Visual Arts

Michael Peranteau Chats About His New Art League Gig

Though Michael Peranteau was bummed to leave Project Row Houses, he already feels at home at his new gig as Art League Houston executive director.

"Yeah, it was really hard to leave there," Peranteau tells Art Attack by phone. "I live four blocks away. It was really like a family, but I've been over here for four days and it already feels like a family.

"The four women that held this place together for the last three and a half months have done an amazing job," says Peranteau, referring to the captain-less ship left by former executive director Glenn Weiss. "It's a tight and really smart group. It feels good."

Peranteau's hiring, determined by the non-profit's board of directors, seems like a good fit. The arts advocate, like Art League itself, has had a long history in Houston.

Peranteau has been getting his hands into the local art scene for more than 30 years, most notably with the Center for Art and Performance, DiverseWorks Art Space and Project Row Houses, where, as interim executive director, he helped record all of the living musicians that had performed at the Eldorado Ballroom. Peranteau later became development director, a position he held down until he accepted the Art League job.

About Art League, which has pulled off 7,000 exhibitions and schooled 35,000 students since its inception in 1948, Peranteau says, "I always thought of this place as a little gem in the middle of Montrose with 34,000 cars driving by every day, but where does it fit? There's DiverseWorks, Lawndale and all of the other places. Where do we, an organization that's 63 years old, fit into that?

"There are a lot of directions that we can go. There's lots of traffic by [Inversion Coffee House] but we've also been hidden in a way by Inversion so we're going to fix that and get our visibility back," says Peranteau, who adds that he's first going to attack issues such as Art League's technology and website.

Peranteau explains that Art League may expand the size and scope of the Target-funded art programs that the organization is heading up. "We're basically the art department for five elementary schools...those schools wouldn't have art programs if we weren't there."

And that's not all because there are some other things in the works that "we'll be ready to announce some major things in about three weeks," he says.

Stay tuned.

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Steve Jansen is a contributing writer for the Houston Press.
Contact: Steve Jansen