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Art that breaks up the office grind: FotoFest takes on the workday with "Really Short Tours"

Ian Teh Miners. Datong, Shanxi, 2006- 2008
Ian Teh, Miners. Datong, Shanxi, 2006 - 2008. From the series Dark Clouds Courtesy of the artist
Allen Center gallery photo tour exhibition space
The gallery at Allen Center. Courtesy of FotoFest
Ian Teh Miners. Datong, Shanxi, 2006- 2008
Allen Center gallery photo tour exhibition space

If you squint through the swarm of lunch hour crowds at the Allen Center, you'll likely spot dedicated exhibition spaces full of work by international artists. But finding time to closely examine those pieces? That would mean taking precious hours out of your workday. 

But you can't use that excuse anymore: FotoFest, Houston's nonprofit photographic arts and education organization, is introducing "Really Short Tours" as a way to engage building employees with the artwork over a midday break.

"FotoFest Discoveries," an exhibition supported by Arts Brookfield featuring 15 contemporary artists and spanning four galleries (in One, Two and Three Allen Center and at 1600 Smith), will open on Monday and run through Sept. 27. FotoFest's curators promise to fill you in on a few key photographs and get you back on your way in 10 minutes tops. 

When else will you have the chance to sip a smoothie while seeing the effects of coal mining in China through the lens of Ian Teh? Or learn about albinism in Africa from the perspective of European photographer Patrick Gries on the way to snag a sandwich? FotoFest spokesperson Vinod Hopson tells CultureMap that there's something for everyone in this lineup.

"Discovery is a value of ours — discovering artwork and ideas, taking people out to discover the city," Hopson says. "Art in a corporate space is part of that." 

FotoFest will hold two opening receptions for the show, at noon on July 17 at Two Allen Center and at noon on July 22 at 1600 Smith. "Really Short Tours" will start at noon on July 18 at One Allen Center; Aug. 1 at Two Allen Center; Aug. 15 at Three Allen Center; and Aug. 29 and Sept. 5 at 1600 Smith. 

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