The Pride Houston Art Program has officially opened its inaugural exhibit at Houston City Hall for 2019 Pride Month. Pride Houston is committed to giving back to the LGBTQIA+ community and has identified five Houston area artists, with the help of an expert panel of volunteers, to exhibit artwork at Houston City Hall which tells the story of their Pride through their respective mediums and methods of creating art. Houston City Hall is open to the public Monday-Friday from 8 AM – 5 PM.
Featured Artists include:
Justin O’Keith Higgs
Justin was born in Jefferson, Texas in 1984. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler and has received his Juris Doctor from Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 2010. His chosen medium is his own genre of Selcouth+Meraki, which fuses body art and photography. Justin paints the models he works with, who are all members of the LGBTQ+ community, in pride colors to show who we are and show that love comes in all different colors, religions, sizes and sexes. He wants to use his art to inspire others, for them to see the power and courage within themselves and say it’s okay for me to be me and live MY life.
A Texas native, Wes Holloway’s devotion to art is paralleled only by his interest in science, biology, and philosophy. However, in 2003, after one year at UT Austin, he broke his C5-C6 vertebrae in a diving accident, suffered a spinal cord injury and became paralyzed from the chest down. After a year of rehabilitation, it became apparent he would not regain use of his legs, abdomen or hands. Though his life had changed forever, it did not sway him from pursuing his goals and dedicating his life to his first passion, art. Currently, alongside his own studio practice, he teaches underserved groups in Houston in the hopes of using art as an expressive healing tool.
Abiola Wabara was born and raised in Parma, Italy by Nigerian parents. She moved to Texas to attend Baylor University on a basketball scholarship and eventually made Houston her home. Her love for art was discovered as soon as she was able to hold a pencil. She is a self taught artist, who has been creating art for over 15 years and in 2014 she was the recipient of the “Artisan Award” from the Houston Museum of African American Culture. As a ‘third culture kid’ she struggled to fit in with any one group growing up and used painting as a way to create a new story for herself, a new exit route from a reality filled with one-dimensional stereotypes.
Jieqi Ren is a Houston native who immigrated from China at the age of 11. He received his B.F.A in Fashion Design from Otis College of Art and Design. His bodies of work range from small fashion sketches to large mix media 2D drawings and paintings. His style often incorporates clean and modern designs with a monochromatic main subject. His style can be described as pop surrealism with a queer focus. Ren is a gay Asian male artist who advocates for equality and diversity through his art. Growing up in a strict Asian household, academics was always the priority and creativity was discouraged. Through art, he was able to escape and created a world of beauty and freedom. He hopes to inspire other queer Asians to discover the same freedom he was able to find through art.
Crystal Murley is a visual and sculptural artist based out of Houston. Currently an MFA candidate at Houston Baptist University, she received her BFA in painting and design from the University of Houston. She utilizes negative space, color theory, and mark making in her works. Giving back to the community is a key part of Crystal’s work ethic. The support from her LGBTQ community in following her passion has been deeply appreciated over the years and she has consistently donated original art for fundraising efforts to most charities in the LGBTQ community! Crystal also enjoys mentoring new and young artists by providing private classes to enhance and enrich their talent.
Thank you to the selection committee which consisted of:
- Eepi Chaad – Artist and Director of Community Engagement at Art League Houston
- Eric Schell – Artist and LGBTQ+ Community Organizer
- Jeanette Degollado – Artist
- Zach Gresham – Artist and Program Manager for Arts in Medicine at the MD Anderson Cancer Center
The Pride Houston Art Program is a new initiative of Pride Houston and is funded in part by the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance. Sponsors also include UP Art Studio.
About Pride Houston
Pride Houston is a 100% volunteer-run organization and is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that works to bring lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender individuals and allies together to educate the world on issues important to the LGBT community, commemorate our heritage, celebrate our culture and strive for equality.
For any questions or more information about this program please contact Radu Barbuceanu at firstname.lastname@example.org and keep up with all of our events and programs on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.