Close-Up on “Black Cultural Organizations in Houston” August 12, 2020

Get to know Houston’s Black cultural organizations in this virtual discussion on Saturday, August 15, at 3 p.m. It’s the final installment of the Saturday series accompanying the exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.

John Guess, from the Houston Museum of African American Culture, moderates the conversation with artist Vicki Meek, and artistic directors Eileen Morris and Harrison Guy. The panelists talk about Houston’s vibrant and influential Black arts-and-culture scene: the importance and resilience of these institutions; their birth and evolution; and especially their role in today’s social and political climate. 

Houston Museum of African American Culture
The Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) began as a mayoral mandate two decades ago. Since its 2012 opening, it has brought to the nation, in the words of John Guess, chief executive officer, “a multicultural conversation on race geared toward a common future.” HMAAC’s programs, events, and exhibitions draw on African American culture and frequently tap partner institutions from across the city and around the country.

Ensemble Theatre
Established in 1976, Houston’s landmark Ensemble Theatre began in a tiny, Midtown warehouse. Today, it is a full-fledged facility on Main Street. Under Eileen Morris, founding artistic director, Ensemble Theatre produces and directs works by Black playwrights with Black actors, and supports a pipeline for Black youth to experience acting and staging.

Urban Souls Dance Company
The mission of Urban Souls Dance Company (USDC) is to bridge the gap between life and art by promoting the importance of creativity. USDC specializes in exploring African American culture, heritage, and expression—values that Harrison Guy, founding artistic director, knew were lacking from his experiences in dance education and contemporary choreography.

Artist Vicki Meek
Over three decades, Vicki Meek has been engaged with the Black arts and culture scene in Houston, and well beyond. Now an acclaimed artist based in Dallas, Meek began her career as an emerging artist in Houston, and over the decades she has worked with and shown at a number of the city’s arts organizations, including Community Artists’ Collective and Project Row Houses.

► Learn more about the discussion and the panelists.

► Join the virtual discussion on Saturday, August 15, at 3 p.m. Before or after, experience Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at the MFAH, the final venue for the exhibition’s three-year tour. Plan ahead for your visit.

This virtual lecture series receives generous funding from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.