2 MONTROSE VOICE , FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2. 1990
Montrose Activity Center sets goals for 1990
BySHERl COHEN DARBONNK
Montrose Voice Editor
Montrose Activity Center (MAC),
the umbrella organization whose
member groups include the lesbian Gay Pride Week planning
committee, the Hoaston Names
Project. Gay and Lesbian Hispanics Unidos and mosl recently.
Team Houston and the local chapter of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, set
three primary goals at theonset of
1989. Of these, said newly re-elected board president Jim Owens,
two were accomplished and one
Reflecting on the MAC board's
recent Galveston retreat and the
goals that were set for 1990 in discussions then, Owens said thai
last year's progress gives an optimistic start to this year's objectives. They are logical and somewhat cautious objectives, however; experience has taught the
board to take one step at a time. In
regards to establishing a gay and
leshian community center—the
corporation's slated ultimate goal
for the past len years—the step
planned for 1990 is crucial. Ifmel.
this step will put a physical anchor on MAC's "center" concept
for the first time in several years.
] No, it isn't likely that the center
itself will be huilt this year. In fact,
Owens said, the process of locat-
111 ti a permanent space for the center will probably not begin until
1991. But a central phone number,
post office boxes for participating
organizations and modest office
apace and meeting rooms will
probably bemade available, board
members are shooting for Lesbian
and Gay Pride Week to have these
things in place.
The hoard retreat is an annual
MAI' tradition, when board members analyze "where they've been"
and compare the organization's
standing to the goals set the previous year, Owens explained. Objectives for the coming year are also
set at that time, he said. Present
MAC board members spent the
weekend of Dec. 16-17 in Galveston for these purposes. To put the
new goals in perspective. Owens
said it was necessary to look at the
Last year, MAC set out to create
a "center without walls," Owens
said. Board members throughout
the year used these words to describe MAC's umbrella concept.
During the year, the organization
added three new affiliate groups
and began negotiations with several others.
"I think for a large part we accomplished that goal;' said Owens. "We have operated in terms of
MAI "s goals in WHtl include setting up a temporary of fires, pos! offiei hines and n cent nil phone number for member groups; expanding fund raising techniques, getting wider participation in board elect inns mid recruiting mem
hers and volunteers Hour,I members pictured are John Hill. Jack Wiii ii ski -rice president,, ,'tim th, ens 'president,.
Dehorah Hell /secretary ... Ray Hill and I. ruin keever Xut available for the picture: Annise Par her i treasurer/, doe
Watts. Honme Dial, Seal Massey. t.' Williams and Felix Garcia
creating a people base. We've created an awareness of the need to
network...this is the first step in a
process that is ongoing with all
community centers," he said.
The outreach is continuing, and
other groups have expressed an
interest in joining with MAC in
the past few months, Owens said.
I'art of MAC's appeal to community groups lies in its experience.
particularly in dealing with areas
where new organizations traditionally have some weak spots: legal, accounting, technical, temporary space requirements. MAC also has 5Q1-3C status as a non-profit, tax exempt organization under
IRS requirements. Owens, however, said the tax standing is probably less important as a benefit to
MAC member groups than the
umbrella organization's expert-
"We have i
attorney who sometimes do pro
bono work for (member groups).
Some groups have trouble with
tax filing, and we help them with
that—we help them set up their
books, or find space for a meeting.
(Members) are also able to use
MAC's 10 year history (in paperwork!," Owens said. "Sometimes
an inexperienced group will hit a
stone wall where actually a simple
meeting or phone call will take
care of the problem;' he added.
There are other member benefits, including calendar listings
and an editorial forum in MAC's
widely read monthly newsletter.
Member groups have access to the
newsletters bulk mailing rate lo
publicize their events.
The groups, in turn, are helping
MAC. The member organizations
are responsible in large pari for
MAC's being able to realize its second 1989 goal: a steady income.
For the first time this year, MAC
has succeeded in establishing a dependable "income stream" from
sources including a "give back to
MAC" fee, two percent ol gross receipts, now assessed to each member group. Board members said
the percentage was chosen because it was felt the amount would
not place an undue burden on the
members and that it was a fair pay
back for the services MAC pro-
Other income sources include
underwriters, community fund
raisers and individual contributions. The MAC newsletter, supported by individual and business
underwriters rather than advertising, is "almost" but not yet paying
for itself, which is also helping the
overall financial picture for the
group, which one bore the publication's full production costs. (Owens explained that the board decided to use a funding method other than advertising sales so the
newsletter would not be in competition with other community publications).
Last year, board members decided to begin focusing on raising
money specifically for the building fund, which is intended even
tually to pay for a home for the
center. Although the first major
fund raiser ("The Event") for the
building fund, which netted about
$."i.400. actually didn't take place
until this year, planning for it began in August of 19H9.
"The opportunity presented it-
selL.with the January (11190)
date. It was just too good an offer."
About $600 was raised for the
fund last year through a donation
from Printex Plus. Jim Crary.
Printex owner and a MAC board
member, contributed proceeds of
his annual Christmas card sales.
The building fund currently has a
balance of just over $6,000, Owens
In 1990, the main focus will shift
to the goal of a physical community center. Owens said. The interim
center will be established by the
end of this year—hopefully, by
Lesbian/Gay Pride Week 1990. he
MAC will be undertaking a "feasibility study" of community center needs, surveying groups and
individuals on what ia needed,
OwenB said. The survey will be
conducted by a board committee
and wil) probably "piggyback" a
survey being conducted by the
Pride Awards 1990 committee to
determine award recipients, he
said. The board hopes to have the
survey completed by April, and
will use the results to determine
immediate needs that will be considered in setting up the interim
Another 1990 goal i
the retreat is building an expanded core of members, supporters
and volunteers. The volunteers
are especially important because
MAC's latest demands are "exceeding the capabilities of the
board," Owens said.
The organization also plans to
open up its election process this
year to give MAC "a broader
base" of community input. Owens
said. MAC has been criticized in
the past for having a "self-perpetuating" board of directors, which
some feel puts to much control in
the hands of too few people.
"We are self-perpetuating..but
we are keenly aware of the need
for a broader base. That is what
we want." said Owens. This year,
he added, the elections, usually
held in November, will be moved
up to coincide with National Coming Out Day in October and the
election process will be "opened
up" for community wide participation.
Also, the board members hope
this year to do something about
the "failed'' goal of 1989: obtaining funding through grants.
"We really wanted to do something with grams last year. This is
the one goal 1 have to say really
failed," said Owens. The difficulty,
he said, is that so few foundations
are willing to grant money to
groups that are openly identified
with the lesbian.gay community.
and those that arc already are
heavily burdened with requests.
"In other cities there is funding
available from non traditional or
_ for v
found at a (gay and lesbian i
community center...but that's just
not happening (in Houston)," lamented Owens. "It has never happened here."
He added, however, that he believes it is easier for gay and lesbian organizations to be accepted
for such funding if they are associated with a center. "I think it's easier being part of a community center because of the networking and
cross-pollination in that setting,"
he said. "Also, the foundations
tend to be very bureaucratic...it's
easier to deal with the bureaucracy with the (center) association."
MAC will be approaching other
non-traditional funding sources,
specifically, corporations, in the
coming year, said Owens. "1 think
we have a good chance of getting
some corporate money this year.
We're getting the process started,"
MAC will propose granting organizations and corporate underwriters this spring, Owens said.
Montrose printmaker assembles graphic pieces
By SHERI COHEN DARBONNK
Monlruse Voice Editor
If you're looking lor "Peaceable Assembly" the multi-media display
that protests government censorship of the arts, it may be a little
hard to find. The exhibit is not in a
gallery, but a tine arl print making
i publishing studio on Welch
le that st
The exhibit, peaceably asserr.
bled with no federal funding what
soever (Jesse Helms, take note) will
continue through Feb. 9 at Little
Egypl enterprises, 1511 Welch,
across from the Girl Scout headquarters. It features the work of 34
visual, performance and literary
artists, including several ofthe top
names in Houston's art seem
Many of the participants created
the featured works specifically lor
this display. (liber pieces were chosen because of their content.
David F'olkman, a graduate of
the prestigious Tamarind Work
shop for musiei art printers, baa
been Houston's only master p,
maker for a number
Folkman,wboisalsoLittleEgy| ■ .
owner, is one of ihe show s curators
along with Kevin Cunnigham
Benito Huerta and MarilvnZeillin
all Hoaston artists.
Folkman said he organizes exhibitions, usually for shows that cannot
be placed elsewhere, about once a
month through his professional contacts with local artists. Because Lit
tie Egypt is a printing business and
not a gallery space, the shows are
not eligible for any type of government grant funding.
This aspect is entirely appropriate
for the current exhibit, a reaction by
the artists to 1990 guidelines for National Endowment ofthe Arts appli
Cations. The guidelines, pushed
through by Sen. Helms (R-N.C.) de
ny funding to art which "...may be
considered obscene, including, but
not limited to. depictions of sadomasochism, homoeroticism. tbe sex
ual exploitation of children, or individuals engaged in sex acts, which,
when taken as a whole, do not have
serious literary, artistic, political or
Must of the works included in the
show make direct political statements regarding censorship: some
iire created specifically to offend.
Others, such as an extremely realistic sculpture of a banana split bearing the caption, "Everything offends somebody sometime," carry
the message in a more indirect way.
One of the more interesting entries is the darkly salirieal "American Flag Burning Kit" from "Freedom of Expression Products" by
Erika Rothenberg, which jabs at
consumerism, censorship, silly and
offeiiKii i' leu isl al ion and current political trends in one hlow. The kit's
message was laken a little too literally by one viewer, however, who
"flicked" the attached Bic Lighter
and burned a corner ofthe label. The
piece created by the artist was nol
burned, according in Folkman.
Folkman's own entry, the Constitution's first amendment etched
very faintly in a plate of glass, sums
up the message succinctly Perform
ances by theater artists and writers
can he viewed on video tape. The
show, for anyone interested in art.
censorship, or current political
A catalogue with two-dimensional representations of each featured
piece is also available at Litlle
Egypt. Participating visual artists
are Eric Avery. Michael Harry. Terry
Berlkowitz. Marilyn Zeitlin. Derek
Boshier, Bob Camblin, Sue Coe,
Kevin Cunningham. Ben DeSoto,
James Drake, F'rank Fajardo,
Folkman. John Hernandez. Wes
Hicks. Ron Hoover. Benito Huerla,
Emily Jennings, MANUAL, Larry
Miller, Deborah Moore, Celia Munoz,
Erika Rothenberg. .Nestor Topchy
and Frances* Torres.
Performance artists and wnters
who participated are Rosellen
Brown. David Harvey, Richard
Howard. Lauren Johnson. Cynthia
McDonald. Thomas Melancon, Tom
Nordgren, Joel Orr, Randy Cole. Lee
Sokol, Kenny Joe Spivey and Randy
Little Egypt opened in 1973 as
Houston's only line art prim workshop. Originally located on Peden
Street, the shop has moved but
stayed in Montrose. F'ine art print
making, an art that almost died in
Ihis country in the 195G"s, was rescued by ihe Ford Foundation, which
supported the Los Angeles based
Tamarind Institute, established to
train master printers. The institute
has since been reworked into the
Tamarind Workshop ot the University of New Mexico. Folkman was
the second master printer produced
at the Tamarind.
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