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An Interview with Art League Houston Executive Director Glenn Weiss

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Glenn Weiss is just a few hours into his new gig as Art League Houston's executive director, and he already has somebody breathing down his neck.

Specifically, Art Attack.

"I'm excited to be in Houston," says Weiss at 11 in the morning on his first day on the job. "I'm looking forward to teaching people how to make art separate from their Facebook pages."

Weiss, a trained architect who "didn't really do much with that trade," replaces Vanessa Perez McCalla, who spent more than two years as the nonprofit's executive director.

Weiss brings heaps of arts administration experience to the circa-1948 organization that specializes in making contemporary art accessible to the public via classes and exhibitions. He's worked as an independent curator, an art consultant and a director for a contemporary arts center in Seattle.

His most recent enterprise was founding the Times Square Alliance, a public-art program that brought a more indie and experimental vibe to New York City's central gathering spot.

"I see New York as a unique thing that happened in a parallel life," says Weiss about his tenure with the Times Square Alliance that included programming sculpture installations, dance and performance art events. "Although it was a fabulous three years, my heart wasn't in it."

"I personally wanted to return to art making as a primary activity, and get back to that direct link between the artists and the community," he says.

Until October 27, when he and his visual artist wife Maria Foladori Weiss drove their Honda Element from New York to Texas, the only other time Weiss set foot in Houston was a few years ago.

During that visit, Rick Lowe, who Weiss calls "an ambassador for Houston arts," drove him around town and showed him the various happenings of the area scene, including the Lowe-founded Project Row Houses. Weiss admits Lowe was a huge influence in his decision to take the Art League job.

Welcome to Houston, Glenn. And thanks for allowing the curious/nosy media to occupy an item on your first day's to-do list.

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