Front and Center

By Sally Horrigan

We’ve done it and it works. The miracle of turning a convenience store into an art cen­ter took two months. HCP’s home is remodeled, furnished and func­tioning.

During the massive push for completion by deadline, we be­came indebted to many who donated their time, money and materials. We thank you: Wei-i Chiu and Tom Philbrook for over­seeing the conversion; Gerald Moorhead and Amanda Whitaker for designing the space; Domini­que de Menil for donating ma­terials, equipment and tabor; Ralph Ellis and Susan Kmentz for overseeing the Menil work; and Paul Koster, Al Santamaría, and Ruth McKee for donating their services.

One of the last touches was the installation of the HCP sign above the entry. Just hours after it went up, a horde of 600 photographers, collectors, friends, neighbors, children and curious observers entered the Center for our opening celebration September 9. That's quite a crowd compared to our in­itial gathering in 1981 when 30 of us met at the ParadiseBar and Grill. We gained that many new members this September alone. Now we number 270.

We're always curious about how people hear about us. Often we find it's something similar to the experience Anne and Jules Bohnn had when they stopped for dinner after the opening. Their waiter questioned them about the HCP buttons they were wearing. He became so interested that he final­ly sat down at their table to get every last detail. Word of mouth together with some terrific news coverage, three issues of Image, our quarterly publication, and our continuing lectures, workshops and classes serve to bring inter­ested persons through our doors.

Photography instructors from all over the city are bringing their classes to see the exhibits. Mem­bers of special interest photogra­phy clubs drop in frequently.

George Krause and Peter Brown both brought their classes from the U of H and Rice to hear Betty Hahn's lecture. "Detective Photog­raphy." We are indeed reaching the community, and that will al­ways be one of our primary goals.

This fall we are offering classes in addition to our regular work­shops. Particularly exciting is George Krause s "Houston: People and Places,” a course in which he hopes to have a group of intermediate students join him in an effort to thoughfully explore improving the quality of work being done on the subject of Houston. The class continues through mid-April and will be followed by a show of their work. Doe Doherty is now completing a course for novice photographers.

Also new this fall are the Member’s Critiques, organized by Dallas Hardcastle, who is determined to bring about in-depth discussion of member’ work in progress. On the third Thursday evening of each month members meet to get tough, friendly suggestions.

The work of the three documentary fellowships awarded this year featured in this issue of Image, and was exhibited in the HCP Main Gallery in October. In April 1984, we will again award three $1000 fellowships. There will be no special category this year and the competition is open to any photographer living in the Hous­ton area.

Ambitious ideas and plans seem to be a pattern with The HCP. We want to co-sponsor activities with other organizations to bring in big-name photographers. We would like to have an issue of Im­age in color. Sooner rather than later, we would like to have darkroom space.

There are many fine exhibits to be had for the renting. To accom­plish these and other projects we are looking for individuals, cor­porations, and foundations to help. Would you like to help underwrite an exhibit by Paul Caponigro, a workshop with Jerry Uelsmann, an issue of Image, a lecture by John Szarkowski? Call. Let's discuss your interest.

We've already begun to tap our own resources to accomplish some of these goals. Infectious volunteer energy within the HCP continues to provide the push for almost all of what we set out to do. With the fund drive now in progress, under the direction of Muffy McLanaham we are looking within our membership and to the community for greater contributions. Our goal is $180,000 to help cover ex­penses for the next three years. Already over $70,000 has been pledged and nearly $30,000 has been collected. As Image goes to press several corporations and foundations have indicated their interest in contributing to the goals of the HCP. We arc optimistic that their interest will turn into a pledged reality soon.

Grant proposals have been sent to the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, The Texas Commission on the Arts, and the National En­dowment for the Arts.

We are off to a grand start. Come and visit us.