Arts / Galleries

Houston’s Photography Collective Puts Its Focus On Home — Inside the World of FLATS

More Than a Mere Exhibition, It's About Building a Community

BY Jenna Baer // 06.09.24

FLATS photography collective developed film and community relationships for its latest exhibition “Interwoven,” a collection of Houston-based photographers’ perspectives on their shared home. Named for its origins of hosting traveling photography exhibition series in artists’ homes, FLATS will fittingly showcase the work of Colby Deal, Lee Deleon, Sol Diaz-Peña, Mary Margaret Hansen, Adrienne Simmons and Briana Vargas in a community member’s residence in the historic Harwood Court complex this Friday, June 14 and Sunday, June 16.

The organization’s programming is sponsored by Fresh Arts, an artistic service-driven nonprofit, and is partially funded by the City of Houston’s Arts Alliance.

Mary Margaret Hansen's "After Breakfast Photo Shoot"
Mary Margaret Hansen’s After Breakfast Photo Shoot, circa early 1980s, is a feminist take on the concept of being a housewife. The image is a portrait of the photographer (left) with fellow photographer/collaborator Patsy Cravens.

The setting of the showcase is a testament to the interconnectedness of Houston’s creative network as Harwood Court is named for its famous Houston-bred architect Harwood Taylor, known for popularizing the modern frame house. The complex is now owned by architect and art patron Palmer Schooley, who co-chaired Fresh Arts’ 2024 Gala.

FLATS founder Jessi Bowman invited photographers from a wide range of backgrounds to participate in the exhibition to highlight different interpretations of the theme “the shared human experience.” After doing deep dives on each artist’s social media pages and considering how their pieces would complement each other, Bowman says that she and fellow photographer/curator Ryan Francisco built not just another exhibition, but a community. 

“I’m really looking forward to the connections and camaraderie that get made at these kinds of exhibitions,” Bowman notes. “We have a very diverse group of artists, including a wide age range, and seeing them meet and make connections through their art is a really fun thing to watch.”

Sol Diaz-Peña's <em>Mi Deseo No Me Deja Descansar</em> is showcased at Flats' "Interwoven."
Sol Diaz-Peña’s Mi Deseo No Me Deja Descansar is showcased at FLATS’ “Interwoven.”

While some artists presenting their work interpreted the theme of community literally, incorporating images of loved ones, others went an abstract route, taking photos of cityscapes and nature.

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“We wanted it to be a show about community, but just as community can look different we wanted that to be reflected in the show,” Bowman tells PaperCity.

For those looking to spruce up their social media presence, attendees will have the opportunity to have their portraits taken in the complex’s courtyard by photographers from Studio D-18 on Friday, June 14. Congregants who make their pilgrimage to see “Interwoven” on Sunday, June 16 can participate in Art Mass, a reflective experience involving meditation, conversations with the artists and communal crafting. 

FLATS’ “Interwoven” will be on view this Friday, June 14 from 6 to 10 pm; and Sunday, June 16 from 1 to 3 pm at Harwood Court (3262 W. Main Street). Click here to RSVP.

Additional reporting from Catherine D. Anspon.

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