Exploring "Make and Take" and the World of Zines with Chasity Porter and Eepi Chaad 

The University of Houston's School of Art is gearing up to host UH Zine Week, a week-long celebration of independent media and artistic expression set to take place from Monday, October 15 to Friday, October 20, 2023. This event is not only open to students but also extends its warm welcome to staff, faculty, alumni, and friends of the university. 

UH Zine Week is an initiative coordinated by Professor Stephan Hillerbrand, the director of the Arts & Technology Center (ATC) at the University of Houston and is generously funded by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. This exciting week-long event is designed to showcase underrepresented voices, foster collaboration across various artistic disciplines, and promote the free expression of creativity. 

Among the numerous engaging events scheduled for UH Zine Week, one of the standout highlights is the "Make & Take - College Edition." This event is slated for Tuesday, October 17, 2023, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and will be hosted at the Arts & Technology Center, specifically in Room 314 at the School of Art. 

"Make & Take" is a nomadic gathering place that encourages community engagement, sharing, and artistic experimentation. It was first introduced in 2015 and has since evolved into a platform where artists of all skill levels come together to share their craft and explore new artistic techniques and mediums. 

Chasity Porter, a Texas-based mixed-media artist known for her work in collage, assemblage, and zines, and Eepi Chaad, a multidisciplinary artist and cultural worker, are the creative minds behind "Make & Take." They both emphasize the importance of accessibility in the world of art. Their goal is to create a space where anyone, regardless of age or artistic ability, can come together to explore and create without judgment. 

"I once operated a mobile art gallery with the mission of bringing art directly to the people. While seeking new avenues to share my passion with artists and art enthusiasts alike, the concept of 'Make & Take' emerged and grew. This initiative allows individuals to connect with fellow artists, engage in the creative process, and leave with their own artistic creations,” said Porter. 

Chaad shed light on the journey of "Make & Take" throughout the years, reflecting, "Before the pandemic upheaval, we were experiencing considerable growth. Our annual event had become a cherished tradition, but when the pandemic hit, it prompted us to reassess. We recognized that our concept faced challenges in the virtual landscape. However, last year brought a significant turning point as we teamed up with Art League Houston. This marked our inaugural year of securing grant funding, a milestone that enabled us to offer stipends to all participating artists." 

The alliance between "Make & Take" and UH Zine Week took shape when Stephan Hillerbrand, the Director of the Arts & Technology Center and Associate Professor, reached out to Art League Houston and was pointed in the direction of Chaad and Porter. The result is a partnership that brings together the vibrant spirit of "Make & Take" and the celebration of UH Zine Week. 

Porter expanded on the importance of zines, emphasizing their accessibility: "Zines are truly remarkable because they empower anyone to create their own. They serve as a means of self-publishing, allowing your voice to resonate. Regardless of resources or artistic background, zines provide a canvas for self-expression. The beauty lies in their status as self-published books, capable of exploring a vast array of topics. They serve as a medium for personal stories, community narratives, politics, love, or simply showcasing art and imagery." Chaad chimed in, praising the nature of zines as a subtle yet powerful distribution method: "I appreciate the subversive quality, akin to a discreet channel for ideas. Zines have a rich history of pushing boundaries through their medium.  

Beyond the art, what defines "Make & Take" is its unwavering commitment to creating a judgment-free space for artistic expression. "Within traditional educational settings, emphasis often falls on assignments and achievements, with external validation serving as a measure of success. 'Make & Take' defies this paradigm, offering a space where individuals can create freely, unburdened by judgment." 

Through an open call, Chaad and Porter are inviting two students to bring their unique perspectives and artistic styles into the workshop and teach. Attendees can look forward to creating their own zine, collaborating with different artists, and exploring various techniques and materials. 

Ultimately, "Make & Take" and UH Zine Week provide a unique opportunity for people to come together, make art, and celebrate the beauty of independent media. As Chasity Porter aptly puts it, "It's such a great thing and it lifts me up and makes me want to go and do all these things and incorporate them into my work." This sentiment captures the essence of what UH Zine Week and "Make & Take" aim to achieve—a celebration of art, community, and inspiration. 

For more information about UH Zine Week and "Make & Take," please visit UH Zine Week’s website. Don't miss this exciting opportunity to engage with art, create, and be part of a vibrant artistic community!