For the final session of Arts & Resilience, Molly Glentzer of the Houston Chronicle talked about the arts scene in Houston. Glentzer is a senior writer and critic for arts and culture.
Molly Glentzer talks Houston arts scene at Arts & Resilience
Written by: Jonathan Garris
Molly Glentzer, senior writer and critic for the arts and culture at the Houston Chronicle, spoke about the diverse Houston arts scene as part of the final installment of the Arts & Resilience Program – a series of events designed to link the arts and humanities with medicine at McGovern Medical School.
Glentzer, a staff arts critic for the Chronicle since 1998 and a journalist for 30 years, contextualized much of the Houston arts community and how much it impacts the city culturally and financially. Glentzer said she typically doesn’t speak that often, but loves reaching out to people who may not have considered all that the Houston arts scene has to offer.
“There is something for everyone, so I love helping people discover what’s out there,” Glentzer said.
The Houston arts community has continued to evolve and grow, with areas like the Museum District and the Washington Avenue Arts District welcoming countless new artists specializing in everything from dance and performing arts, to visual and literary arts. She cited statistics from the non-profit arts scene, showing that the $977.7 million industry contributes $130.4 million in local and state revenue and consists of over 29,000 full-time jobs.
Much of the growth in the arts scene has been bolstered by new and existing venues, like the Asia Society Texas Center, the Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, the Menil Collection, and the Wortham Theater Center, Glentzer said. However, venues like the Wortham Center were greatly affected by Hurricane Harvey, and the center remains closed until September.
“Harvey was the biggest story of the year for the Chronicle,” Glentzer said. The impact on the arts community was no different, with the Wortham undergoing an extensive recovery that involves reconstructing public and backstage areas, replacing mechanical and electrical systems and equipment, and other recovery efforts.
The Alley Theatre, which just saw a nearly $50 million renovation, also received severe damage from flooding during Harvey and is undergoing its own set of repairs. Glentzer noted the resiliency of the art community in Houston, by showing how various art programs and performances have since been invited to other venues across the city. An exhibit hall at the George R. Brown Convention Center has been home to a temporary venue for the Houston Grand Opera, which is calling this performance season “one of triumph over adversity.”
Art galleries also were impacted and have been under stress from competition from emerging markets across the internet, Glentzer noted. Such local venues need their local visitors and purchasers now more than ever as it isn’t important for just medical students to keep track and be invested in art, it’s important for humanity, Glentzer said.
“I think it’s an important window for people to experience, in some way and whatever art form speaks to them, and art is important to all of us,” Glentzer said.
The program is sponsored by the Dean’s Office in collaboration with the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics. For more information, visit the program’s website here.