A Look Into "The Miraculous" In Houston

A Look Into "The Miraculous" In Houston

Take a moment to read the fine print.

On one of my strolls through campus, I happened to stumble upon a yellow poster plastered to the sidewalk. Through the leaves, I was able to decipher black lettering and a huge number 16 at the very top. Of course, being an English major and in love with the unconventional, I stopped in my tracks and let my eyes take in the story in front of me. It spoke about a Yugoslavian artist and one of her pieces of work. As I continued reading, I found myself wrapped up in this story about an artist willing to put her life in danger for her art. Poster 16 is found on the sidewalk leading towards the fountain after crossing Entrance 14 from SR1. You can find it in the shade a stone's throw from the food trucks.

As I kept walking, I kept finding posters in the strangest places. In some instances, there was more than one of the same number translated into different languages. Each poster had its own unique story to tell. Every time my eyes found the bright yellow posters around campus, I could feel myself drawn to the life behind the words placed upon the side of a building. Why did someone put this here? Why did they want to share it? Why is it important for people to read?

The day after I found that first person, I decided to take a walk around the entire campus so I could find every single one. I was hell-bent on the fact that these strange writings on the walls and sidewalks had to mean something. It was a Friday afternoon, the sun was killing me, and I had the smartest idea to wear a black t-shirt. Long story short, I was dying.

As I passed Blaffer Art Museum and the School of Art, I noticed a man pulling bright yellow rolls out of the bed of his pickup truck. Just one of those "right place at the right time" scenarios. Through this chance encounter, I met the masterminds behind this project and learned what's it all about.

A critical studies professor at UH, Raphael Rubinstein, is the author of a book called The Miraculous. Each of the 50 chapters in this book describes an artist and their work. Some of the stories are quite fascinating. Each of the posters is a page pulled from each of the 50 chapters in the book. The project is meant to bring awareness to contemporary art. Dr. Rubinstein and his partner, Heather Bause, wanted to create something that would cause college students at the University of Houston to stop, put their phones down, and think about these stories. Most of our generation has little to no knowledge about the elements of contemporary art. By creating public exhibitions, Bause and Rubinstein use curiosity as their weapon of choice.

The project is a part of CounterCurrent, an art festival presented by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston. Their mission is to put on "a festival of performance, installation and ideas". It will take place April 18-23, 2017. A full schedule can be found here.

I encourage everyone to try to go to at least one of the amazing events planned for CounterCurrent. When you pass by one of these vivid posters, take a moment to stop and read them. It may spark a train of thought that could lead you somewhere incredible.

Get your tickets here.

Cover Image Credit: The Miraculous: Houston

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10 Essentials For A Writer-Friendly Coffee Shop

The best and most inspiring coffee shops all have a story.

Living in 2018 is pretty great. Not for the technology (although, it’s nice as well), not for the politics (ha ha ha), and not for the possibility of self-driving cars in the near future (honestly terrifying). No, I’m happy to live in 2018 because of a single trend: coffee shops.

Coffee shops are the THING now! And in the small college town I live in, there’s one on literally every corner. My absolutely ideal afternoon is one spent in a coffee shop. I love coffee and I love cozy spaces, so they’re pretty much perfect. As a writer, coffee shops have played a large role in my productivity as well. After visiting many different coffee shops, I’ve compiled a list of what makes one the most optimally writer-friendly.

1. Fascinating characters

Some of my best dialogue has come from overheard coffee shop conversations, no joke. I’m not sure what it is about them, but sitting in coffee shops makes people talk like they’re in a private living room. What does this mean? Intimate dialogue perfect for insertion in your latest story.

2. Trustworthy baristas

You know those baristas I’m talking about. The ones who remember your regular order, suggest new and adventurous drinks or give you an extra shot of espresso for free. Once you find them, stick with ‘em.

3. Good music

At my hometown coffee shop, Groundhouse, I can always tell which baristas are on duty if I listen to the music. ‘80s rock playlist? It’s the high school guy's shift! Soft indie? It’s my friend Eden! Acoustic covers? Groundhouse’s owner! Some of my favorite music has been discovered in coffee shops as well. I’m constantly lifting my phone to my mouth and discreetly asking Siri “what song is this?”

4. Insta-worthy aesthetics

Because if it’s not on Instagram, did you really drink coffee? (no. the answer is no.)

5. Big coffee mugs

If you’re spending $3.50 on a latte, it better be worth it. You’re not here to play around.

6. Comfy chairs

Because you’re going to be at the coffee shop for a while, writing thousands of words and getting chapters slammed out. Trust me, I know from experience it’s better to sit in a comfy chair during those thousands of words.

7. A background story

So the best and most inspiring coffee shops all have a story. Maybe they were started by a starving college student 10 years ago. Maybe it’s a family business. Maybe it’s owned by two brothers who wear beanies. Whatever the story, it’s gotta have a good one.

8. A favorite drink

(Chai tea latte, always and forever!)

9. Outlets

If you’re there for hours, the electronics will need juice.

10. Good tea

For the British-inspired days.

What else do you look for in a writer-friendly coffee shop?

*read this post and more written by young authors on the Project Canvas blog!* Project Canvas is a book of writing advice and motivation | 60 contributors from 9 countries... learn more!

Cover Image Credit: Olivia Rogers

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Saying Farewell to "The Fosters"

Thank you for giving representation to those who feel voiceless.

"The Fosters" first aired in 2013 on Freeform, back when the channel was still called ABC Family. Five years and 100 episodes later, it's time to say goodbye.

For months fans of this hit television show took to Twitter circulating the hashtag #RenewTheFosters trying to give the show one more season. Sadly, in January it was announced that the show would end this summer with a "three episode finale."

In short, "The Fosters" revolves around a family of many kids (many who have been adopted) and their moms, Lena and Steph. Each episode follows the family and various struggles that are currently taking place within society; recently, part of the show's plot focused on immigration and the flaws within the system.

From day one, "The Fosters" has represented unconditional love and diversity, something that the fan base has cherished. Various ethnic backgrounds, gender identities, and personal struggles have been brought to the forefront during this show's five year run.

Even though the Farewell Season has begun, it's been announced that there will be a spin-off show following Mariana and Callie, two of the main characters.

"The Fosters" will truly be missed as it gave representation to those who feel most voiceless. The show has made a lasting impact on its viewers and the television industry; from this, hopefully other shows will take the initiative to incorporate more diversity into their cast and characters.

Tune in on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on Freeform to watch the Farewell Season.

Cover Image Credit: TV Guide

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