Virtuosi of Houston/Conservatoire de Paris Exchange

Virtuosi of Houston/Conservatoire de Paris Exchange

Virtuosi 2How can a dream open doors and build bridges between countries and cultures?

The musical exchange program between Houston and Paris is the story of a dream, a dream that invited to open doors and to build bridges. The dream is the one of Zarine Boyce, president of the Virtuosi of Houston and its conductors Andrzej Grabiec and Franz Krager. Passionate about classical music and inspired by their talented students, they all dreamed this exchange between the young Virtuosi of Houston musicians and the young French musicians.
This dream has inspired many others who gathered and worked hard to allow this dream come true …
In chronological order:
– Karine Parker Lemoyne, Executive Director and Mickey Henry, President of the Texan-French Alliance for the Arts (TFAA), the staff of TFAA (Hadia Mawlawi), its Board of Directors and its volunteers, Lina Corinth and Karine Massartic who invited the young Virtuosi to discover the language of Molière.
– The Consul General of France in Houston, Sujiro Seam and his Virtuosi in Pariswife, Jane Seam who supported generously since their arrival in Houston, the Virtuosi of Houston and their project,
– The French Cultural Services in Houston, Sylvie Christophe, Lauriane Blandel and Marie Einbinder, as well as Veronique Lhemann, the French Consulate press attaché,
– Gretchen Amussen, Head of External Affairs and International Relations at the National Conservatory of Paris who generously opened the doors of the Conservatoire a Rayonnement Regional de Paris by introducing us to its outstanding and visionary director, Xavier Delette.

– Xavier Delette who in turn welcomed us with open arms at the Conservatoire a Rayonnement Regional de Paris with his great team (Marion Maugey, Rose-Helene Pousset, Laura Perrin, Manon Pontais)
– The Board of Virtuosi and its chairman, Dr. Meherwan P. Boyce,
– The staff of Virtuosi: Karen Needham, Steve Casas, Candice, who adopted the project with all the energy it takes to make it grow,
– The dynamic Virtuosi pro-bono musical exchange coordinator, Véronique Eberhard,
– The generous parents of the young Virtuosi of Houston and Paris Conservatory musicians
– The talented young Virtuosi of Houston and Paris Conservatory musicians
– The cultural services of the City of Paris,
– The French Institute
– Philip Frayne, Minister Counsellor for Public and Cultural Affairs,
Embassy of the United States, Paris, France
– And the audience and internet users who had and will have the chance to attend/listen to the Paris concert and who support this educational adventure in their own special way,
With a special mention for the sponsors and private donors including TOTAL, Monzer Hourani … who sponsored the musical exchange and all the TFAA sponsors (including Air France, Axens, GDF SUEZ Energy North America, Schlumberger, Technip,, Total) who believe in the programs and partnerships we keep developing and without whom the project would not have been possible.
A big Merci and bravo to you All!
What I have just described is a growing web and support networks that allowed the realization of a dream and the possibility of positive developments and change for these 110 young musicians, a positive change that will go beyond this week in Paris and the concert itself. Next year, the young French musicians will travel to Houston to partner with their Texan friends. Wonderful bridges have been built, it is up to us to continue to build more!

Once Upon A Door


Feb. 28/March 1 2015

“Once Upon A Door” – Event & Workshop for adults & kids: Once upon a Door is an invitation to open the door to the creative resources we have at our disposal in order to transform the world as we see it. Music, visual imagery, theatre, video, lights, games … and of course doors will create a sensory 360-degree environment for appreciating art and the bridges it builds between us, kids being the co-hosts of the event.

Jazz Exchange

Jazz Exchange with UHD

and the Conservatoire de Paris

A jazz exchange between Houstonian and Parisian artist. Emil Spanyi, will take place November 14 at the University of Houston Downtown, as part of Citizenship Month, a time when cultural, artistic, and community engagement activities are encouraged across Houston to celebrate the diversity of the city. For more information, please visit


Once Upon a Door


 Once Upon a Door was conceived after the success of and interactions of children in the Houston community with Open the Door. Once Upon a Door will consist of a festival and educational workshops that will create a sensory environment where children and adults can explore their creativity and power to innovate by using art to transform the world around them on December 13-14. The program will encourage attendees to use art as a sensory language to express themselves, an approach that will provide a constructive outlet to process and express emotions, and will encourage creative solutions to challenges.

Avenue CDC’s Art on the Avenue Features Open the Door

Preview Party: 6 pm to 9 pm,  Thursday November 13, 2014

Public Event: 6 pm to 10 pm,  Saturday November 15, 2014

Winter Street Studios: 2101 Winter Street, Houston, TX 77007

This year’s 18th Annual Art on the Avenue will be chaired by Mark Montgomery, Houston City President of BBVA Compass. It is a two-night event attended by some 1,000 Houstonians. It showcases the work of more than 250 local artists in a fine art silent auction with proceeds from art sales shared between the artists and Avenue CDC.  We are
pleased to announce that this year Christine West, Executive Director of Lawndale Art Center, will be our guest curator. At the Preview Party on Thursday, November 13, 2014, guests will have a first look at the art for auction and an opportunity to bid and purchase art prior to the public event on Saturday, November 15th.


RAFFLE DRAWING: Carlos Cruz-Diez “Induction Chromatique à double fréquence Olympic Centennial Harmonie 42.” Ed. 32/50. (Pictured above, courtesy of the Atelier Cruz-Diez and the Sicardi Gallery.)

Raffle tickets may be purchased for $20 each or 6 for $100. 600 total tickets to be sold. (Click here to purchase)

Drawing: Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 9:45 pm. You do not need to be present to win.

For more than five decades, Carlos Cruz-Diez (born 1923) has experimented intensively with the origins and optics of color. The MFAH and the Cruz-Diez Foundation presented the first large-scale retrospective of this pioneering Franco-Venezuelan artist in 2011 to critical acclaim. We are greatly honored that the Atelier Cruz-Diez and the Sicardi Gallery have donated this stunning piece to benefit the programs of Avenue CDC.

The TFAA “Building Community and Celebrating Corporate Engagement” Luncheon

Corporate Luncheon

Please join us for a unique moment of celebration and learning, at the first TFAA Annual Corporate Luncheon on November 13, 2014, 11:30 am-2pm.

Celebrate with us Texan and French philanthropy over a French 3-course lunch: international executives, key stakeholders, community leaders and renowned guest speakers will share  their visions and thoughts for the future of our multicultural city’s art ecosystem. Artists will perform during lunch.

You will also have a chance to get a glimpse of TFAA’s ambitious programming, hear about our success stories and meet some of our fantastic corporate and cultural partners.

Please mark your calendar for Thursday, November 13, 2014 at the Hilton Houston Post Oak Hotel: join us for a special dose of inspiration, create a sense of community through an innovative and stimulating program, network with Houston’s cultural and business leaders in a relaxed and creative environment.

Call us today to reserve your seat, at 832.978.5191 or Tables and seats are still available for purchase.

Texan-French Alliance for the Arts at the Houston Fine Art Fair

TFAA booth at the HFAFPlease join the Texan-French Alliance for the Arts as our VIP guest for the opening night of the Houston Fine Art Fair. Please see some pictures en avant-premiere! Artworks from Walid Zouari, Sebastien Boileau, Skunkdog and Robert Hodge.
Please CLICK HERE to print your pass:
Un tres grand merci to our sponsors including GDF-SUEZ, TOTAL, Air France, TECHNIP and Schlumberger, for their support and for believing in TFAA’s programs and vision.

Un tres grand merci to all our volunteers who will be volunteering on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for TFAA. This is so appreciated !  You are an important key to our community!


Celebrate Houston as an Arts Mecca

Discover the 4th annual HFAF, a celebration of Houston’s visual arts. HFAF has established itself as a must-attend art experience. Set to international standards, HFAF offers its most spacious and impactful art viewing experience to date. This year, curators thoughtfully assembled a list of 60 displays from 17 countries. This well-curated and expansive selection showcases promising up and coming artists, mid-career and the masters from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and the US.

Each year, over thirteen thousand fairgoers return to reconnect with past exhibitors and discover new ones. HFAF is an opportunity to uncover treasures for your home and office. There is easy access at NRG Center, with convenient parking and a valet option.

2014’s Special Events

  • Explore nearly 1,000 contemporary works of art by 300      renowned artists-Houston’s largest selection of fine art- making it the      acquisition event of the year.
  • Explore the memorable Houston Artists Hall of Hame@HFAF as we salute 15 pioneering art inductees who help place      Houston on the national art map.
  • Sit in on the thought-provoking HFAF ArtSpeak      series presented by CultureMap      featuring 5 sessions throughout the weekend. Gain insights on topics      ranging from museum curating to managing your collection.
  • Meet the 2014 honorees on Sat. Sept. 20 – Lifetime      Achievement Awardee is MFAH’s esteemed curator of photography      Anne Tucker, and Illumination      Award of Excellence in Arts Education to David E. Brauer, the      longtime revered educator at the Glassell School of Art, MFAH.
  • Join a lineup of 60 prestigious museum and cultural      institutions from the region who support the fair.
  • Witness cutting-edge installations      traveling to Houston from Egypt and Mexico, as well as local artists.
  • Gain exclusive access to the coveted VIP lounge,      presented by Luxe Interior + Design      magazine. The VIP Lounge is designed with a theme of “Natural      Elements” showcasing various textures and a touch of royal blue,      complete with hand-selected furnishings and custom-made stone bar.
  • In addition to the international flavor, meet with 8      respected local Houston      galleries
  • Discover the latest trends in collecting both Latin      American (Sept. 19) and Middle Eastern Art (Sept. 21).
  • #RelaxandRevive in the CultureMap Collectors Lounge      furnished by Cantoni. Providing patrons the opportunity to relax in style,      the lounge will feature one of Cantoni’s newest arrivals, the Natuzzi      Re-Vive, an intuitive chair that is the world’s first performance      recliner. Engage with our sponsors on Twitter by tagging @CantoniDesign      and @CultureMap and using the hash tag #RelaxandRevive

Join the astonishing action this weekend!

Skunkdog, a soulful street artist from Marseille opens the door

Open the Door Artist Interview: Skunkdog

“These two women painted on the door, to me, are a symbol of the old Europe and the new America. They represent this duality that exists in my own spirit, the tradition of European painting and the novelty and modernism of American painting since the 1950’s. They are also an affirmation of my name and my sense of belonging to my group of graffiti artists. The door also represents my friendship with the painter DOK. The first name of each person that I met in Houston is inscribed on the door to evoke my gratitude to those who opened their door to me and gave me support.” Skunkdog


1- Skunkdog, were you familiar with Texan-French Alliance for the Arts prior to participating on this project?

 Yes, I had heard of it from friends living in Houston. And I had received pictures of the open door exhibition. 

 2. What drew you to participate in this project?

 Participating in a project is always a challenge especially when the support/material is original.

 3. What are your thoughts on Public Art and did your experience with Open the Door (OTD) change your perception or understanding of the potential impact this art form can have on a community? Please explain.

I have participated in several projects in which the artworks were exhibited in the street, like the cow parade or the Cool globe and the funny zoo in Marseille. It’s great fun to see the reactions of people on the street and the reactions are often surprising. What I like in all of that is the reactions of the children who are usually enchanted by what they can see on the street. But the art on the street should certainly trigger the interest of people who have no access to art in their daily lives.

The idea of a door painted on one side by one artist and the other side by another artist opens a set of amusing questions & answers. I liked it so, and I hope to get a chance on my return to Houston to meet local artists. In each city in each country, artistic approaches are different, and art is nourished by   encounters and exchanges. I painted Houston differently, the city, the people have influenced me. We always grow up when we travel and work in a country that is not ours. I have already participated in these kinds of projects and I’ll do it again for it is important to experience art in the street.

 4. What was the most important thing you learned from it and/or what surprised you about this process?

You always learn when you paint away from your studio, the most important thing was the encounter with the people who opened their doors to realize this project. the astonishing diversity of the American people, their good spirit and their hospitality.

I am a painter who uses energy, the word and who follows his instinct. I never know where I go when I start painting, I adapt to the support and I try to paint my everyday life. I liked expressing and giving a little piece of France with my painting.


5. How did this project enhance your connection with or understanding of Houston and Houston’s multi-ethnic communities (given the diverse locations of the doors across Houston)?

I am impregnated with American culture, music, cinema, painting. Expertise is different between old Europe and the new world, but the ideas are often consistent. Global thinking is taking place all around the world, only the sensitivities and the way we express ourselves change from a continent to another. With the emergence of street art,  language has become identical.  From the encounters that I made in Houston, I can say that multiculturalism is obvious here as it is in my city of Marseille.

 6. Did this project impact your community, family or organization? How?  Any final thoughts? For example, what artistic doors would you like to open in the future (individually, collectively or institutionally)?

I will able to tell you more upon my return to Houston, a month and a half spent here does not allow me to answer you, but what I can say is that the French people in Houston are sensitive to this project.

The foreign sun,

it squints upon

A bed that is never mine

As friends and other strangers

From their fates try to resign

Leaving men wholly, totally free

To do anything they wish to do but die

And there are no trials inside the Gates of Eden

Bob Dylan

Art Save Lives Phase One Launches This Fall

Art Saves Lives: A Cultural Conversation purposes to offer a conversation of hope and awareness, encouragement and possibility via the universal language of the arts. This project is a collaborative arts exchange partnership between Susan Blair, a Houston-based writer/choreographer/dancer/actor and Patrice Pike, singer/songwriter/musician and co-founder of the Grace Foundation of Texas, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization serving young adult survivors of homelessness. French artist, Eric Oberhoff, choreographer and director of Compagn
ie Humaine, Nice, will join Susan and Patrice as the initial artist collaborators.


As phase one of two phases, this Educational Outreach Arts Exchange brings together artists of the two cities in two performances and five outreach workshops focused on underserved teens and will be presented in a week-long residency in Nice in September 2014. Phase two of the exchange is planned for Houston in 2015.
Date: September 7-14, 2014 (phase one, Nice); 2015 (phase two, Houston)


TFAA presents Book Machine Houston

Blaffer Art Museum is pleased to announce BOOK MACHINE (HOUSTON)powered by Onestar Press, based in Paris. Twenty graphic communication seniors from the University of Houston will be at the Texas Contemporary at the George R. Brown Convention Center during a 2.5-day period to work with artists from the Houston community to realize their vision for an artist’s book under the guidance of Onestar Press. The event will culminate in the presentation and discussion of the 100 new titles produced over the 2.5-day period on Sunday, September 7, 4-5 p.m. with a reception to follow. As part of the official BOOK MACHINE edition of Onestar Press, the titles produced in Houston will be made available worldwide.


This event is presented by Blaffer Art Museum and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts in collaboration with the School of Art Graphic Communications Department at the University of Houston. BOOK MACHINE (HOUSTON) is supported by the Texan French Alliance for the Arts and the Cultural Service at the French Consulate in Houston.

Houston and Toulouse Dance Companies Exchange

The French Exchange Project is the collaborative effort of Toulouse and Houston-based dance organizations to create unique new dance works, share insight into the creative process, and offer public performances to the people of Houston free of charge. The two works to be performed are Je Suis/I am and Point de vue sur coin de rue/Point of view on the street corner. Je Suis is being created collaboratively over the course of a year-long cultural exchange between the two partner organizations and is a dance that explores the stories of who we are and where we live, intertwining both CORE’s and Manifeste’s visions of our own, and each other’s cities and countries. This dance is performed by the 5 CORE dancers. Point de vue is a dance created by Manifeste that layers (literally, via video projection), street corners from Toulouse over a street corner in Houston. A trio of dancers highlights the obvious differences between people of different cultures, but the work speaks mostly to the meeting points that bind us and connect us. The project also includes multiple opportunities for direct interaction with the artists, through master classes, open rehearsals and an open showing.


Date: October 20-25, 2014

Locations: To be confirmed soon