“Hug the Hood” Block Party

“Hug the Hood” Block Party – “From a Space to a Place”


Congratulations Promiss, Ideyia, Mykedra, Max, Ryan, MJ, Ta’Cobie, Dashawn. DaJuan, Jonathan, Kobie, Eric and CJ for unveiling your vibrant poetic mural this past Saturday! You are strong and generous spirits. Our TFAA-AGAPE-SEHTA “From A Space To A Place” team believes that your voice is important, and that you can make this world a better place. We believe that you can do anything if you’re willing to work hard enough for it.

The TFAA team and the FASTAP guest educators & artists (Marjon Fatemizadeh Aucoin, Dandee Warhol from Little Wonders, Noel Bezette-Flores, Layla DaCosta, Naiyolis Palomo, Patricia Pilenko, Sacha Lazarre and Chloe, Erik Calderon, Johnny Hanson, Sebastien Mrd Boileau, Thomas Granovsky) feel blessed to have been able to work with you and support your poetic vision for your neighborhood. We look forward to continuing in the future!

It was also a privilege to partner with Anne Vickers, Breanna Cotton, Gwendolyn Fedrik, Verda Gaines, Priscilla Kennedy, Carroll Parrott Blue, and Ellis Johnson from Agape Development and Southeast Houston Transformation Alliance who work tirelessly every day to invite positive change in the students’ lives.

Many thanks to all of you who allowed the Youth Council students to bring their positive vision to life and to all of you who support and encourage us every day: our amazing volunteers, sponsors, family members, facebook friends…

“A Proust Sonata”

“A Proust Sonata” – A sensational event not to be missed

Transporting viewers to the dreamy realm of Proust

Please join us for the world premiere of Sarah Rothenberg’s “A Proust Sonata: 7 tableaux en musique.” This very unique Da Camera of Houston production will be performed this  Thursday, February 11th and Friday, February 12th at 8:00 p.m. at Cullen Theater, Wortham Theater Center.

Please enjoy an interview with Sarah Rothenberg, the Artistic & Creative Director of Da Camera, in anticipation of her upcoming Marcel Proust Project.

Da Camera - Sarah RothenbergPlease click the photo to watch Sarah Rothenberg’s interview

Visit http://www.dacamera.com/…/sarah_rothenberg__the_marcel_prou… to purchase tickets.

We hope to see you there!

Citizenship Month – November 2015

Citizenship Month – November 2015


Join us in celebrating the 6th Annual Citizenship Month during the month of November. This month long celebration of Houston’s civic diversity launches next Thursday, November 5th at the Asia Society. Visit http://citizenshipmonth.org/ for more information. Come to the events, give back, serve others, and help make Houston a better place!


In partnership with the University of Houston-Downtown for the Citizenship Month Artist Initiative, we have been teaching origami butterfly workshops at schools and organizations around Houston. This citywide Butterfly Project will result in beautiful art installations at City Hall, the Houston Public Library, the Asia Society, as well as at the participating schools and organizations around Houston.

“From a Space to a Place” at Agape – Mind-mapping

“From a Space to a Place” at Agape – Mind-mapping


This week in our “From a Space to a Place” program at Agape Development, the teens began mind-mapping their ideas for positive change in the community. First, they needed to learn the importance of having a clear vision of the future, and, to their surprise, we brought in renowned graffiti artist and muralist, Sebastien “Mr. D” Boileau and his film maker friend, Thomas Granovsky. Having seen the “Biggest Mural in Houston” in person, the teens were full of questions for Mr. D. He revealed to them that he had started as a “street kid” in France, with big dreams of going to America to be a graffiti artist. Mr. D, now French-American, has made his dreams come true with Eyeful Art Murals & Designs, but with big dreams comes a lot of planning; if you don’t have a clear path, you can easily get lost.

Planning for the future is important on both a personal and communal level. We asked the teens to think about and answer the question, “How can I make a positive impact in my community?” Through this brainstorming session, they were able to start seeing the individual ideas of their peers while working towards a collective goal. Next week, the students will collaborate to define a clearer vision of how they want to create lasting positive change in their community through an urban outreach project. Stay tuned!

Mr D (2)Mr D 2 (2)


The Butterfly Project – Spreading Hope at Harmony

The Butterfly Project – Spreading Hope at Harmony


This October, we taught two origami workshops at the Harmony Schools in Northwest Houston. We visited a high school class at the Harmony School of Advancement first, followed by a middle school class at the Harmony School of Excellence. In many ways, these schools personify the diverse, yet harmonious, population of our city. We asked each class to share their names unnamed2and cultural backgrounds with us. A few of the students were born in other countries, and many were the first of their family born in the United States.

Harmony School of Excellence - middle school (2)This Butterfly Project, a collaboration with Citizenship Month Houston, will result in several butterfly installations around the city, including at City Hall, the Asia Society, and the Houston Public Library. The students that we worked with were very excited to learn that their butterflies would be a part of this citywide movement of hope. Many of them shared what butterflies symbolized to them, including freedom, transformation, beauty, and strength. It is the compassion and acceptance of our youth that will continue to spark change, and spread hope, for a beautifully diverse future.

Opening Doors to the Imagination – Texas Children’s Hospital

Opening Doors to the Imagination – Texas Children’s Hospital


tree house“In the tree house, there are magic butterflies that spread love.” -Natalie-Jareli

On Wednesday, October 21st, we had the pleasure of revisiting Texas Children’s Hospital for our second creative workshop of the Mural Project. We set up our tables and then walked around the waiting area, asking any children if they wanted to work on an art project with us. As with our first workshop, we had quite a few unnamed 14 (2)interested youngsters. After asking the children if they had heard the story of Alice in Wonderland, and telling them the story if they hadn’t, we asked them what they would see in their own wonderlands. Carnival rides, talking cookies, ice castles, and more lay beyond some of these magical doors. One door was even guarded by giant mustached pumpkins.

Because we are temporarily holding onto the children’s art pieces as inspiration for the final mural, we wanted to give them something to take home, too. As they finished their work, we asked each of them to choose a special key from our collection. Each magical key, strung onto a necklace, is a reminder to its holder to open the door to his or her imagination. It is an invaluable moment to see the faces of these children light up with joy, realizing that they have a world of endless possibility inside of them, as long as the door of creativity is unlocked.

The Last Organic Outpost – An Exciting Excursion

The Last Organic Outpost – An Exciting Excursion


farm artOn Monday, October 19th, we were invited on an adventure to the Last Organic Outpost with the teachers, parents, and students of Little Wonders Learning Center. The intermingled sounds of flowing water, chirping birds, and laughing children composed a harmonious melody as we listened to Farmer Joe’s wise words. Farmer Joe (2)Both a community garden and a peaceful sanctuary where people can connect with each other and with the land, the Last Organic Outpost is a prime example of transforming a “space” into a “place.”

The first stop on our tour was the worm farm, an essential part of making “compost tea” for the soil. The children eagerly held out their hands to hold the wriggling earthworms, releasing excited squeals at the tickling sensation. Next, we learned about aquaponics, a system in which an aquatic species, such as tilapia, is introduced to the plants being grown above them in a symbiotic relationship. We then strolled through the beds of rich soil, planted with an assortment of leafy greens. The children from Little Wonders had been studying soil in school and, at a young age, already knew about the billions of organisms living in a single handful.gazebo (2)

At the back of the outpost was the soil yard, where piles of “fragrant earth” towered over the children like mountains. We watched as a “Soil-Meister” mixed woodchips with a heaping pile of vegetable waste, starting a fresh compost pile. Making our way back towards the gardens, we passed the apiary, where they housed honey bees, and the chicken coop, where the children got to hold the feathery hens.

All in all, the outpost was an exciting, educational place that we cannot wait to revisit. In fact, we are planning to collaborate with this creative community in the near future. Through our “From a Space to a Place” programs, we have demonstrated that art, science, ecology, and education, when they are not operating in silos, allow for creative dialogue that teaches children a holistic and meaningful approach to life. The Last Organic Outpost is, in itself, a tangible expression of this mentality, making our new friends into our next partners.

The Texas Children’s Hospital Mural Project

The Texas Children’s Hospital Mural Project


unnamed“I want people to be happy when they see my art.” -Ellieunnamed12

Imagine children being welcomed by the fantastic creatures, places, and vibrant colors of their imaginations as they are dropped off for doctor appointments or treatment; a once daunting space transformed into a wonderland of dreams.

On Wednesday, October 14th, we began this exciting and rewarding new adventure at Texas Children’s Hospital, alongside our friends and partners from Eyeful Art Murals & Designs and Little Wonders Learning Center. Inspired by the story of Alice in Wonderland, and by our “Once Upon a Door” collaboration with Little Wonders, we invited the children to describe and to create their own wonderlands. We gave each child a folded piece of watercolor paper with a tiny cut-out door, which they could open to reveal a small part of their world, or unfold to reveal the bigger picture.

unnamed10 (2)unnamed11Over the course of our creative workshops at Texas unnamed6Children’s Hospital, we will collect these amazing drawings and ideas as inspiration in the creation of the final mural in Spring 2016. This is what we are passionate about at the Texan-French Alliance for the Arts — Making a difference in children’s lives!

“From a Space to a Place” at Agape – Discovering Possibilities

“From a Space to a Place” at Agape – Discovering Possibilities


interview crop 2One of the sessions in our “From a Space to a Place” program focuses on the interviewing process. We teach our students how to formulate interesting and effective questions in order to gain insight into the needs of their community. Students learn the importance of eye contact in conversation, as well as how to actively listen and take notes to fully understand the views and opinions of the people they are interviewing.

interview cropFor this session at Agape Development, we brought in two college students studying social work to act out “good” and “bad” interview scenarios. These visual performances helped to reinforce the proper interviewing techniques, while providing some humor to an otherwise dry subject. The students then had time to write down a few thoughtful questions to ask a partner, so that they could practice interviewing each other, and their mentors, before interviewing actual community members the next week.

The next session began with anticipation, but quickly turned into a moment of positive growth. Students who had once been nervous about interviewing community members came to realize that they could hold meaningful conversations with adults. They eagerly investigated the concerns and needs of their community, writing down the key facts of each interview. Having a voice is empowering, especially for the youth who may feel unheard or disconnected from their community. These two sessions helped to instill a confidence in the teens that will undoubtedly help them as they venture through life. By connecting the youth to the elders of their community, relationships were built that will positively reinforce a brighter tomorrow.

interview crop 4

“From a Space to a Place” at Agape – Exploring Possibilities


“From a Space to a Place” at Agape – Exploring Possibilities


22 (2)During the third session of our “From a Space to a Place” program at Agape Development, we brought in the very successful, Houston-based photojournalist, Johnny Hanson. With a passion for kids and photography, Johnny enthusiastically jumped in to teach our students about perspective, framing, the rule of thirds, and even abstract photography. The students learned that there are endless possibilities when it comes to t16 (3)aking pictures, and that, as in photography, people’s perspectives and interpretations of the world can be very different.

After an interactive presentation, the students were ready to go outside and take their own creative photographs, focusing on their passions and putting their newly acquired skills to use. Each student then selected one photo taken by him/her to be made into a ceramic photo tile.

photo editingA couple of sessions later, Johnny Hanson returned to Agape to teach the students about photo editing. He tied his presentation into personal transformation, asking the teens if they had ever wanted to alter something that they did in the past. With this in mind, the students were invited to use computer software to edit the photos that they took during the last photography session. The students began to modify their images, impressing themselves with the results. These new images will also be turned into ceramic tiles, providing a nice “before” and “after” effect. Through this creative process, we encourage the students to make positive changes in themselves, in their community, and beyond.