Reinvigoration, Revitalization, or Just a Clean Sweep? Diverseworks Announces New Artist Board

by Bill Davenport September 13, 2012

Promo still from Keren Cytter: Video Art Manual, currently showing at Diverseworks

Along with a new Director, a new space, a new Assistant Curator, and a new Director of External Affairs, venerable Houston alterna-space Diverseworks has just announced a new artist board.

A recent press release from Diverseworks describes the reshuffle as a return to the org’s artist-founded roots: “as DiverseWorks celebrates its 30th Anniversary, we have launched a reinvigorated Artist Board in order to recapture the spirit of its original intent. The renewed Artist Board will help set DiverseWorks’ programmatic direction, develop policies, and curate specific programs” and appends a  list of worthy new artist board members for 2012-2013.

But when the release goes on to detail the responsibilities of the new artist board, they seem meager: “specifically, the Artist Board will help define and select the participants for two exciting new public programs: DiverseWorks on Wednesdays (DWOW), a weekly evening “mash up” of activities; and Diverse Discourse, a series that brings internationally-renowned arts professionals to Houston to give free public lectures and conduct studio visits with area artists.” In years gone by Diverseworks’ artist board had more or less total control of the programming at the curator-less org. This was not always a good thing: lack of paid curatorial staff made curating a hit-or-miss affair, and left former directors with vision struggling to sell their ideas to a heterogeneous collection of egos.

More professional, perhaps better, but certainly not a return to the 1982’s idealistic vision of a truly artist run-organization.


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Michael September 13, 2012 - 10:59

Can I ask who the two people in the photograph are? Is it stock photography or do these two people have something to do with the changes? Why is she eating a banana?

Bill Davenport September 13, 2012 - 11:47

The image is a still from a work included in Diverseworks’ current show, Keren Cytter: Video Art Manual. No actual artist board members are depicted.

Jennifer Gardner September 13, 2012 - 14:40

DiverseWorks would like to emphasize the generous volunteerism of our new
Artist Board members. Their contributions are in no way meager and we look forward to working closely with them as valued advisors and colleagues.  Their commitment and efforts are crucial in making DiverseWorks an active social space and intellectual hub for Houston artists again–and it is this component that harkens back to the Artist Board’s original intent.  The full list of Artist Board members may be found in the about section of our website

Gene Morgan September 13, 2012 - 20:42

It’s probably for the best that they didn’t lay a huge amount of control at our feet. The board is, at least how I’ve seen it, a “let’s see what happens” kind of thing, which is a responsible move for DiverseWorks. Starting slow is safe.

It’s promising to see so many people I respect in the local arts community in one place. I think most of us who are involved are excited to see where it goes, and happy to help the organization however we can.


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