Houston Institute for Culture
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 Above photo by Virginia Nguyen, Urban Creative.

Houston Institute for Culture will open a gallery and community meeting center at 708 Telephone Road near Lockwood.

Two miles southeast of downtown Houston, the historic location was built in 1929. It is part of a complex of businesses and organizations located in the Tlaquepaque Market that are working to elevate cultural programs and community services in the historic East End.

We will hold an opening on October 31 in conjunction with Bohemeo's, featuring music, Aztec dancers and a traditional Mexican Day of the Dead (el dia de los muertos) altar. We will offer a gallery exhibit in partnership with Museo Guadalupe Aztlan on Friday, October 31. The exhibit opening will take place at 7:00pm and Day of the Dead activities will follow at 8:00pm in Bohemeo's.

At 7:00pm on Saturday, November 1 we will show "Darkness into Light: Following the Spirit," produced by Patricia Lacy Collins and Robert S. Cozens (San Rafael Films). The 56-minute film is narrated by actor Edward James Olmos.

"Following the Spirit," the third documentary in the Darkness into Light series, brings the story of the spiritual journey of the people of Mexico to the present time. It traces a long-standing friction between church and state that resulted, in the 19th and 20th centuries, in somber and bloody repression of religious and human rights in Mexico. Suppression of religious life became particularly bitter following the Constitution of 1917. Leading historians paint a broad canvas of multiple struggles that are little known outside of Mexico.

The historians and authors who tell this story include Drs. John Mason Hart, Guadalupe Jimenez Codinach, Manuel Ramos Medina, Raul Gonzalez Schmal, Elena Poniatowska, and John Meyer.

The irrepressible spirituality of contemporary Mexico plays against the dark years of struggle. Observances of the Days of the Dead, the revived processions of Corpus Christi, and the canonization of San Juan Diego provide memorable counterpoints.

Today, resolution of the conflict is underway. As never before, the Mexican people can choose to believe - or not believe - in matters of religion.

For Artists, Authors, Musicians and Nonprofit Organizations

The 2,300 square foot space will serve many community needs and work to promote local artists, authors and musicians. Houston Institute for Culture plans to include a bookstore and gift shop in the center that will offer books and CDs by local authors and musicians, as well as art and items with a distinctive regional appeal. Topical documentary films and books will be available in coordination with events in the center and Tlaquepaque Market.

Artists, authors and musicians should contact us about offering their creations through the gift shop or during events that will take place on the plaza. In the early stages of our bookstore, we will mostly acquire items for sale on consignment and eventually grow to keep a larger inventory. We plan to include published works by University of Texas Press, Literal-Latin American Voices, Carnivalesque Films, San Rafael Films, Smithsonian Folkways, Arhoolie Records and many more.

The bookstore and gift shop will carry books and films about local and regional history and interests, as well as international cultural and social issues. It will carry works by Houston artists and regional and international music.

We will partner with other non-profit organizations to create exhibits and offer events for the public. Organizations that are interested to hold meetings or host book signings and readings should contact us for policies and reservations. We will also organize outdoor festivals on the plaza, such as a Community Gift Giving Fair, which will provide an opportunity for members of the Houston community to support local authors and artists during the winter holidays. We will work with Bohemeo's to present the seasonal East End Cultural Arts Festival.

Student Organizations and Academic Activities

Located just one mile north of University of Houston, two miles northeast of Texas Southern University and within just a few miles of several other Houston universities, the center has great potential to help student organizations hold activities that serve their missions. We regularly collaborate with academic departments and may bring cosponsored activities into the center.

The Historic Houston East End

Located roughly between the east edge of downtown, the Port of Houston and Hobby Airport, the East End is the most historic part of Houston. It includes Magnolia Park and Second Ward. Harrisburg, a community settled over a decade before Houston, is within the East End, along Buffalo Bayou. The industrial area east of downtown has been home to many Eastern European and Latin American immigrants who came in the latter half of the nineteenth century. African Americans settled in the area following mass migrations that fled the great Mississippi River floods of 1927, bringing with them many southern and Creole traditions. They worked in the freight yards, built several historic churches in the area and constructed sections of Interstate 45 to Galveston. Asian immigrants settled in the area immediately east of Highway 59 and along Sims Bayou, operating large import warehouses, popular restaurants and religious temples. Evidence of aquaculture gardens still exists.

The East End is more than 50 percent Latino, and includes many original families and recent immigrants. The annual Cesar Chavez Parade is a traditional event held in April.

Needless to say, many of our programs will focus on the history of the East End, including oral histories of the people, presentation of traditional arts and entertainment, and examination of the impact of businesses and industries.


The Tlaquepaque Market has plentiful parking spaces for events. It is easily accessible by bus and bike. Located less than a half mile north of the Eastwood Transit Center and less than a half mile south of the future Harrisburg rail line, the center can be accessed by many bus lines, including the 40 (Pecore/Telephone) and 36 (Kempwood/Lawndale). The Magnolia Park Transit Center is one mile east and University of Houston is less than one mile southwest.

Bus information: http://www.ridemetro.org
Bike: http://www.publicworks.houstontx.gov/bikeways/maps.htm

Community Support

The new center will provide a tremendous asset to Houston and the East End, as well as area universities and artists.

As we are making significant steps forward, we need additional volunteers to support what we are doing. There are many opportunities in our programs for volunteers to take the lead on important initiatives. If you have ever wondered what the Houston Institute for Culture is up to and why we are determined to build an organization that will have tremendous beneficial impact on Houston communities, now is the best time to become an insider.

To learn more about our future plans, please attend an open house for volunteers on November 1. The open house will take place during our regular monthly program meeting at 2:00pm and everyone is invited. Please note: The meeting will take place at 708-B Telephone Road, in the new center, and not at the Harwin Drive office location.

In addition to increased support of volunteers, we also need community members to support activities in the center by spreading the word, becoming involved in planning, and supporting activities of artists and organizations in the center.

Contact us for more information about getting involved. But, most of all, please come out and see us at the openings.

Houston Institute for Culture is located at 708-B Telephone Road at Lockwood, Houston, Texas.

Our neighbors in the Tlaquepaque Market include Bohemeo's and the East End Urban Market.

Representatives for this area include: Houston City Council Member for District I, James G. Rodriguez; and Harris County Commissioner for Precinct Two, Sylvia R. Garcia.

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