The program—which was announced in a Jan. 3 news release but began in mid-December—is designed to support artists by allowing the museum to expand its existing artist-in-residency program known as CAMHLAB, which supports artists across a variety of formats in their quests to bring new projects to the public.
“This is an opportunity for artists to move not just beyond the walls of the museum, but to directly share their creative process with the public," CAMH Executive Director Hesse McGraw said in a statement.
Four artists have been selected for the first iteration of the program, according to the Jan. 3 release.
- Eepi Chaad: Chaad’s project, Soft Space, was the first to go on display in mid-December. The installation celebrates the soft surfaces associated with homes, according to a description provided by CAMH. Visitors can engage and also take part in the process of creating a transformed space out of the textile squares, such as handkerchiefs, bandanas, scarfs, afghans, throws and security blankets.
- Two Star Symphony: The artist collective Two Star Symphony will take over the space in February and March, creating new performance and sound works. The group will offer regular open studio hours to make the process more visible, according to CAMH. Plans include a collaboration with puppeteer Afsaneh Aayani and the composition of new scores to short films from the collection of avant-garde films "Unseen Cinema."
- Frame Dance: Frame Dance will present a project titled "The Family Mantra" from March 30 through May 15, described as "a performance that explores generational psychological shifts in the Houston community." The group will host family dance parties with the goal of bonding and creative expression, according to CAMH. The Frame Dance MultiGen Ensemble—an all-ages and all-abilities group—will also use the space as well as its professional dance company.
- Dana Caldera: Caldera's project, titled "From Paper to Fabric," will expand on the artist's layered, collage-based artwork by removing the constraints of a traditional stretched canvas and exploring the intersection of quilt and collage, according to CAMH. The residence will involve a community sewing circle event, which aims to offer a place for community as well as organizing for political or social causes. Caldera will occupy the space in June.
Montrose Collective is being developed by Radom Capital. In addition to the 25 artists, the site will also house office tenants and the Freed-Montrose Neighborhood Library. The CAMHLAB gallery is free to the public, said Steve Radom, managing principal of Radom Capital, in a statement.
CAMHLAB was launched in fall 2020 to help Houston artists stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic by finding ways to safely connect them with audiences.
“We are living through wild times, and the world is a strange place these days," Chaad said in a statement. "CAMHLAB is making space for artists to process and interpret. Each residency is like a capsule of a moment during an extraordinary period of acceleration in the human timeline.”