8 projects win grants from Arts Initiatives Fund

A pavilion for Hermann Park, an installation for Rice Gallery and an interactive website with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston are several of the projects that Rice faculty and staff will be pursuing during the 2014-2015 academic year with grants from the university’s Arts Initiatives Fund.

Eight proposals were chosen for funding by an external committee of reviewers from universities across the country, with input from the provost’s and president’s offices.

Caroline Levander, vice provost for interdisciplinary initiatives and digital education, said the Arts Initiatives Fund was created to stimulate experimentation and collaboration in creativity and the arts across the entire campus. The fund awards competitive grants of  $5,000 to $25,000 to Rice faculty in all disciplines to develop new projects focused on lasting art partnerships, innovative arts making or teaching environments, cross-disciplinary collaborations or unusually creative works.

The new awardees are listed below.

Maria Oden, Ann Saterbak, Matthew Wettergreen and Renata Ramos will use a multidisciplinary collaborative model in the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) to enable students in engineering, humanities, social sciences, and arts to work together to solve problems with social impact. Oden is a professor in the practice of engineering and director of the OEDK; Saterbak is professor in the practice of bioengineering education; Wettergreen is a lecturer for the OEDK; and Ramos is a lecturer of bioengineering.

A grant from the Arts Initiatives Fund will be used to develop an archival, multidisciplinary, transmedia exhibition of the history of Houston’s involvement with the development of artificial hearts, including Rice researchers’ contributions.

Jane Grande-Allen and Molly Hubbard are part of a collaborative group that will form a team of undergraduate students to create an archival, multidisciplinary, transmedia exhibition of the history of Houston’s involvement with the development of artificial hearts, including Rice researchers’ contributions, for permanent display in the BioScience Research Collaborative. Grande-Allen is a professor of bioengineering; Hubbard is university art director. Also working on this project are Kirsten Ostherr, professor of English; Matthew Wettergreen, lecturer for the OEDK; Rebeccca Richards-Kortum, the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering, professor of electrical and computer engineering and chair of the Department of Bioengineering; Debra Purtee, executive administrator for the Department of Bioengineering; Cindy Farach-Carson, the Ralph and Dorothy Looney Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Bioengineering and vice provost for translational biosciences; and Melissa Kean ’96, centennial historian.

Kirsten Ostherr will expand the Medical Media Arts Hub, an innovative online platform and media creation space where Rice undergraduates help medical professionals amplify their health messages through creative design. Ostherr is a professor of English.

Shih-Hui Chen will develop a new program that provides a unique, educational perspective on traditional Western and Chinese music to performers, composers and general audiences through the formation of music ensembles from Taiwan, lectures, forums, online educational material and music festivals. Chen is an associate professor of composition and theory at Rice’s Shepherd School of Music.

Natasha Bowdoin will bring the Sumi Ink Club, a participatory, ongoing project that sponsors group drawing events in both art-sanctioned venues and in more unconventional arenas, to Rice, along with drawing workshops open to the public and talks by artists. Bowdoin is an assistant professor in visual and dramatic arts.

Danny Samuels ’71 will oversee construction of a pavilion designed by students in the Rice Building Workshop along the western edge of Hermann Park in celebration of the park’s centennial and long relationship with Rice. Samuels is a professor in the practice of architecture.

Jesus Vassallo, Kim Davenport, Josh Fischer and Sarah Whiting will bring the Tokyo-based architectural firm Atelier Bow-Wow to Rice to lead a series of workshops in architecture and to work with students to develop an installation for Rice Gallery. Vassallo is an assistant professor of architecture; Davenport is director of Rice Gallery; Fischer is assistant curator for Rice Gallery; and Whiting is dean of the School of Architecture and the William Ward Watkin Professor of Architecture.

Ken Whitmire and David Bomford are creating an interactive website in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) that explains the science involved with the creation, analysis, restoration and authentication of art. Whitmire is associate dean of the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Kinesiology; Bomford is an adjunct lecturer in art history and director of conservation for the MFAH.


About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.