Theaster Gates with the Black Monks of Mississippi

Black Monks of Mississippi

December 7, 2013 6:30 pm
Eldorado Ballroom, 2310 Elgin Street

A live performance by Theaster Gates and the Black Monks of Mississippi, an experimental music ensemble of Chicago-based vocalists and musicians founded in 2008. Directed by Gates, the music is influenced by diverse traditions, including Gospel, Blues and Buddhist and Zen chants. Featuring Yaw Agyeman on vocals, Mikel Avery on percussion, Orron Kenyetta with spoken word, and Khari Lemuel on cello. Free and open to all.

Co-presented by Blaffer Art Museum, Project Row Houses, and the Mitchell Center. Supported through the Innovation Grants  program, which is funded in part by the Houston Endowment, Inc.


Remembering George P. Mitchell

George P. Mitchell


George Mitchell, philanthropist, Texas oilman and real estate developer, passed away today at age 94. Mitchell and his late wife, Cynthia, made considerable contributions to Houston, Galveston, The Woodlands and beyond through their leadership, philanthropic generosity and passion for culture and historic preservation. George Mitchell is remembered as a Texas legend for his innovations in drilling technology and real estate development, just to name a few.

The Mitchells made one of the largest individual grants in University of Houston history– $20 million– to create the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. Read how UH is remembering George Mitchell and his incredible legacy here.




How Rick Lowe Helped Transform Houston’s Third Ward

Project Row Houses


The Mitchell Center’s frequent collaborator, Project Row Houses, is featured in this piece by the Dallas Observer highlighting founder Rick Lowe and his role in the transformation of the Third Ward.



University of Houston’s rock star president reveals all: Top challenge, favorite restaurant and a closet secret

Renu Khator

Since arriving at the helm of the University of Houston System as chancellor and as UH president in 2008, Renu Khator has been steadily transforming the university and enhancing the school’s national image. In only four years, she has taken the University of Houston from somewhat educational obscurity to national recognition including a Carnegie Tier One ranking. Read the full CultureMap article here.


Marching Orders

Photo by Julie Soefer

Photo by Julie Soefer

UH Mitchell Center Commissions Experimental Music

Houston, get ready: A student marching band turned experimental musical cadre is poised to create free-form, funky, soulful, danceable rhythms at downtown’s Discovery Green later this month. This parade-gone-wild is the creation of world-renowned musician and composer Daniel Bernard Roumain who, as University of Houston Mitchell Center for the Arts Artist-in-Residence is deconstructing conventional modes of music-making and taking artistic freedom to the highest level…

Read the full article on En Masse in April’s A+C Houston magazine here.


Outside the Citadel, Social Practice Art Is Intended to Nurture

A town-hall meeting on racial and economic issues at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis.

A town-hall meeting on racial and economic issues at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis.

In Detroit a contemporary-art museum is completing a monument to an influential artist that will not feature his work but will instead provide food, haircuts, education programs and other social services to the general public.

In New York an art organization that commissions public installations has been dispatching a journalist to politically precarious places around the world where she enlists artists and activists — often one and the same — to write for a Web site that can read more like a policy journal than an art portal. And in St. Louis an art institution known primarily for its monumental Richard Serra sculpture is turning itself into a hub of social activism, recently organizing a town-hall meeting where 350 people crowded in to talk about de facto segregation, one of the city’s most intractable problems.

If none of these projects sound much like art — or the art you are used to seeing in museums — that is precisely the point.

Read the full New York Times article here.

Houston Art Car Parade

Q&A with resident artist Daniel Bernard Roumain

Daniel Bernard Roumain

The Daily Cougar sat down with artist and composer Daniel Bernard Roumain to discuss En Masse, working with the Spirit of Houston marching band, and what it means to be in residence at the Mitchell Center. Read the full interview here.

Daring Greatly on Oprah

Brene Brown and Oprah

Oprah sits down with New York Times bestselling author and nationally acclaimed speaker, Dr. Brené Brown, to discuss her latest book “Daring Greatly.”  For the past twelve years, she’s studied vulnerability, worthiness, shame and courage as a professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.  At the 2010 TEDx Talk in Houston, she opened up about her own vulnerabilities and her quest to better understand herself.  Her story of personal discovery resonated with people beyond those in attendance, garnering more than seven million views on

The Emmy® award-winning series “Super Soul Sunday” premieres an all-new episode ‘Oprah & Brené Brown: Daring Greatly’ on Sunday, March 17 at 11a.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network

Watch a preview of the show!

Is Your Summer PLAND?


PLAND is currently accepting applications, RSVPs, and inquiries for the 2013 Summer Residency Program, Building Program, and Special Projects. Applications are available at


As Old Man Winter spews his icy squalls, we crave the golden summer season at PLAND. What are your plans once the snow melts?

If you are a worker, maker, thinker, or doer who brings self-awareness, experimental processes, and creativity to what you do – and PLAND sparks some ideas for you – then we encourage you to apply to and participate in our 2013 summer programs.

We believe that a place is made by living in it and so the 2013 Summer Residency Program is focused on completion of PLAND’s Main House. We invite you to help us continue building and making PLAND by proposing a project that will increase on-site livability for visitors and future residents. Residencies span two to four weeks between June and September. Teams and collaborators are encouraged to apply. Click here to learn more and to download the application.

There is no formal application process for the 2013 Building Program. Instead PLAND takes RSVPs for related events such as work parties and workshops. The 2013 Work Parties take place May 31 – June 4 and Sept 18 – 22. Contact PLAND anytime after January 20 for more information and to RSVP.

The Special Projects Program allows for projects and events that do not necessarily fit into the parameters of either the Residency or Building Programs, yet mirror the creative and innovative spirit of both. Applications to this program are primarily by invitation and often coincide with specific funding possibilities. Anyone who is interested in receiving more information may contact PLAND anytime after January 20.

Although humble, rugged, and not without its plentiful share of hardship, we offer you the opportunity to get in touch with the basics. Water, food, shelter, fire, weather, people, time, and space – all of these elements become the daily luxuries in which we invite you to indulge.

PLAND is a multidisciplinary organization that supports the development of experimental and research-based projects through a variety of on and off-site programs. Headquartered off-the-grid in Tres Piedras, New Mexico, PLAND is a hands-on, exploratory approach to Do-It-Yourself, alternative living.



A Literary Event Presented in Conjunction with the FotoFest Exhibition Crónicas

Magnitud/e is one of the major programs for FotoFest’s new original multi-media exhibition “Crónicas,” showcasing seven contemporary Mexican visual artists who are interpreting, rather than documenting, the violence of the Mexican drug war.

This bilingual poetry event features three acclaimed poets from Northern Mexico and two from the Houston area. The work of each of these poets creates a dialogue around the on-going violence in Mexico using a variety of techniques from appropriation to translation, from slam poetry to post-conceptual writing.

Marco Antonio Huerta (Cd. Victoria, Mexico) – Translated by John Pluecker
Lupe Méndez (Houston)
John Pluecker (Houston)
Minerva Reynosa (Monterrey, Mexico) – Translated by Stalina Villarreal
Sara Uribe (Cd. Victoria, Mexico) – Translated by John Pluecker
Magnitud/e is co-sponsored with Make.Play.Speak and John Pluecker

For more information click here.

Special support from Nuestra Palabra. This event is supported by a grant from Poets & Writers, Inc.

The Progress of Love

A Conversation with Author & IART Professor Nick Flynn

The Reenactments: A Memoir

IART professor Nick Flynn will be discussing his new book, THE REENACTMENTS—a memoir about glass flowers, memory, and the making of a movie—with David Eagleman at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston on Sunday, January 13 at 2pm.


A reception and book signing in the museum galleries follow this program.

Nick Flynn and David Eagleman, two noted authors with Houston connections, come together on the occasion of Flynn’s latest book, The Reenactments: A Memoir, the story of Flynn adapting his 2004 memoir into the film Being Flynn. In the new memoir, Flynn reflects on his experience of being on the set during filming of two central events in his life: his mother’s suicide and his father’s long run of homelessness. In a lively conversation punctuated by film clips and visual references, neuroscientist Eagleman engages his friend in reflections about the intersections of life and art.

Toni Valle

Congratulations to UH faculty member Toni Leago Valle, the new general manager of Karen Stokes Dance (KSD). Valle brings 12 years of professional experience on and off the stage to KSD. As project director of Dance Source Houston for 11 years, Valle oversaw A Weekend of Texas Contemporary Dance at Miller Outdoor Theatre, the Dance Card, the Dance Source website and the Dance Table.

VOICES BREAKING BOUNDARIES Freedmen’s Town gets its due: Vibrant past of overlooked historic neighborhood being recovered

For its latest production, arts group Voices Breaking Boundaries (VBB) is hoping to shed light on Freedmen’s Town — one of the most historically dynamic (and most historically overlooked) neighborhoods in Houston.

Read the entire article on CultureMap here.

You Can’t Stop Renu Khator

The chancellor and president of the University of Houston has had a very good year.

Read the interview in Texas Monthly this month by Jake Silverstein.