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.

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“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.

The Voice of Youth – ArtHouston Magazine

The Voice of Youth – ArtHouston Magazine


Our “From a Space to a Place” program has been featured in the first issue of ArtHouston Magazine!

Please visit to read our article “The Voice of Youth” (page 66-71) and to learn more about the “From a Space to a Place” (FASTAP) program! Also featured are four poems written by a group of teens who participated in our summer pilot program in partnership with Change Happens in the Third Ward. The students created these poems using the “Found Poetry” method to address social issues in their community. They then performed their poetry at Sunny Side Park and on the main stage of Discovery Green. Congratulations to these amazing students for their accomplishments!

Thank you to John Bernhard for including us in his incredible new magazine!





Opening the Door for Veterans – San Antonio in support of veterans adjusting to their “new normal”

Opening the Door for Veterans – San Antonio in support of veterans adjusting to their “new normal”  First Workshop: August 29, 2015

The Texan-French Alliance for the Arts is excited to launch its new Open the Door  Veteran’s program in San Antonio, with the support and contribution of many partners (including the City of San Antonio, Southwest School of Art, the Third Power, McNay Art Museum, AMEDD Museum/JBSA Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio Foundation, Gemini Ink, and Café Commerce).

This program, inspired by the successful citywide Open the Door program implemented in Houston in 2012-2013, will be focused on veterans and the communities that interact with them. To learn more about the past Open the Door project, please visit  and More soon…

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A Continuation of “From a Space to a Place”

FASTAP Banner 2A Continuation of “From a Space to a Place”

Expanding our collaboration across cultures
Starting: Fall 2015/Spring 2016
The Texan-French Alliance for the Arts is partnering with several schools around Houston, as well as one school in France, to continue its “From a Space to a Place” program. This installment of “FASTAP” will be further developed from our successful, summer pilot program to fit a semester-length calendar. We will provide training to the educators of these schools, allowing the student-oriented vision of this program to take root and to flourish beyond our imagination.
Stay tuned!

SSQ: International Exchange – France: A success

SSQ: International Exchange – France: A success June 7-17, 2015

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TFAA is proud to be a partner with Reginald Adam’s and the Boniuk Institute for religious Tolerance at Rice University on this project , which is partially funded by our very generous sponsor, Schlumberger. This is a thrilling opportunity for students in Houston to gain first hand knowledge, understanding and experience through an International exchange that will result in a lasting piece of public art in Lyons, France. What is SSQ: International Exchange? The Sacred Sites Quest: International Exchange (SSQ.IE) is designed to provide urban youth from Houston, Texas with an opportunity to collaborate with students and community residents on foreign soil on a community-based public art project in the form of a labyrinth.  The brainchild of public artist Reginald C. Adams,  the seeds for the international exchange were planted when Adams traveled to France in 2012 to execute a public art project with a children’s hospital in Lyon, France. Witnessing first-hand the richness that the unique, distinct culture of the country could potentially contribute to the Houston community, the idea for the international exchange was born. More than just an outreach program, this collaborative is a multi-disciplinary approach to cultural and social awareness that builds bridges between international communities to address issues of education, environment, urban revitalization, creative place-making and cultural tolerance. The program will primarily seek to work with the Texan French Alliance for the Arts in order to build upon and strengthen the pre-existing relationships between France and Houston. Each year, a different exchange country and new students will be featured as the program grows.  The first of its kind in the city of Houston, Sacred Sites Quest: International Exchange is an annual signature community outreach event designed to foster collaborations between local youth and international artists, serving to promote and enhance the creative and cultural diversity of the city of Houston. ​ For more information on this project and to donate click on the link below: SSQ website 3 SSQ website pic2



Maitres cuisiniers de France

Chef Philippe

A gathering to welcome top French chefs from North America for a series of events, workshops and the induction of Etoile’s Philippe Verpiand and Aura’s Frédéric Perrier.

Master Chef of France Philippe Schmit, one of the organizers of the event, is proud to announce that Houston is going to host the 33rd Annual Maîtres Cuisiniers de France and l’Académie Culinaire de France joint conference June 6th-9th.  This is the first time that this city has been selected as the meeting site for this esteemed and influential group of North-America based French chefs, who are dedicated to promoting the culinary and pastry arts. These maestros, all trained at Michelin star-caliber institutions, are reshaping modern French cuisine in America.

Main sponsors include GDF SUEZ Energy North America, H-E-B, Bernardaud and Infiniti South West.

Events will include a back of the house tour at Space Center Houston to lunch at Killen’s Barbecue and cocktails at Triniti’s Sanctuari Bar, and an invitation-only gala at Le Mistral on June 8 benefiting Recipe for Success Foundation and formally introducing the newest Master Chef inductees, Philippe Verpiand of Etoile and Frédéric Perrier of Aura.

For more information visit:

For sponsorship inquiries, please call the MCF Houston Congress office at 281-501-2815