ON VIEW: 06/24/2020 – 11/06/2021
Marsha Dorsey-Outlaw’s installation, Geo’d, is a collaborative, large-scale mosaic currently on view outside Townwood Community Center. So many of Houston’s historic neighborhoods are undergoing a mind blowing evolution – polarized by perceptions of inheritance-VS-seizure. The embrace of a community’s cultural gifts is what binds the roots of its people in celebration and motivation, rather than paralyzing dread.
Geo’d is a celebration of individual and collective vitality. It is a whimsical interpretation of those unassuming rocks that delight the viewer with complex cores of color bands and crystal lined cavities. The Geo’d core is a glass, kaleidoscopic offering of “the other” and the propagation of identities, and thus, ideas. The title is employed here as both a condition and self- possessed action: claiming, or even rejecting conventional space and legacy. This mosaic is offered with hope that it becomes a souvenir of the fellowship forged in its making, and an ever- evolving centerpiece for a community that will consume and interpret on its own terms.
Rethinking Your Neighborhood: A Collaborative Experience by Artist Violette Bule is an interactive public art installation located in Houston’s City Council District H at Irvington Park. It is an invitation for visitors to engage in a collective experience of constructing a shared vision for their community. Rethinking Your Neighborhood is a catalyst for unified advocacy with community leaders and elected officials—starting with the collection of information based on interviews and surveys, followed by playful interactions with the grid and sculptures, and deepening with the thoughtful understanding of the information presented, sparking creative proposals and continuing collective action towards an enriched neighborhood.
In the early planning stages of this installation – which took place just before the onset of the pandemic – Artist Violette Bule met with community members who lived directly around Irvington Park, as well as through local churches, and Avenue CDC, to discuss and identify their hopes and dreams for Irvington Park, and surrounding neighborhood. In March 2020, she also partnered with local groups to distribute an online survey which was sent out to local community stakeholders to provide feedback on the quality of the park, local amenities, and to communicate their priorities for community planning and resource allocation. The results revealed a need for more community seating and lighting in the park, as well as a need for a community library, and more public gardens and green spaces across the district.
In response to this data, the Artist created a multi-sculpture installation that aims to highlight the needs of the community while also serving as a space for the community to congregate and sit in. Visitors can also view the collected community data by scanning QR codes available throughout the installation. Data from the community meetings and surveys were also given to Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner and District H Council Member Karla Cisneros during a ribbon cutting event in Summer 2021.
Throughout the project viewing period (now through Fall 2021), the Artist Violette Bule and Art League Houston will maintain the immediate grounds around the installation and the community library. Community members are invited to sit on the furniture and engage with the library and work as they envision the future of their neighborhood. We welcome community feedback and discussion.
On the Texas Commission for the Arts Artist in Education Roster, Marsha Dorsey-Outlaw has enjoyed extended residencies at The Community Artists’ Collective and the Austin Children’s Museum. She was the first artist in residence and community liaison in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Education Department and, as Project Manager, her focus was community engagement with the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. Through the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation, she composed, promoted and facilitated programs and festivals to increase public awareness of the communities’ artists and crafts persons living in their midst and within themselves.
To augment the cancer prevention programs at UTMD Anderson Cancer Center, her Bunraku Puppeteer Troupe employed performing arts as a vehicle to educate children about the dangers of tobacco exposure. As Cultured Pearls Creative, Marsha is a certified enrichment instructor for many school districts with the Harris County Department of Education, and she is a member of Young Audiences of Houston, facilitating successful school residencies from Harris to Matagorda County. Her programs are an encyclopedic survey of world art that is aligned with TEKS objectives and flexible to support multiple disciplines. She is certified in the International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC) and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme for visual art (IB). She composed the first IB high school fine art curriculum for St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Houston, and has served as ceramics instructor at The Forum at Memorial Woods senior community since 2014.
Supported by The Periwinkle Foundation, Dorsey-Outlaw was Texas Children’s Cancer Center’s Making a Mark artist for 2006 and 2010 and adorned the hospital’s mobile, end-of-treatment bells. She amplifies her creative voice through mixed media public mosaics. With a broad range of collectors, her assemblages “celebrate and challenge ancestral motifs and motives.” Many exhibitions include A Hair Museum, Round 4 installation at Project Rowhouses, Call and Response and the pop up show, Cleo’s Simple Life at MFAH; Many SPARK Parks including Whidby, Walnut Bend, Tinsley, Wharton, Mahanay, Osborne, Piney Point and Lockhart elementary schools. Her original civic art installations include Vigango’s Stoop, the columns on Almeda Road; Redemption Song at Peggy Park; Raiment at Emancipation Park, Know All Men by These Presents at Judson Robinson, Sr. Park, and Blood Relations, on the Heights True North Art Path.