Artadia Announces The 2023 Houston Awardees

By January 26, 2024
The 2023 Houston Artadia Awardees, from left to right: Violette Bule (photo courtesy of the artist); Saúl Hernández-Vargas (photo credit Madison Lloyd); and Irene Antonia Diane Reece (photo credit Kaba Dia). Images courtesy of Artadia.

Artadia, a non-profit grantmaking organization and nationwide community of visual artists, curators, and patrons, is thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2023 Houston Artadia Awards: Violette Bule, the Horton Artadia Award Recipient, Saúl Hernández-Vargas, and Irene Antonia Diane Reece.


Since its inception in 1999, Artadia has steadfastly championed emerging talents, leaving an indelible mark on the cultural landscape. Over the past 25 years, Artadia has been a catalyst for artistic innovation, providing crucial financial support, mentorship, and recognition to countless artists who have gone on to shape the culture of contemporary art. In its 25th year, Artadia is thrilled to continue doing what it does best – providing impact that not only includes financial assistance, while also cultivating a community that values artistic expression and champions the next generation of visionaries.

The 2023 Houston Artadia Awards application was open to visual artists working in any visual media, at any stage in their career, who have been living and working within Harris county for a minimum of two years. The 2023 Houston Artadia Awards received 110 applications, with 75% of the applicants identifying as Black, Native American or Alaskan Native, Latinx, Asian, Arab, biracial or multiracial; 58% of applicants identify as women, gender nonconforming, or nonbinary; and 56% self-identify as emerging artists. The 2023 Houston Artadia Awards are supported by the John C. Eckel Foundation, Cecily Horton, the Artadia Board of Directors, Artadia Council supporters, and individual donors across the country.

Violette Bule, In Guns We Trust, 2015, photograph, 40 x 37 inches. Photograph by and courtesy of the artist.

The Awards decision was reached after an extensive two-tiered jurying process. This year’s finalists for the Awards included Keliy Anderson-Staley, Ann Johnson, and Anna Mayer, selected by Round 1 jurors Alana Hernandez, Senior Curator + CALA Alliance Curator of Latinx Art, ASU Art Museum; Anna Walker, Executive Director, Lawndale Art Center; and Adeze Wilford, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami.

“I learned so much about the rich artistic talent in Houston as a juror for the 2023 Houston Artadia Awards,” said fellow juror Hernandez. “After much deliberation with my fellow jurors, we chose a group of finalists that encompass diverse approaches toward their thoughtful, rigorous, and timely projects.”


“I’m always excited to expand my knowledge of artists working in communities beyond my own, so it was wonderful to engage with a selection of artists in Houston and gain insight into what is shaping their worldview,” shared Wilford. “There is a wide range of medium and conceptual framework represented in this selection and I am pleased Artadia is able to support artists not only in critical moments in their career but also at sites of innovation in their practice.”

All six finalists held virtual studio visits with jurors Omar Lopez-Chahoud, Independent Curator, and Anna Walker, Executive Director, Lawndale Art Center.

Saúl Hernández-Vargas, Battle of Veracruz, 2021, charcoal, flowers, and branch found in US-Mexico border towns on canvas, 38 x 60 inches. Photograph by and courtesy of the artist.

On the jurying process, Walker remarked, “Being part of the jury process for Houston’s Artadia award reaffirmed my belief in the breadth and depth of Houston’s artistic talent. There are so many artists making work worthy of recognition and support. Artadia is doing important work providing unrestricted grants, truly believing in artists and I’m humbled to be a small part of the process. My hope is that this work and investment in the Houston community acts as a catalyst for others to recognize and invest even further in the wider community of creativity happening in our city and region.”

On Reece’s Award, Walker said, “I’m excited how this award celebrates and supports Reece’s commitment to her community through a radical art practice that tells their stories with thoughtfulness and care.”

“Working with words, sounds, object-making, and performance, Hernández-Vargas’ practice transcends boundaries and I hope this award will continue to propel his artwork forward into new realms of making,” remarked Walker. On Bule’s Award, she continued, “I’m excited to see how this award will shape upcoming projects for Bule and support her multidisciplinary practice that centers personal connection and storytelling to reveal the power dynamics that shape our daily life.”

Irene Antonia Diane Reece, Grandpa Juan y Mima, 2023, inkjet print from the series Para Mi Luz. Photograph by and courtesy of the artist.

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