Chief Program Officer / Director of Folklife + Civic EngagementPat Jasper
Pat Jasper has 30 years of experience as a public folklorist, curator and arts administrator. Since April 2010 she has served as Director of Houston Arts Alliance’s Folklife + Traditional Arts program, the only urban folklife program west of the Mississippi River. Jasper has curated a range of multi-media, multi-venue programs in her role including Sacred Songs, Sacred Sites; Remembered, Regained: Immigrant Arts of Houston; the Houston SLAB Parade + Family Festival; and Stories of a Workforce: Celebrating the Centennial of the Houston Ship Channel for which the exhibition catalogue was chosen as “one of the ten Texas books to acquire in 2014” by the Houston Chronicle.
Before joining HAA, Jasper founded and directed Texas Folklife Resources (TFR), the only nonprofit of its kind devoted solely to the promotion and preservation of Texas folk arts and folklife. There she conceived, curated and led hundreds of programs including exhibitions, performances, media programs, symposia and other educational offerings. Prior to establishing TFR in 1984, Jasper served as Folk Arts Coordinator for the Texas Commission on the Arts, a position she held from 1980 to 1984.
Since 2001, Jasper has served as lead consultant on a variety of major projects throughout Texas and the United States. Her body of work include the International Accordion Festival; Country Music From the Lone Star State, an exhibition at the Texas State History Museum; and the 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s Texas Music, Food and Wine program, on the National Mall, in Washington D.C. In 2005 she joined forces with her University of Houston colleagues to co-direct Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston, a documentation project with the Library of Congress.
In the fall of 2014 Jasper conceived, developed and directed Transported + Renewed (T+R), a three-month creative placemaking project in Houston’s East End. Utilizing the arts as a primary strategy for animating the under-resourced sector of the city, T+R presented a bold mix of grassroots and contemporary art projects in celebration of Houstonians’ fascination with all forms of transportation. The project explored such modes of transportation as tugs, ships, railroads, bicycles, art cars, trail rides and low riders to dragon boats, SLABS, food trucks and more. This project was made possible through a major National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant and in collaboration with a large group of civic and arts partners.
In the fall of 2014, Pat directed Transported + Renewed, a three-month creative placemaking project in Houston’s East End in celebration of Houstonians’ fascination with all forms of transportation. Transported + Renewed utilized the arts as a primary strategy for animating this under-resourced sector of the Houston community by presenting a bold mix of grassroots and contemporary art projects in collaboration with a large group of civic and arts partners.
Coinciding with Transported + Renewed was the major exhibition Stories of a Workforce: Celebrating the Centennial of the Houston Ship Channel at the Houston Public Library’s Julia Ideson Building. The exhibition was driven by interviews and stories collected through Pat’s Library of Congress-funded Working the Port project and explored the diverse culture, heritage and lore of work associated with the Port of Houston and the Houston Ship Channel.
Coinciding with T+R was Stories of a Workforce: Celebrating the Centennial of the Houston Ship Channel, a major exhibition at Houston Public Library’s Julia Ideson Building. This exhibition was driven by interviews and stories collected through Jasper’s earlier Library of Congress-funded Working the Port project, an exploration of the diverse culture, heritage and lore of work associated with the Port of Houston and Houston Ship Channel. Following these two projects, she would go on to oversee a second successful proposal to the NEA Our Town program for Bayou Trails, a project intended to directly activate the arts in three major Houston parks along Brays Bayou and with direct involvement of the communities residing in those areas.
Most recently, Houston Woman Magazine named her one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Houston.” In 2016 Jasper was invited to curate Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Inaugural Celebration at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, a spectacular evening showcasing the city’s diverse cultural communities and new mayor’s commitment to inclusion, opportunity and dialogue. She was appointed to Mayor Turner’s Quality of Life Transition Committee—a group charged to assess the current state of Houston’s arts, parks and neighborhoods—in 2016.
Folklife + Civic Engagement Manager
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