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Art Festivals | Houston, Texas

The arts festivals in Houston, Texas are like the city’s raspa stands and ice houses–there’s one on every corner, but each one offers specific flavors and atmosphere.

I wanted to be at all of the exciting events (The Texas Contemporary Arts Festival, the Bayou Park Grand opening, LibroFest, Banned Books at Brazo’s Bookstore, and The Greek Festival–just to name a few!). I spent most of Saturday afternoon biking around this urban landscape, exploring, and attending a couple of these festivities.

Houston LibroFest

Houston LibroFest highlights Hispanic writers. Literary arts organizations, magazines, activists, and vendors spent the beautiful afternoon in the Houston Public Library square celebrating the vibrant Latino community and its literacy love.
I signed up to help Gulf Coast Journal man their booth. Speaking with other members of the literary arts community was so inspiring! I kept sneaking away to visit all the vendors–there were so many things to do!

Literary Arts of Houston, Texas

My favorite must have been the Workhorse Print Makers booth where I hand-pressed my own poster! I’ve been in love with letterpress for a few years now (Intended Hobby #656) and it’s clear the Workhorse guys are too:
“Nothing says love like heavy metal. We don’t mean purple satin, long hair and guitars heavy metal. We mean one ton of cast iron slowly squeezing paper in its tender embrace. We mean men lavishing attention on long forgotten machines that once were the epoch of human ingenuity. Hammers hitting steel, the squeak of belts, and the sizzle of oil on well lubed bushings. We love letterpress.”

 

This full-service letterpress print shop uses soy-based inks and citrus-solvents, and their stock is often made from American recycled or tree-free cotton! I mean really, I couldn’t admire these guys more!
Check out my poster! It’s a quote from Sandra Cisneros (You might know her best from her novel, The House on Mango Street). You can bet it will be hanging in the most visible spot of my house.

 

 

Little Red Leaves Journal & Press showcased their Textile Series of hand-sewn books of poetry. Each one had its own personality–pieces of art from the inside, out! I wanted to buy all of them, especially the blank notebooks.
Monica Villareal and Jorge Galvan Flores (above) are two of the city’s talented graphic artists. Monica is wearing a Voices Breaking Boundaries t-shirt, a Houston grassroots arts organization inciting social justice through art. They work to create open conversations and new experiences of the city’s cultural history and present. These guys do it all: performance art, dance, graphic design, photography–you name it. Go like the organization’s Facebook page–they deserve support!
GC Magazine Arts Vendor+PIN
Some young word-lovers played banana-grams at the Gulf Coast Magazine booth.
This is the lovely Adrienne Perry, editor of Gulf Coast Journal. Adrienne has only been living in Houston for two years, but has nestled herself into the city’s literary arts community with her warm, generous spirit.
Inprint, Houston’s premier literary arts organization, deployed its team of Poetry Buskers to the Bayou Park Grand Opening. Armed with typewriters and reservoirs of words, these poets wrote poems for park visitors on the spot–how freaking cool is that? “Give us a theme, and we’ll write you a poem.” A custom-made poem is a special gift, but so is watching these talented writers create them!
Biking around Houston, the arts are everywhere. I came across this incredible mural on my way to get coffee (Needed to refuel from the overwhelming arts stimulation!). It’s gorilla art: get it?!

Catalina Coffee

I ended my day of Houston exploration at Catalina Coffee. By far, the BEST coffee I’ve had in Houston so far. Why? Because they roast it themselves, of course! I was thrilled to find a local roaster. While chatting with the barista, I discovered that the editor of Sugar & Rice Magazine, who I spoke with at LibroFest that afternoon, had also been in for java that day.
I learned so much about my literary arts community and am so excited to explore more ways to get involved. Below is a list of the organizations featured in this blog post. Please visit their websites, like their Facebook pages, and if you’re feeling inclined, share their work!
Check out more urban art from my travels to Chicago, here!
bda