Art League Houston announces a new Exhibitions and Projects Manager

Zhaira Costiniano / Photo by Lukas Costiniano

Zhaira Costiniano was recently appointed Exhibitions and Curatorial Projects Manager at Art League Houston, effective February 6, 2023.

“I look forward to working with local and national artists on their upcoming ALH exhibitions and public art projects from ideation through completion,” said Costiniano in an email to Houston Arts Journal. “I am also excited to collaborate with ALH’s Education and Community Engagement departments to explore new ways that exhibiting artists can connect with the Houston community.”

A Filipino-American arts professional and curator, Costiniano focuses on “accessibility and diversity in the arts, placemaking through public art, and contemporary arts at the varied intersections of gender, race, and queer theory,” according to a press release.

“I’m confident her passion for community engagement, paired with her talent and experience as a collaborative curator, and arts administrator, will ensure success in our strategic direction to present innovative and ambitious exhibitions and public art projects that support bold new ideas and spur public discourse around important subjects,” said Jennie Ash, ALH Executive Director, in a statement.

Costiniano, who studied art history at the University of North Texas, comes to Art League Houston from ArtWorks in Cincinnati, where she was Creative Project Manager and Gallery Director. She has previously worked for the Dallas Museum of Art, Ro2 Gallery, and Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas. During her last year at UNT, she founded ARThaus Denton, a grassroot arts organization that provided opportunities for local student artists and the community to create art, collaborate, learn, and network.

Art League Houston’s next round of exhibitions, opening Feb. 24, will include works by artist Violette Bule / Courtesy of Art League Houston

Costiniano joins Art League Houston during its milestone 75th anniversary year. One of Houston’s oldest arts organizations, ALH was founded in 1948, and its mission is “to connect the community through diverse, dynamic, and creative experiences that bring people together to see, make, and talk about contemporary visual art,” according to its website.

As Exhibitions and Curatorial Projects Manager, Costiniano succeeds Jimmy Castillo, who left the role in October 2022. Bridget Bray, an independent Houston-based curator, has served in the interim and will work alongside Costiniano to facilitate her onboarding.

Art League Houston tells Houston Arts Journal that Costiniano will be involved with ALH’s next round of exhibitions opening on February 24, which will feature works by:

  • Violette Bule, exploring unplanned connections and physical proximities that happen through ride-sharing in a car-dependent city like Houston
  • Alexander Squier, looking at the tension between the built and natural environments in Houston and the ceaseless flux of the city’s urban landscapes
  • Sallie Scheufler, scrutinizing the nature of crying as a physical manifestation of human emotions, and the cultural norms around trying to contain or control those emotions
  • Royal Sumikat, engaging with the processes of grieving the loss of a parent and the communities that can cohere around shared loss

“I am honored and humbled to be joining ALH’s dynamic team and look forward to building off the organization’s commitment to inclusivity, creativity, and service,” said Costiniano in statement.

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