Visual Art

Texas’ Only Performance Art Festival Takes Place In Houston

The Experimental Action Festival hopes to open minds and create a sense of community through a genre that is often less understood than traditional art.

According to director Julia Wallace, Experimental Action is the only festival in the state solely dedicated to performance art.

She says it can be difficult to get funding for this genre, where the art is not an object – it’s an experience or an interaction, and the body is the medium.

“It’s about really pushing boundaries and exploring creatively the possibilities of what can happen … It’s more cutting edge. It’s less understood than traditional art forms.”

But Wallace calls Houston’s scene “vibrant” and “exciting” with a history of performance artists that include The Art Guys and Jim Pirtle.

Two years ago she co-founded Experimental Action – a biennial festival, which will once again showcase international, regional, and local performance artists side by side.

“I know our one artist from Ohio is sending me 100 balls made out of chalk to use in his performance, so we’re having fun planning for this,” said Wallace.

The 2019 festival’s Houston artists include Brittani Broussard, who will create actions within costumes, and Sarah Sudhoff, who will connect scientific instruments to her body.

“It will be measuring heat and her reaction to people. And I think it’s interesting to see that as a woman, to really map out in a very scientific way the reactions that women have to other people’s bodies and the way that people interact with them,” said Wallace of Sudhoff’s work.

Wallace hopes people will attend with curiosity and open-mindedness, and notes that the festival welcomes those who are new to the genre.

“We work very hard to create a nurturing, fun, exciting environment that’s more about growth and learning and community … It pleases me so much when an artist can create some sort of situation that changes the way that people think, for the better.”

The Experimental Action Festival runs February 21 – 23, 2019 at multiple Houston venues.

Listen to the complete interview with Julia Wallace below:

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Catherine Lu

Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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