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CAMHLAB at Freedmen’s Town

HFTC x CAMH is seeking artists-in-residence for the 2023 iteration of CAMHLAB at Freedmen’s Town, a neighborhood established in 1865 by over 1,000 formerly enslaved people that is now recognized as Houston’s first Heritage District. Described as “the crown jewel of the Emancipation Trail,” Freedmen’s Town Heritage District is a primary Black cultural landmark that includes seven sites recognized by the UNESCO Routes of Enslaved Peoples project.

For this context-specific iteration of CAMHLAB at Freedmen’s Town, artists will be selected for projects that highlight, honor, and animate the critical histories and stories of Freedmen’s Town in collaboration with Houston Freedmen’s Town Conservancy (HFTC).

The purpose of the place-based artistic activations is three-fold:

  1. To share the story of emancipation in a way that is contemporary, relevant, and impactful in a large metropolitan city;
  2. To signal Freedmen’s Town’s intent to serve as a leading artistic and spiritually significant storytelling center for Black art and artists in the Southern U.S., and to amplify Black voices within Freedmen’s Town; and
  3. To support the regeneration of the Freedmen’s Town community through workshops and skill shares that promote healing. Further, the invited slate of artists will highlight the extraordinary cultural resource of artists living and working in Houston.

In line with HFTC’s goals, CAMHLAB at Freedmen’s Town aims to generate research, contextualize, and connect artists and the general public to the stories of Freedmen’s Town through month-long residencies over the months of April, May, June, July, August, September, and October. Each residency will culminate in a public presentation of a project within Freedmen’s Town.

Selected artists will receive an honorarium of $1,500 for the duration of their residency month. The honorarium includes and covers full participation in all aspects of the residency, including participation in public programming, culmination performance, and/or residency activities/activations, workshops, supplies, participating collaborator fees, etc. Additional funding towards the residency above the honorarium is at the discretion and responsibility of the artists-in-residence. CAMH will also provide support in documentation of the residency (e.g., process, artwork, events), press release and social media promotion, a feature on CAMH’s website and newsletters, public programs support, etc.

Artists-in-residence will be provided a dedicated work space and will be supported by the HFTC x CAMH Project Manager, HFTC x CAMH Engagement Manager, and Public Programs and CAMHLAB Manager to realize their projects and make connections throughout the neighborhood. Artists are also encouraged to use other methods of engagement to introduce themselves to both the HFTC and CAMH’s audiences, including Instagram takeovers, meetings with Teen Council, Freedmen’s Town Community Town Hall. Throughout each residency, artists will work alongside historians, archivists, and urban planners to create activations that contribute to robust discussions around local issues of social justice, equity, land, and art. A Freedmen’s Town Research Fellow will also connect each artist to the resources they need to create their work.

The residencies will commence in April 2023, and proceed on a monthly basis throughout the project. If selected, each resident is required to attend a Freedmen’s Town History Tour led by HFTC x CAMH Engagement Manager.


Both the CAMHLAB hubs for community support and public programs locations are located within the historic Freedmen’s Town community. Applicants are asked to consider nearby neighbors, schools, and churches when submitting project proposals.

CAMHLAB at Freedmen’s Town Hub and Support
POST (formerly Barbara Davis Post Office)

CAMHLAB at Freedmen’s Town Community Support
Freedmen’s Town Association

CAMHLAB at Freedmen’s Town Community Programming and Engagement
Bethel Church Historic Site, Wylie Park, Carnegie Vanguard High School Amphitheatre, Carnegie Vanguard High School Gymnasium, Freedmen’s Town Association, and Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church Labyrinth

Further details on studio spaces and location logistics are coming soon. Please check back on this page later, or sign up for the CAMHLAB at Freedmen’s Town FAQ Call taking place on Wednesday, February 1 at 12PM.

Applicant and Project Eligibility

This opportunity is open to Black Houston-area artists. Applicants must be ages 18+.

Applicants should submit innovative project proposals that center regeneration and healing for Freedmen’s Town legacy residents living in the community.

Questions to consider:

  • How will your residency impact the Freedmen’s Town Community?
  • How can your project engage with the Rebirth in Action Research Fellows to connect your project to the historic legacy of Freedmen’s Town?
  • How can your project equip Freedmen’s Town legacy residents through workshops and skillshares that can be sustained in the community after the completion of your residency?

CAMHLAB artists-in-residence are asked to commit 8 hours onsite between Thursday—Sunday. This can include the time for community engagement programs. Applicants should note any schedule restrictions or flexibility they may have.

Read the full prospectus and FAQ:

Submission Deadline

Submissions will open on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. The deadline to submit all applications is Saturday, February 25, 2023 at 11:59PM CST. Late applications will not be accepted. Selected artists will be contacted from March 6–10, 2023.

For any inquiries about CAMHLAB at Freedmen’s Town, please contact YET Torres, CAMHLAB Manager, or Mich Stevenson, HFTC x CAMH Project Manager, by Wednesday, February 22, 2023.


HFTC x CAMH is a partnership between Houston Freedmen’s Town Conservancy (HFTC) and Contemporary Arts Museum and Houston (CAMH) promoting Houston Freedmen’s Town as a monument of Black community, agency, and heritage. Freedmen’s Town, a neighborhood established in 1865 by over 1,000 formerly enslaved people is now recognized as Houston’s first Heritage District. The two organizations have partnered to create artistic activations through artist residency programs, research fellowships, and exhibitions with the mission to share and honor the story of Houston’s Fourth Ward and to establish creative opportunities informed by its legacy and community stakeholders.

In 2023, HFTC x CAMH announced their partnership with with the City of Houston (COH) and artist Theaster Gates to promote Houston Freedmen’s Town as a monument of Black community, agency, and heritage through the multi-year Rebirth in Action: Telling the Story of Freedom initiative supported by the Mellon Foundation and NEA Our Town grant. The project’s first phase includes community engagement and artist-led activations through a continuation of CAMH’s artist residency program, CAMHLAB.

For more information on HFTC x CAMH, visit CAMH.ORG/HFTC.

About Houston Freedmen’s Town Conservancy

The Houston Freedmen’s Town Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that protects and preserves the history of Freedmen’s Town for the benefit of future generations. The conservancy supports community engagement, re-education, and heritage tourism while preserving the historic legacy of Freedmen’s Town, inspiring all through education and awareness of its unique story.

About Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Established in 1948, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH) is one of the oldest non-collecting contemporary art museums in the country and is internationally known for presenting pivotal and landmark work by artists recognized as the most important of the 20th and 21st centuries. CAMH’s mandate is to be present, to connect artists and audiences through the urgent issues of our time, and to adventurously promote the catalytic possibilities of contemporary art. CAMH’s programming in and beyond the Museum is presented free to the public and advocates for artists’ essential role and impact in society.