Glasstire is pleased to announce the inaugural 2021 Greater Houston Art Writing Prize, a competitive award designed to find and highlight emerging arts writers in Texas. The winner of the Prize will be awarded $2,500, and their work will be published on Glasstire. In addition, they will be celebrated at an online event in February of 2021. The 2021 Greater Houston Prize will run concurrently with the 2021 North Texas Art Writing Prize, which is now in its third year.
The Glasstire Art Writing Prize is awarded to a senior undergraduate or graduate student at a Texas university. For this Greater Houston open call, students from art history, journalism, studio arts, philosophy, literature, and all other departments at participating universities in the Greater Houston area will be invited to submit articles starting today, October 20. The deadline is January 8, 2021 at 11:59 pm. Any questions about the Prize can be directed to Glasstire’s editorial staff at [email protected].
Judges for this round of the Prize include Molly Glentzer, Senior Writer and Critic, Arts & Culture for the Houston Chronicle; Gabriel Martinez, artist and Director of Alabama Song; Brandon Zech, Publisher of Glasstire; Christina Rees, Editor-in-Chief of Glasstire; and Christopher Blay, News Editor of Glasstire.
How to Enter
Entrants must submit one article, with a word count of between 750 and 1200 words. Entrants can write about either a work of art that they love and why, OR about how art has sustained them over the last year. Only one submission per author will be considered. Please submit your article as either a Word document or PDF to [email protected]. Use the email subject line “Greater Houston 2021.” Please do not include any identifying information (name, school, etc.) in the document file, as all submissions will be juried blindly. Please include a bio and identifying information in the body of your email.
Submission is open to all writers currently enrolled in universities and colleges in the Greater Houston region (including College Station, Beaumont, Prarie View, Huntsville, etc.) who are either undergraduate seniors or are in any graduate-level (Masters degree or PhD) program. Writers will be considered ineligible after five years of relevant art-related employment (for example a curatorial or other professional position in a museum or history of paid arts writing as a freelancer or editor). Allowance can be made for periods devoted to family obligations or extended illness, at the discretion of the jury. Direct questions about eligibility to [email protected]
Articles submitted for the Prize must be previously unpublished and it is expected that the winning article will be published on Glasstire.
Keep in mind that Glasstire publishes journalistic arts writing. Preference will be shown for interesting, opinionated prose that eschews academic jargon. Ask yourself if this is something you would want to read.
Although this is the inaugural year of the Greater Houston Prize, the Prize has been previously held in North Texas. The 2019 North Texas Prize winner was Mathieu Debic, a PhD student at UT Dallas, who wrote about David Lynch’s 1984 film Dune.
Here’s an excerpt from his submission, titled Working at the Movies:
“That Dune was a failed experiment has, in a sense, become part of its point. In order for watching movies to not feel like work, there has to exist the possibility of movies like Dune. Without taking the major risks that can lead to a complete flop, both aesthetically and financially, movies (and their makers) nowadays gravitate toward the “easy A” — a compromised product that no one truly loves, but gives no one any reason to complain. This is the compromise that makes movies boring, and like work.”
On the importance of arts writing, Christina Rees wrote in 2018, at the inaugural North Texas Prize’s announcement, in her op-ed Why We Need Art Writers Now (More Than Ever):
“The Glasstire Art Writing Prize… can encourage and cultivate the voices who are interested in engaging with the vast amount of visual art that this state churns out. Artists not only deserve honest critical writing about their work. They want it. The best artists, especially, want it. And the glossy lifestyle magazines and ‘curated’ Insta-sites that only embrace the forced glamor and fluff around visual art aren’t giving them (or art fans) this, or starting any meaningful conversation around art and what it can actually do in our culture. Given our current political moment, this problem of lack of real dialogue is especially galling.”
The 2021 Greater Houston Art Writing Prize is sponsored in part by a donation from the Rabkin Foundation, which is an organization dedicated to supporting arts journalism nationally. Glasstire’s Editor-in-Chief, Christina Rees, was among the Foundation’s major awardees in 2017. The funds raised for the 2021 Prize will go toward Glasstire’s work in the Houston area in the coming year.
The 2019 North Texas Prize was sponsored by Lindsey and Patrick Collins; Laura and Walter Elcock; Elisabeth and Panos Karpidas; Catherine and Will Rose; John and Lisa Runyon; and Eleanor Williams.
The 2018 North Texas Prize was sponsored by Lindsey and Patrick Collins; Laura and Walter Elcock; Elisabeth and Panos Karpidas; Jana and Hadley Paul; and Cindy and Howard Rachofsky.