14 Pews is a nonprofit that is passionate about enriching lives through the positive, transformational power of the arts, education, and community outreach.
It was founded in 2010 by Houston filmmaker, Cressandra Thibodeaux. It is housed in a 1924 wooden church which was converted into an art house. The first 14 Pews event was in September 2010. In March 2011, 14 Pews received its nonprofit status.
14 Pews first began its Artist-in-Residency Program in 2011 to promote and encourage artists by giving them full use of the theater to create new works for an entire year. 14 Pews provides the space; a stipend from the box office income, and marketing. Since 2011, 14 Pews has selected, supported and promoted 11 talented artists. In 2011, our artist-in-residence was Emily Sloan (performance artist), who created 4 site-specific performances. In 2012, it was Sandy Ewen (visual artist and electronic musician), who created 3 concerts and 2 art shows. In 2013, it was Elizabeth Keel (playwright), who created a full-length site-specific play, performed 2 one-acts and had a reading of her novel. In 2014, we had Two Star Symphony (8 musicians and composers), who created a live original score to the classic film, "Girl Shy" and several original musical works.
In June 2012, 14 Pews launched its summer Film Academy to at-risk students who were economically disadvantaged at Reagan High School. The goal of the Film Academy is to keep unsupervised "latch-key" students engaged in positive and creative activities that would be beneficial to the students and their community. Cressandra Thibodeaux plus 11 guest lecturers taught the 3-week workshop. The class culminated in a Student Film Festival, which was free and opened to the general public.
The types of audiences that 14 Pews programming is reaching is mostly age 45-64, female, married, college graduate, Caucasian, who are middle and upper-middle class. Our programs encourage dialogue after each cultural event because we want to hear from all the voices of Houston.
Since 2010, 14 Pews has:
-- Screened over 400 Independent films, documentaries, narrative, experimental and short films.
-- Created, curated and hosted 5 film festivals: "It Gets Better" Film Festival, 14 Pews Film Academy Film Festival, H-Town Multicultural Film Festival, The Bayou City Music & Film Festival, Bayou City Food & Film Festival.
-- Created a weekly German Film Series co-sponsored with the German Consulate and The Goethe-Institut.
We are proud to have met and surpassed our goals for our first three years as a non-profit and look forward to serving our community for many more years to come.
EXTENDED HISTORY OF 14 PEWS
2009 Aurora Picture Show moves from 800 Aurora Street to across the street from the Menil Collection. And in 2010 the white wooden church is for sale.
July 6, 2010 the founder of the Aurora Picture Show and her family leave Texas to move to the Northeast. That very night Cressandra Thibodeaux arrives from Los Angeles to Texas and sees the property. She falls in love with the church and moves in soon afterwards.
In August 2010, the venue is named 14 Pews.
September 18, 2010, marks the first event held at 14 Pews, which is a Latino Jazz Festival called Acuerdo de Musica Libre/Free Music Agreement: A Festival of Improvised Music produced by Nameless Sound.
October 8, 2010, we screen our first film, VIVA THE NAM, directed by Paul Hanley & Keiren Healy and watched by our first film customer, Roger Barnaby.
February 22, 2011, our first "Science on Screen." The evening begins with the youtube sensation (over 2.3 million people have seen this video) "Bad Project," created by Baylor Medical School students. Afterwards the Baylor students answer questions. They are followed by JETheriot, an artist and neurologist who specializes in memory loss, he speaks after, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."
March 29, 2011, 14 Pews receives its 501(c)(3) non-profit status and begins to receive memberships and donations from its "congregation."
April 14, 2011, we have the Exclusive VIP SCREENING of HONKY TONK BLOOD - afterwards John Evans, Johnny Falstaff and Hank Schyma perform live and bring down the house!
May 3, 2011, our new reading series "Word for Word" begins. Our first reader is John Nova Lomax.
May 21, 2011, is our first wedding, between Kelly Fels and Bernard Schreiber.
June 18, 2011, the first couple in Houston are joined in a same-sex ceremony led by our artist-in-residence, Emily Sloan during her art performance piece "Fit To Be Tied."
July 16, 2011, is our first sold out show, ONE HOT TEXICAN SUMMER, a one-man-show written and performed by Alvaro Lopez-Rios and directed by Michelle Lopez-Rios.
September 8, 2011, our guest for Science on Screen is a rock star in the neuroscience field, DR. DAVID EAGLEMAN. The house is packed and he stays longer than agreed to answer the many questions of the audience.
September 16, 2011, after a summer of drought and record 3 digit temperatures we landscape the front -- replacing the dead grass with gravel.
December 9, 2011, marked our first Pop-Up Art Show with the talented local artist - KLEY NIXON.
December 18, 2011, we teamed up with Poison Girl, Antidote and Black Hole Coffee House for our first Holiday Party which was a blast dancing to Curtis Poullard and the Creole Zydeco Band.
January 27, 2012, our new artist-in-residence, SANDY EWEN presents her new photo series and also performs live!
March 18, 2012, Cressandra Thibodeaux has her first art show during the Fotofest 2012 Biennial – SOMEPLACE ELSE are the discarded images that parents didn’t want of their children during photo shoots.
April 6, 2012, the first official SKYPE interview that Cressandra Thibodeaux has with the talented filmmaker Alrick Brown from the basement of his mother’s home in Staten Island.
April 20, 2012 we show Man on A Wire, and Cressandra Thibodeaux shares with the audience what it was like being the Philip Petite's assistant when she worked at St. John Cathedral in Manhattan.
April 28, 2012, was the first fashion show with Jubilee and Buffalo Exchange. All models were zombies and afterwards we screened Night of the Living Dead.
May 24, 2012, we have our first screening to raise money for another non-profit - Center for the Healing of Racism.
June 4, 2012, we start our 14 Pews Film Academy, a three week documentary workshop taught to students at Regan High School.
June 21, 2012, the first time we have a play production. The Theater group is A Bit-Of-A-Stretch, who have a one week run of NO EXIT.
June 29, 2012, we have the 14 PEWS FILM ACADEMY FILM FESTIVAL - highlighting three films created within our summer film workshop.
July 2012 our venue rental business takes off after having our doors open for almost one year.
July 26, 2012, Cressandra Thibodeaux, the Executive Director of 14 Pews is accepted into Rice University's Leadership Institute for Nonprofit Executive program!
September 21, 2012, we have our first singer-songwriter performance with DUSTIN WELCH.
September 24 2012, we are the first theater in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana to screen Somewhere Between and our Mission Statement is born – to foster cross-cultural experiences.
October 4, 2012, Sarah Gish has her art recption for MOD MANDALAS: THE CHAKRA SERIES.
October 12, 2012, HAA grant recipient Ashley Horn screens her wonderfully quirky dance for camera work, WANDERLAND to a sold out audience.
October 26, 2012, we celebrated our 2nd Birthday Party held at Bill Baldwin’s home.
November 2, 2012, we screen the amazing documentary TARNATION and have a talk-back with its dynamic director Jonathan Caouette
November 3, 2012, we have the talented GRACE PETTIS perform for our Singer-Songwriter Series. She is amazing!
November 14, 2012, we host the World Premiere of the videos created for the inaugural 48 Hour Music Video Project.
December 9, 2012, we have John Lienhard, author and voice of The Engines of Our Ingenuity speak before we showed the film The Burmese Harp
December 14, 2012, we screen EATING ALABAMA to a sold out house with the help from Urban Harvest, Plant-It-Forward and The Last Organic Outpost. Afterwards, the filmmaker Andrew Grace speaks along with Tyler Horn and Joe Icet.
December 30, 2012, Wayne Gilbert has his Art Opening HUMAN REMAINS PAINTINGS – which are paintings made from the cremated remains of Americans uncollected, for infinite reasons, at funeral establishments mixed with a clear gel medium to create works of art.
January 1, 2013, Emily Sloan performs, FUNERAL PARTY an interactive performance comprised of the exploration of healing and death rituals to encourage participants towards realizations of the brevity of life and to aid in connecting to the present.
January 10, 2013, we were accepted as a 501( c )3 non-profit into the Houston Arts Alliance Pre-Incubator Program!
January 12, 2013, we screen HOT IRONS and have a lively talk-back with Nigerian filmmaker Andrew Dosunmu.
February 2, 2013, we donate our venue to the non-profit BooTown to present their puppet show LOVE IN THE TIME OF LASERS.
February 9, 2013, Cressandra Thibodeaux has her 2nd art show called REFLECTIONS ON BUFFALO BAYOU, which are photographs of reflections on Buffalo Bayou.
February 14, 2013, we have the second HAA Grant Recipient, Kelly Switzer and Ornery Theater present their show, CTHULHU – A PUPPET PLAY at 14 Pews to a sold out audiences.
February 20, 2013, we donate our venue to Whole Planet Foundation to have their EVENING OF GLOBAL AWARENESS
February 26, 2013, we screen SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN the day after it wins the Oscar -- it’s a hit with our audience. A couple have their first date at this screening and they become engaged 3 months later!
March 16, 2013, art collector and curator, Jay Wehnert curates his first art show at 14 Pews - PLAIN SIGHT and it's a big hit.
March 28, 2013, we screen the quirky documentary GOD'S ARCHITECTS, and afterwards we have a talk back with the talented filmmaker ZACK GODSHALL
April 19, 2013, we start our first CINEMOM Screening series, which are special parent-baby screenings.
April 22, 2013, we screen the award-winning documentary BIDDER 70, which follows the court case of a beloved environmentalist,Tim DeChristopher. Afterwards, we have our first GROUP SKYPE, with Tim DeChristopher a day after he's released from prison.
April 25, 2013, our artist-in-residence ELIZABETH A.M. KEEL premieres her two, one act plays titled, PARADISE MISPLACED, which brings in a whole new group of theater lovers to 14 Pews. Thank you Elizabeth!
May 4, 2013, we have our first TEXAS FILMMAKERS SERIES. We screen COOK COUNTY and have the local director, David Pomes speak afterwards. Then we have beer and music in the back yard.
June 14, 2013, is the opening night of our H-TOWN MULTICULTURAL FILM FESTIVAL. Bears Fonte, Director of Programming for Austin Film Festival programs our short films and his series title "Dirty Laundry" is a big hit!
July 25, 2013, is our beloved bartender, MARILYN'S 80th birthday party! We screen her favorite film and celebrate with cake, food and drinks.
August 2, 2013, SHUNYA THEATER performs the play PARTITION, written by Ira Hauptman.
Sept. 5, 2013, is the opening of our artist-in-residence ELIZABETH A.M. KEEL'S full-length play DEBORAH. It receives great reviews. I am proud of her and our artist-in-residence program. She's extremely gifted and watching her create an entire full-length play is nothing less than inspiring.
Sept. 27, 2013, is the opening night of MOVING VIOLATIONS a multifaceted installation by artist MARK NELSON and curated by Jay Wehnert of Intuitive Eye
Nov. 14, 2013, HENRY KAISER wowed the crowds with his program of underwater video and experimental music.He was joined by Texas improvisors: Damon Smith, Sandy Ewen, David Dove and others.
Oct. 26, 2014, is our 3RD BIRTHDAY PARTY! It's held at Bob Burleson's lovely home in the Heights. We receive great support from the community.
Dec. 6, 2013, opening night of our BAYOU CITY MUSIC AND FILM FESTIVAL, which was programmed by Peter Lucas.
Feb. 15, 2014, Our Artists-in-residence, TWO STAR SYMPHONY perforned their original score for the film Girl Shy to sold out audiences.
Feb. 28, 2014, we showcased several CORE Fellows and their films.
March 12, 2014, was the World Premiere of CHRISTA FORSTER'S Whats on [My] Mind? Which is a dynamic and thought-provoking transmedia performance project.
April 11, 2014, As part of our Texas Filmmaker Series BRYAN POYSER screened both his award-winng films; Lovers of Hate and Love & Air Sex.
May 2, 2014, Opening Night of our BAYOU CITY FOOD AND FILM FESTIVAL, which was co-presented by University of Houston, Humanties Texas and we had a talk-back by filmmaker Lisa Fruchtman after screening her award-winning film Sweet Dreams. It was so wonderful to receive support from so many organizations.
May 7, 2014, we screened BARBARA, directed by Christian Petzold which was the beginning of our popular weekly German Film Series which is co-sponsored with the German Consulate and The Goethe-Institut
June 19, 2014, we hosted the COLUMBIA FILM FESTIVAL, which was co-sponsored by the Columbia Alumni Association and Columbia University School of the Arts. It was a magical evening of short films created by graduate film students at Columbia University.
July 13, 2014, during the Transplant Games of America, we screen the thought-provoking documentary PERFECT STRANGERS and have an amazing talk-back with the director JAN KRAWITZ, who is a Professor at Stanford University and director of the M.F.A. Program in Documentary Film and Video.
July 19, 2014, as part of our Texas Filmmaker's Series, we screened PJ RAVAL'S award-winning documentary BEFORE YOU KNOW IT to an enthusiastic crowd and afterwards PJ Raval led us in a lively and insightful discussion.