Texas Strong! Houston Art Project

UPDATE: The online auction has been relaunched and is live until October 20, 2017 at 11:59 pm. Visit http://www.32auctions.com/houstonreclamation

On September 12, 2017, Reclamation Artist Armando Heredia traveled by car from Buckeye, Arizona (Phoenix Metro) to Houston, Texas. The goal was to create artwork from flood debris in the aftermath of hurricane Harvey and auction it online at an upcycle marketplace called Kuttlefish.com. This is a journal style blog of Armando’s social media posts on Facebook and Instagram.

The Gofundme was a great help. Russ Cripps and Acacia Church in Baton Rouge (we helped raise funds in 2016 when their town flooded) were very generous. Mark Segraves and Encounter Church were also amazingly generous. A friend from Kentucky named Mike Stansberry donated through the Gofundme, as well. All of these funds, plus the two days of paid time off I got from work were enough to get me there and back.

At this point, I had made contact with my pastor in Gilbert, AZ who had a former student that was pastoring in the Houston area. Joseph Rios was very excited to collaborate on the project. The church he pastors is mobile, so they didn’t have a building I could stay/work in for the week. It just happened that the day we were on the phone a friend of his was there and told him his church could host me, probably. Well, I’ve gone on less than that before, so I packed up and headed to Houston without a clear picture of where I was going.

Turned out that the Ashford Community Church was a great host. They had converted several rooms in their building into a staging area for volunteers and supplies. Pastor John Parks was very gracious and gave me a key to the building so I could come and go at my own pace.

This was the first neighborhood I visited and collected debris from. One of the young ladies who worked at the church lived in one of these apartments. There is always such an emotional impact when you visit the scene of a tragedy and view first hand the devastation that people are facing.

Generations Church, pastored by Joseph Rios, was my Houston partner. Joseph will be coordinating the distribution of the drywall we will be purchasing. These young people were very passionate!

This was a great experience and gave us some exposure in the Phoenix Metro. The on-air story was longer than the piece they posted at ABC15.com and on YouTube, so I’m glad my friend Mark Segraves was able to record the article on his phone and post it to Facebook!

I was really surprised and disappointed that none of the work sold on the online auction. I laid awake that night trying to figure out what we could have done differently. In all honesty, it was a bit disheartening, but as with any project, if it doesn’t work, figure out why and make changes. If you can’t figure out why one plan didn’t work, scrap that plan and make a new plan. So, that’s I decided to do. One of the things I am working on is getting the pieces in front of people physically. Also, being very specific about the goal of the project. I’ll be showing the works at the Phoenix First Friday on October 5, 2017.

When my friend saw “A Link to the Past” she said it should auction for “at least a grand”. I told her it didn’t auction, and it was available for the original minimum bid of $200. She bought it and saved $800! So, we need to sell at least one more piece to be able to get the bulk rate of $6.87 per sheet.

This is the current status as of Saturday, Sept. 30, we have six pieces still available for purchase. If we are able to sell all seven pieces from this collection, we will raise $1,400 ad be able to purchase 203 sheets of drywall. That’s nearly 6,500 square feet of drywall! So, if you are a Texan, a fan of Texas or know someone who loves western art, visit http://kuttlefish.com/art_forage and purchase some reclaimed art and help folks in Houston reclaim their homes.

-Armando

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