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Houston City Scope September 2011

Megan Nicole

Megan Nicole:

A Hometown Girl Heads Toward Stardom

By Melanie Saxton

A karaoke machine made all the difference in the life of Megan Nicole Flores. Even in fourth grade, it was obvious her voice had a pure quality that destined her for bigger things. She began piano lessons and attended Faith West Academy in elementary school, where she entered a talent show. Her rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” wowed the audience…and the rest is history.

Known professionally as Megan Nicole, this 17-year-old already has a clear goal for her future. “I write songs or work with lyrics nearly everyday,” says the young songwriter, whose website is full of videos and recordings. “I went to Beckendorff Junior High and Katy High School where I took AP classes, but am now home-schooled to accommodate my travel and bookings.”

Wherever life leads her, she wants to work in the field of music. She took up guitar in high school to supplement her piano and vocals. “If I go to college, I’ll major in music. I want to be with my fans, performing onstage.”

Megan has been drawing in fans by the thousands. With 5,000 views on YouTube a year ago, she now has over 37 million views. More than 215,000 people “like” her on Facebook, thanks to her live performances, TV and radio appearances and information-filled website.

“I’ve been recording my original songs in Los Angeles with legendary producers Tom Mgrdichian and Chris Cox,” says Megan. Her first music video was shot under the direction of YouTube phenomenon, Kurt Schneider, and was released in July to coincide with the debut of her first original song. “I wrote the song “b-e-a-u-tiful” last summer (2010) and have been working and planning for this moment for a year.”

When she has down time (which is rare), Megan likes to exercise. “Working out to zumba and also getting in some running time is fun,” she says. Her favorite thing to do is hang out with friends and her family. Her mother, Tammy, and father, Frankie, are her biggest supporters, joined by younger sister, Madison.

“My parents have always encouraged me to follow my dreams,” says Megan. “They have helped me financially with music videos and encouraged me to be my best.” The family has attended Katy Community Fellowship for 11 years.  Megan has been a youth leader at church for the last three years and credits her faith in keeping her level-headed and focused.

“My ultimate dream is to be at the Justin Bieber level,” says Megan, who puts all the proceeds from her iTunes sales back into her project. She’s already accomplished so much toward the achievement of this goal and is in it for the music and the fans. You can find Megan Nicole on YouTube, on Facebook and at www.megannicolemusic.com.  Watch for her music, including “b-e-a-utiful”, on iTunes. —



The Houston House lobby has been redesigned to reflect a mid-century modern revival interior. Photo-Richard Payne

Houston House Salutes Emerging Designers

Up-and-coming local interior designers will showcase their work at the Houston House Salutes Emerging Designers event, featuring four newly renovated apartment homes within Houston House during two weekends of free, public tours.  Guests will be privy to the four model apartment homes created by the designers as well as the comprehensive $10 million renovations throughout the iconic high rise.

Check out the work of Houston designers Chris Ngyuen, Kristen Johnson, Richard Sanchez and Saba Jawda at the Houston House, 1617 Fannin St. (at Leeland Street). Tours will be held Sept. 23-25 and Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Tour hours are 11a.m.-1 p.m. on Fridays and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Houston House is a 31-story apartment building built in 1966 by noted Washington architect Charles Goodman, who was also the architect for 24 East Greenway Plaza. The mid-century modern building was then considered as one of the most stylish luxury high-rise apartment buildings in Houston and one of the first to be built downtown. A long-time fixture of Houston’s skyline, Houston House offers spectacular views of downtown to the north and west, featuring Minute Maid Park to the northeast, Toyota Center to the east, Midtown and the Texas Medical Center to the south.

Each apartment has floor-to-ceiling windows that offer unparallel downtown views and expansive balconies. All 396 apartments will now have natural stone countertops, subway tile backsplash, stainless steel appliances and new wood and travertine floors. Apartments range from 428 square feet to 1,463 square feet for efficiency, one and two-bedrooms, plus four penthouse suites. For more information, visit Houston­HouseApts.com or call 713-308-2000.

Chris Nguyen’s design for the Houston House apartment.

Chris Nguyen


Kristen Johnson’s Houston House apartment.

Kristen Johnson’s Houston House apartment.



Saba Jawda’s Houston House apartment.

Saba Jawda


Richard Sanchez’s Houston House apartment design.

Richard Sanchez




Eric Heist, Foundation, 2010, gouache on paper

Houston Fine Art Fair

Sept. 15-18

Home to 12 museums, including world-class institutions such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Menil Collection, Houston’s vibrant art scene is primed for the inaugural Houston Fine Art Fair, Sept. 15-18.

Some 80 leading galleries from across the U.S., Latin America and Europe will gather under one roof for Houston’s first international art fair at the George R. Brown Convention Center. World-renowned collectors, curators and art patrons will experience an exciting and diverse collection of art galleries and installations from around the globe.

HFAF will offer a broad spectrum of artwork from 1950 to the present, with painting, drawing, print editions, installation, sculpture and photography at price points that will appeal to both novice and experienced collectors. International in scope, the fair will also showcase a wonderful selection of the best in classic and contemporary Latin American art. ’

“Houston’s thriving art scene offers a wide range of styles, from the hottest contemporary art stars, to blue chip artworks, big-name photographers, and the best national and regional artists working today,” said fair organizer Rick Friedman, president of Hamptons Expo Group Management. “Clearly the city’s collectors, institutions and art patrons are serious in their commitment to making Houston one of the major art centers in the country today.”

“Based on the enthusiasm and incredible support we have received from the sophisticated art community here, we anticipate 10,000 visitors to the fair, with as many as 2,000 coming from outside of Houston,” says Fran Kaufman, art fair director.

The exceptional roster of prominent exhibitors includes galleries from 12 European and Latin American countries including Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Germany, Mexico, Spain and Venezuela, representing a stellar line-up of blue-chip and emerging artists. U.S. cities represented by participating galleries include Albuquerque, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Santa Fe and St. Louis.

The fair will kick off with an Opening Night Preview Party on Thursday, Sept. 15, to benefit Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Glassell School of Art Core Program. The program awards one-year residencies to exceptional, highly motivated visual artists and critical writers who have not yet developed professional careers.

For more information visit houstonfineartfair.com.

Hugo Lugo, Educación felíz, oil and acrylic on canvas. Courtesy Schroeder Romero & Shredder, New York

Hans Hofmann, Serenity, oil on canvas. Courtesy Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York



(L-R) Kelly Kindred, operations manager, Bayou City Art Festival; Kim Stoilis, executive director, Bayou City Art Festival; Barry Box, Texas Festivals and Events Association Board president; Katie Odermatt, media coordinator, Bayou City Art Festival; and Elizabeth Cleveland, community relations coordinator, Bayou City Art Festival.

Bayou City Art Festivals Recognized by Texas Festivals & Events Association

The Art Colony Association was honored at the 2011 Texas Festivals and Events Association Marketing Awards for the 13th Annual Bayou City Art Festival Downtown as well as the 40th Anniversary Capital One Bank Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park. The TFEA Marketing Awards program recognizes and encourages excellence in festival promotional campaigns within Texas.

Last year’s 13th Annual Bayou City Art Festival Downtown, featuring the artwork of Jeannie Maddox, was recognized in the following categories: Best New Fundraising Program for Shanghai Heist; Best Outdoor Billboard, second place; Best Commemorative Poster, third place; and Best Event Program, third place.

The 40th Anniversary Capital One Bank Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park, which took place earlier this year featuring the artwork of Dolan Geiman, was recognized in the following categories: Best Event Website, first place; Best Event (Within an Existing Festival), first place for “Sunday in the Art”; Best Full-Length TV Program, first place; Best Single Sponsorship Program, first place for Apache Corporation; Best Sponsor, first place for Capital One Bank.

TFEA also recognized Executive Director Kim Stoilis with the 2011 Carson Watt Professional of the Year Award based in part on her enthusiasm, initiative and leadership during her time with the Art Colony Association.


(L-R) Judge Bill Burke, Maria Francis, Chef Jeff Henderson; and Damali Keith.

Fundraising Luncheon Attracts Celebrity Chef

Living Forward Alliance, a pioneering nonprofit that offers education and mentoring to women incarcerated for drug related offenses, held its inaugural fundraising luncheon at the Junior League of Houston. The keynote speaker was the Food Network’s Chef Jeff Henderson, host of The Chef Project and New York Times best-selling author of Cooked, From the Streets to the Stove. Fox 26 anchor and reporter Damali Keith served as luncheon emcee.

During the luncheon, Henderson delivered a riveting story of his former life as a drug dealer. Heartwarming testimonials regarding the impact of Living Forward Alliance were delivered by mentees Katherine and Karen and mentor Sharon Byers.

The 2011 Living Forward Alliance Outstanding Community Service Awards were presented to Judge Bill Burke, Harris County Civil Courthouse, 189th Civil Court; and Judge Vanessa Velasquez, Harris County Criminal Justice Center, 183rd Criminal Court.

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