lead a discussion related to funding, artistic labor, and political/artistic initiatives within and across various funding structures.


The many faces of cornbread

I have totally spaced out and have forgotten the presenters name, but I remembered that he presented with Boby and he was on the reality television show created by Fifty Cent (the rapper). 

I would like to present work that shows how in order to become what you want to become, you'll have to sometimes become different people on your path to your success. Also on that path, you may realize that you actually don't want to become what you thought and may deviate. 

I got all of this mostly after the presentation while engaged in conversation with the presenter (cornbread). 

Regarding below. I do not have any images to link and the website given is my own business, but I'd still love to participate.


"Who Cares?: Art & (Reproductive) Labor," as part of “Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying” project

Art & Labor. Why are these interrelated concepts so important to organize around? There’s the obvious reason that, for those of us working in the arts field, we must collectively address obtaining equitable pay for our work. To this end, charge shared various tactics for redress to the institutions purportedly there to serve artists and other models of self-organization within our communities. More broadly is the larger implication of what organizing around seemingly nebulousness creative labor can offer solidarity efforts (evidenced in Fe y Justicia Worker Center’s inclusion).

So what about Art & Reproductive Labor? Taking lessons from the Wages for Housework movement which recognized women’s unpaid reproductive labor as a key source of capitalist accumulation in the ‘70s, I’d like to take steps towards an infrastructure that emphasizes the invisible labor of care and highlights access. Making an argument for a form of resistance that's always existed but hasn’t been as visible as it often happens in “the bedroom” rather than “public,” as part of the Sick Time project collaborators and I would:

1. Lead a discussion on parenthood and the arts based on case studies from the Invisible Spaces of Parenthood book and others. Then collectively determine the best way to use funds to help provide CHILDCARE at next charge


2. Facilitate a workshop on CARE collectives with artists, disability activists, and/or domestic workers


3. Organize a discussion amongst community members and administrators at local art institutions around external ACCESS needs (translation, captioning, assistive technologies) and internal staff support (sick days, maternity leave, health care)



Feel the Art Community Sidewalk Art Happening

Project Description: As each of us struggles with being an artist and the reality of making a living with our art, we remember that it is the connections we make with our art and the emotions provoked, that keep us going. Every soul harbors a creative spark waiting to shine. Fanning those flames in everyone helps them connect to us as artists and encourages support of those who call themselves artists full time. We love our communities and we want to come together in celebration of that creative spark. 

In the time honored tradition of the local art community, a collection of local multidisciplinary artists (such as myself and local entertainer and activist Koomah) proposes to hold a community art happening. At this point, we would like to hold the event at the New Navigation Esplanade, if permission can be obtained or seek out an appropriate space or in conjunction with another event. We will invite the community to join us in a day of free expression and celebration of the inner artist and self. We will provide buckets of sidewalk chalk in every color we can find, and for those interested, instruction and templates, to recreate great art or explore their own self expression. You just bring your fabulousness. We want this to be filled with art, fun, music, and inclusion. Create art as an individual or a team. We will create a website and publicize the event. We will work with local DJs and musicians to provide music and with food trucks to see that refreshments will be available. We will invite performance artists to participate and entertain the crowds. 

When the happening is over and our art is so much dust in the wind, we will look for the best of the pictures and video we will be taking to document the happening and post it all to the website for our awesome art happening. We will also seek a venue to hold an exhibit of pictures and video from the happening.


ABTaG Ask/Borrow/Trade/Give ) The Artist Resource App

Project Description: The ABTAG app is a awesome artist networking resource for the modern digital age. Inspired by the Ask/Borrow/Trade/Give concept and CHARGE 2016 workshop, ABTAG (Ask Borrow Trade And Give) creates a platform for artists to connect with each other to resource and skill share. The ABTAG app formats itself on models intersecting social media, classified ads, and popular dating apps to create a unique artist tool. Beyond being useful for networking, promotion, and collaboration; the ABTAG app encourages artists to be introspective by giving them space to list items they want and need to finish a current project while also presenting a list of items and resources they have to give and trade to other artists. Also, if that isn't awesome enough... we have a cute mascot! If awarded the 2016 Charge grant, funds will go primarily toward the costs of developing the app and making it available for different phone OS versions. Please Check out our Website for Funzies!


Dreams for Collective Safety

Project Description: This is an interactive project in Houston for artists, adjunct professors, other precarious workers, and student debtors afraid armed U.S. Marshalls may knock on their door. Through feminist self-defense techniques, union organizing methodologies, and a reimagining of Laurie Anderson’s Institutional Dreams Series (1972-73), we’ll dream up strength to protect ourselves from the disastrous effects of privatization.

As part of the adjunct movement, we’ve been seeking a labor aesthetic for 21st century union organizing. Our participation in Charge 2016 led us to understand this aesthetic as a mergence of social practice and art thinking.

Our proposed project will create space to collectively depict how the personal is still political, contextualizing our individual fears and anxieties within neoliberal machinations. Then we will strike; by learning feminist self-defense techniques referred to as “strikes.” 

Once we find our collective strength we’ll use that power to reimagine our relationships to work, bosses, debt, and the institutions we rely on for income. We’ll excavate lost dreams and create new ones for ourselves and the institutions we are part of.

Using what we collectively create during our (art)work shift, we’ll rearrange institutional violence into institutional vulnerability. The result will be mapping out a public campaign to break the silence the violence of privatization demands. The material remnants of the process we go through together will be displayed in Houston at a site determined by the project participants.

We will use the grant to cover travel to Houston and artist fees.