What value can art bring to foster a happier life?
This question drives Ileana Yordan, a recent graduate of the UH Master of Arts in Arts Leadership Program, as she steps into her new role as program director for the burgeoning Zócalo Apartments Artist-in-Residency (ZAIR) program.
The program, launched earlier this summer by the Spring Branch-based Zócalo Apartments, strives to offer artists the opportunity to advance their artistic careers and provide a vibrant community for the Zócalo community. ZAIR is open to emerging and established visual artists, with one year-long residency and two six-month residencies available. Artists-in-residence will be awarded no-cost housing, and the freedom to create and display site-specific works on the Zócalo Apartments campus. While applications are accepted from artists across the country, at least one residency will be awarded to a Texas-based artist, and the artists-in-residence will be reviewed by a jury panel of local arts leaders, curators and artists.
“It’s important to have a local voice in the process,” says Yordan. “We are focused on creating a sense of place in Spring Branch, providing an environment for our residents and our community where they are surrounded by art in their everyday life.”
Her ultimate goal is to contribute to a sense of community through the visual arts. This means she and the panel of judges — which includes the Art League Houston’s Jennie Ash, art consultant Lindsay Davis, artist and curator Robert L. Hodge, graffiti artist GONZO247 and Galveston Art Center’s Dennis Nance — are looking for artists open to collaboration, exploration, interactivity and public art.
She acknowledges taking the reins at a brand new program is no small task, but credits her UH experience with preparing her to rise to the challenge.
“The M.A. in Arts Leadership Program taught me about what kind of leader I am,” she says. “[The program] was key in establishing a toolkit and gave me access to a powerful community of arts leaders in the city.”