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Questions are hard to answer when you’re not sure what you’re looking for in terms of response.

by Ashley DeHoyos

Going into Project Freeway, our idea was to figure out what sort of creative communities exist outside of the Midtown/Inner Loop area where DiverseWorks is located. Eager to better understand the city’s cultural make-up and the areas that are often overlooked in the arts, the team decided early on to look at how the US 59 Freeway served as an entry and exit point into the city and explore the creative energy that exists beyond the central Houston area.

Up until now, Project Freeway hasn’t had any pre-determined goals or outcomes, instead it’s been about focusing on how we build relationships with artists and what types of support they may need, as well as assessing our institutional values. Instead of producing events and experiences as we have done in the past, this project has been specifically about stepping back and being present.

Working in a process mode and letting the outcomes be directed by the experience has been messy, awkward, and at times left us unsure of our direction but it’s also been informative, and created opportunities to say “Yes! that’s what we are interested in,” or “No that’s not what we are about.” At the same time, this process has created opportunities for us to build relationships with new individuals that did not know about DiverseWorks.  

Showing up and having conversations has been vital. It has allowed us to reorient our thinking and build on the philosophy that process is key, community is core, and production does not equate to just large-scale programs or events.

Ashley DeHoyos is Assistant Curator at DiverseWorks and Project Manager of Project Freeway