FotoFest's purpose is to promote the exchange of art and ideas through international programs and the presentation of photographic art. Our programs work globally and locally, bringing together an international vision of art and cross-cultural exchange with a commitment to community involvement and the enrichment of Houston's cultural resources.
>> Recent Exhibition and Events
FotoFest Biennial Exhibitions
In 1986, FotoFest created the first international Biennial of Photography and Photo-related Art in the United States. After visits to the Rencontres Photographiques d’Arles, the oldest European photography festival, and the Mois de l a Photo in Paris, FotoFest co-founders Frederick Baldwin, Wendy Watriss, and German gallery owner Petra Benteler organized FotoFest with a mission emphasizing discovery, internationalism, Commitment to presenting museum-quality work, social ideas, and global/local perspectives. The Biennial fosters creative energy, new opportunities for artists, new audiences for photo-related art and broader visibility for Houston’s cultural resources.
Thirty exhibitions of photographic art were curated and commissioned for the first Biennial in Houston, Texas. FotoFest has presented fourteen consecutive Biennials, every two years since that time.
>> Most Recent Biennial - FotoFest 2012 Biennial: Contemporary Russian Photography
>> Archive of Past Biennials: 1986-2010
Biennial exhibitions curated by FotoFest generally follow the theme and focus of each Biennial. In addition to FotoFest’s own exhibitions, 120-130 art and civic organizations, Participating Spaces, organize and present their own exhibitions for the Biennial. For each Biennial, FotoFest publishes a four-color Catalogue, with hundreds of images from Biennial exhibitions and essays by important curators and historians.
>> List of Participating Organizations presenting exhibitions during the Biennial
In 1999, FotoFest moved into the historic Vine Street Studios warehouse near downtown Houston. The new headquarters space and gallery made it possible for FotoFest to initiate full-time, year-round exhibition and art programs alongside its full-time in-school education program, Literacy Through Photography.
FotoFest curates and commissions five to six exhibitions between Biennials at its Vine Street gallery and other downtown Houston spaces such as Allen Center (with arts Brookfield), Houston's Historic Market Square. FotoFest presents exhibitions in collaboration with other Houston arts organizations such as the Houston Center for Photography and Project Row Houses. FotoFest also participates in the Houston Fine Arts Fair (2011 and 2012) and the Texas Contemporary Art Fair (2011 and 2012).
Like FotoFest's Biennial programs, FotoFest's Inter-Biennial exhibitions are showcases for high-quality international artists and important global issues. FotoFest's Inter-Biennial exhibitions have focused on contemporary Central and Northern European artists, award-winning photojournalism, historic Latin American archives, young Texas artists, international discoveries, the global response to 9/11, the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo, artworks inspired by online social media networks and blues musicians, among others. There are two exhibition series with the Inter-biennial programs – Talent in Texas for Texas-based artists and curators and International Discoveries for outstanding artists discovered by FotoFest curators at photo venues outside Houston and around the world.
>> The FotoFest Calendar lists current and upcoming exhibitions.
>> Recent Exhibition and Events
>> FotoFest Exhibition Submission Guidelines
As part of its exhibition programs, FotoFest commissions new works by well-known artists and new curatorial projects. Commissions began with the founding of FotoFest.
>> FotoFest Commissions 1985-2012