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FotoFest 2004 - Water

February 24, 2004

For Immediate Release
For Information and Visuals Contact:

Vinod Hopson
Press Coordinator
Tel (713) 223-5522 ext.26
Fax (713) 223-4411

Marta Sanchez Philippe
International Press Coordinator
Tel (713) 223-5522 ext. 16
For French and Spanish Inquiries

FotoFest 2004 – Water

Celebrating Water - Looking At The Global Crisis
Art, Science, and Public Policy

March 12, 2004 – April 12, 2004
The Twentieth Anniversary Biennial
Houston, Texas

HOUSTON, TEXAS (February 24, 2004) – FotoFest 2004 will explore one of the world’s most important and least understood issues – WATER.

In addition to its exhibitions and installations, FotoFest 2004 is featuring a Global Forum on Water and a Film & Video Series on Water. The 2004 Tenth International Biennial of Photography and Photo-Related Arts, takes place in over 120 venues, Friday March 12 - Monday April 12, 2004 in Houston, Texas.

Throughout history and across cultures, Water has been a stimulus for creative and spiritual expression. Water is also an endangered resource. To provoke new thinking about the state of Water in the world and projections for the future, FotoFest is making WATER the focus of the 2004 Biennial and four major new programs for 2004: The Global Forum on Water on The State of Water in the World, Re-visioning Water, and Designing Cities for a Sustainable Future, co-sponsored with Rice University, April 1-4, 2004; the Film and Video Series with 16 media arts events and 8 collaborating media arts organizations; FotoFest Exhibitions and Art Installations, 29 photography and multi-media shows on Water curated and commissioned by FotoFest; Student Projects on Water, a new school-based curriculum giving students hands-on experience with the properties of water.

In addition to FotoFest’s water programs, there are 97 independent exhibitions and events presented by 89 participating organizations.

The international Biennial is a citywide event. It is the oldest, continuously operating international photographic arts event of its kind in the United States. It creates a platform for the intersection of art and social issues. It is known for its discovery and presentation of important artistic talent. The Biennial is considered a leader in its field today.

The Headquarters for the 2004 Biennial is FotoFest’s downtown gallery and office at 1113 Vine Street. From March 12-25, 2004, FotoFest has a second headquarters at The Warwick Hotel, the principal hotel for FotoFest 2004 and the International Meeting Place.

Many of FotoFest’s exhibitions are accessible from Houston’s new light rail line on Main Street. FotoFest publishes a free citywide Event and Exhibit Guide with a Calendar of Exhibit Openings and Other Events and a four-color Biennial Catalogue.

On March 12, 2004, FotoFest 2004 opens the Tenth Biennial with a Downtown celebration along Houston’s Main Street and the city’s new light rail line. With photography exhibitions in building surrounding the city’s new fountains on Main Street Square, FotoFest’s 2004 Opening includes public exhibit openings, music, performances, and projections. European Photography Magazine, one of the world's most prestigious creative photography publications, is devoting its 75th issue to the subject of Water in conjunction with FotoFest 2004.

From China’s Three Gorges Dam to the mudflats of Bangladesh, the golf resorts of Nevada, Iguazú Falls in Brazil and sacred Water sites in Haiti, FotoFest’s own exhibits are designed to show the multiplicity of ways that Water intersects our lives. A multi-media exhibit from Germany shows the hidden shapes of Water and movements normally invisible to the human eye. Water in the West traces decades of landscape transformation in the arid U.S. West from Chicago to Los Angeles.

To highlight Houston’s own Water system, FotoFest is collaborating with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) and the Buffalo Bayou ArtPark to sponsor a landscape installation at Buffalo Bayou by German sculptor-photographer Nils Udo at Allen’s Landing. In early April 2004 FotoFest and BBP are collaborating on a workshop with acclaimed German urban designer Herbert Dreiseitl. A specialist in urban water design, Dreiseitl will meet with Houstonians concerning the transformation of the Northside Sewage Treatment Plant into an environmental park on Buffalo Bayou.

29 of FotoFest’s 30 exhibitions will be dedicated to Water. Ninteen other museums, galleries, and arts spaces in Houston are sponsoring water-related exhibits.

A separate press release featuring full descriptions of FotoFest-sponsored exhibitions is available as well as a list of all participating spaces and shows. A list of Participating Spaces is also available on the FotoFest website,


The four-day forum, co-sponsored with Rice University’s Environmental & Energy Systems Institute and Shell Center for Sustainability, and the Center for the Study of Environment and Society at Rice University, brings together experts in science, technology, philosophy, urban design, public policy and art to look at the state of Water in the world today and projections for the future. The purpose of the forum is to disseminate new information and ideas about the nature of Water and its role in our lives. The Forum also focuses on what Water itself needs to perform its life-giving functions on earth.

The forum opens with a keynote address on Designing for a Sustainable Future by renowned architect William McDonough, Thursday evening, April 1, at 7pm at The Menil Collection. Friday and Saturday sessions, April 2-3, on science, public policy, water, economics, the oceans, ethics, and the re-visioning Water take place 9am- 4pm at Rice University, Duncan Hall. Houston and Texas are the focus of Saturday afternoon’s session on Water in Texas and Texas “Water Wars,” The closing event is Sunday afternoon, April 5, at The Rothko Chapel.

The Global Forum will be preceded February 10 – March 23 by four seminars on Regional Water Issues sponsored by Rice in conjunction with FotoFest 2004. A separate press release is available with a more detailed description of the events and participants. Information on the FotoFest Web site is available at and on the Rice University Web site at

FEBRUARY 29 – APRIL 16, 2004

FotoFest is presenting, for the first time, a comprehensive and diverse film and video series paralleling the scope of the exhibitions and installations. The six-week series, from late February through mid-April, is being done in collaboration with 8 well-known, Houston non-profit and commercial media arts organizations that are programming work especially for the 2004 Biennial.

Collaborating media arts organizations are Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Angelika Film Center, Aurora Picture Show, KUHT - Houston PBS, Microcinema International, Rice University Media Center, Southwest Alternate Media Project, and Voices Breaking Boundaries. Screenings include classical films, experimental videos, and political documentaries.

A detailed press release is available on the FotoFest 2004 Film and Video program. Information on the Film and Video program and links to partnering organizations are available on the FotoFest Web site at


March 12 - 25, 2004, The Warwick Hotel

FotoFest’s popular and internationally acclaimed Meeting Place takes place first two weeks of the 2004 Biennial. Over 450 U.S. and international artists and curators converge on The Warwick Hotel to show and review artist portfolios. It is the place where many artists make their careers.

The Meeting Place remains the largest program of its kind in the world. For the Meeting Place, FotoFest brings art professionals and collectors from museums, publishing houses, galleries, and photography events across the world to Houston to view the work of artists.

The Meeting Place is accompanied by the fifth Discoveries of the Meeting Place exhibit highlighting 10 outstanding Meeting Place participants from FotoFest 2002: Sian Bonnell (U.K., selected by Clint Willour), Vincent Cianni (U.S., selected by Barbara Tannenbaum), Brian Finke (U.S., selected by Vaclav Macek), Bill Jorden (U.S., selected by Joaquim Paiva), Thomas Kellner (Germany, selected by Melissa Harris), Elaine Ling (Canada, selected by Frank Gimpaya), Boris Missirkov and Georgi Bogdanov (Bulgaria, selected by Stephen Bulger), Leo Nash (U.S., selected by Kate Menconeri), Simon Norfolk (U.K., selected by Manfred Zollner), and Dominic Rouse (U.K., selected by Gary Hesse).

March 16, 2004, The Warwick Hotel

FotoFest’s Fine Print Auction takes place Tuesday, March 16, 2004 at The Warwick Hotel in Houston’s Museum District. Sotheby’s Vice President of Photography, Denise Bethel, will be auctioneer.

The FotoFest Auction is known for providing a rare opportunity to acquire important work from artists around the world. Over 100 works of contemporary US and international artists are available to collectors. The preview Auction exhibition takes place from March 3 – 15 at Gremillion Gallery. Please consult the FotoFest Web site,, for more information.

March 12- 21, The Warwick Hotel

One of the most respected and successful photography book distributors in the U.S. comes to Houston from Santa Fe to set up shop at The Warwick Hotel for the first nine days of the Meeting Place. Photo-Eye Bookstore provides access to many rare and new photography books unavailable anywhere else. FotoFest and exhibiting artists also have books for sale here. See the Photo-Eye Web site at

March 16 and 21, The Warwick Hotel

During the Meeting Place, FotoFest is sponsoring two one-day Artist Workshops with well-known photographic art consultant Mary Virginia Swanson and a panel of photographic art experts. The workshops focus on career planning for artists, Web site design, presentation and promotion of work, audience outreach, current changes in the photographic art marketplace, and international opportunities for artists. The workshops are repeated. Information on the Artist Workshops is available on the FotoFest Web site at

March 5, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

A talk on the renowned Manfred Heiting photography collection, being acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), by Anne Wilkes Tucker, MFAH Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography, 6pm at the MFAH, Brown Auditorium.


FotoFest’s Literacy Through Photography (LTP) program is a school-based program that uses photography to strengthen classroom learning and writing. FotoFest trains teachers and provides cameras to students with a 27-lesson curriculum on photography and writing. As part of FotoFest’s initiative to increase public understanding about Water, FotoFest has developed a new classroom curriculum on Water with the Artist Boat and has distributed it to 100 schools in 11 Houston area school districts.

The students at these schools are using the water curriculum to do experiments and experience first-hand the properties of water and the role it plays in our lives. Public displays of student work will take place at the Harris County Department of Education March 19 – April 8, 2004 and at Minute Maid Park, the Houston Astros baseball stadium later in the spring.

For the past 12 years, the LTP program has reached over a thousand students a year in Houston-area public schools as well as four other Texas cities and counties, Denver, CO, Asheville, NC, and Oklahoma City, OK.

For more information on the Water curriculum and student projects, call 713/ 223-5522 ext. 11 or email Information on the LTP program is available on the FotoFest web site at

SPONSORS - FOTOFEST 2004 (as of January 28, 2004)

Major institutional sponsors for FotoFest 2004 are Houston Endowment, Inc; Nan T. McEvoy Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; GoBase2-Manzanita Alliance; Axiom Design, Houston; The Brown Foundation Inc., Houston; William Stamps Farish Fund; Trust for Mutual Understanding; City of Houston and Texas Commission for the Arts through the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County; Continental Airlines; The Warwick Hotel; Texas Commission on the Arts; The Bruni Smothers Foundation; The Wortham Foundation; H-E-B Grocery; The Houston Chronicle; Margaret Regan and Fletcher Thorne-Thomsen, Jr, Vine Street Studios

Continental Airlines is the official airline of FotoFest and FotoFest 2004

Additional institutional support has come from KUHF 88.7FM; the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S.; PaperCity Magazine; The George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation; The Clayton Fund; Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation; Cultural Services of the French Consulate in Houston; Arts Houston Magazine; British Art Council; George Mitchell Interests; The Oshman Foundation; Joan and Stanford Alexander Foundation; The Samuels Foundation of The Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community of Houston; Buffalo Bayou ArtPark; Buffalo Bayou Partnership, The Greentree Fund; Rice University Department of Visual Arts and Abrams, Scott & Bickley LLP

Special in-kind support has come from Rice University; Hines - Williams Tower Gallery; Weingarten Realty; McCord Development – One City Centre; Century Development – Reliant Energy Plaza at 1000 Main; Crescent Real Estate Equities - One Houston Center; TrizecHahn – One and Three Allen Center and Continental One; Heritage Hall at the JPMorgan Chase Building; Denise Bethel, Sotheby’s; MindOH! Design; Downtown Management District; Sicardi Gallery; The Wealth Group - Erie City Ironworks; Project Row Houses; Houston Community College, Central Art Department; Gremillion & Co. Fine Art Inc.; New World Museum - Armando Palacios and Cinda Ward; The Station – James and Ann Harithas; Aurora Picture Show; Microcinema International; Southwest Alternate Media Project; Voices Breaking Boundaries; Lawndale Art Center; DiverseWorks Art Space; Angelika Film Center; KUHT-PBS Channel 8; The Artery

A list of FotoFest institutional funders is available and listed on the FotoFest Web site,

For more information on FotoFest 2004 Biennial programming, 2004 visuals, and forthcoming FotoFest publications, please contact Mr. Vinod Hopson, Press Coordinator at 713/ 223-5522 ext 26 or

FotoFest, 1113 Vine Street, Houston, Texas 77002