Monica Villarreal



August 2012: Master in Arts: Digital Media Studies, University of Houston Clear Lake, Houston, Texas, USA

December 2012: Symbiosis Institute of Design, Study Abroad Independent Projects: Typography and Video Documentary, Pune, Maharashtra, India

May 2009: Bachelor in Business, Entrepreneurship & Minor, Studio Arts, University of Houston, Houston, Texas

July 2008: Vesalius College, Course: Lobbying for the EU and Internship with European Federation for Street Children, NGO, Brussels, Belgium


March 2007 – Present

Co-founder & Director, Creative Women Unite (CWU)

CWU is a grassroots organization that facilitates a space where women can express themselves freely through arts. We organize annual event for International Women’s Day and Women’s Herstory Month during the month of March. This event promotes and supports inter-generational, multi-ethnic women artists of all backgrounds and genres.

August 2010 –August 2015

Co-founder & Second Lead Dancer, Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl,

Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl is a traditional Mexican dance group that participates in indigenous ceremonies and educational presentations.Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl purpose is to facilitate space for people to share and learn about Mexica spirituality, traditions, and culture. We organize an annual event, "La Resistencia de Tenochtitlan" is a commemoration to the invasion of present time Mexico and the resistance of the Mexica nation from Tenochtitlan. Every year in August, this event brings over 50 dancers from around Texas, dressed in colorful regalia, wearing headdress with beautiful long feathers, and utilizing natural instruments to compose traditional rhythms for ceremonial dancing at Eastwood Park, located in the historic Second Ward of Houston, Texas.


November 2015 

Artist Residency - Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI)

During my residency at SFAI I lead the curation of a group show titled All Refugees Welcome. This work in the show reflected solidarity with the larger artistic movement to welcome refugees. The participant artists believe the ongoing conflict of refusing refugees from Mexico, Central and South America, and Syria has created an atmosphere of fear instead of love. We recognize the responsibility to counteract this threat of fear through the use of art. For this show, I also collaborated with artist Lee Running to create an installation piece titled, Veiled Border. This piece explores the authors of borders, who creates them; who are affected by them; and who can see them?

October 2014 – March 2015 

Studio Artist - Project Row Houses, Houston, Texas

As a studio artist during round 41, I had a “shot-gun” house to install and transform for a six-month long project titled “Migration is?” during which I created work and programming analyzing the treatment of migrant workers and shifting the discourse from their worth as commoditized bodies to their intrinsic value as human beings.

October 2013 - March 2015

Artist Core Group - Voices Breaking Boundaries, Houston, Texas

As an artist core group member during Borderlines, Part II: Migrations and Movement with Voices Breaking Boundaries, I worked with 3 other artists to curate and create site-specific artwork centered around labor issues faced by people in Houston as well as communities living in South Asian (Afghanistan-Pakistan-India-Bangladesh) and North American (Canada-US-Mexico) border regions.



Fan Favorite, Señorita Cinema Film Awards,Houston, Texas

This award was given to me for my film, “Reclaiming the IndianWoman,” which I created during my time at the Symbiosis Institute of Design inPune, Maharashtra, India. This film explored gender discrimination and touches on taboo subjects thatneed to be acknowledge by both men and women. It questions societal norms andhow they are detrimental towards the mental, economical and emotional growth ofwomen at an international level.


Individual Artist Grant, Houston Arts Alliance, Houston, Texas

This grant was awarded to me for a photography project titled, “Texas Red Road Project”, which documented the lifestyles and traditions of South Texas Navajo, Apache, Lakota, Mexica, and Chichimeca ancestry and explored the relative absence of the Native American influence in Houston’s art establishments.


Eccles, Tom. “Migration is?” Art Review Magazine: Summer 2016. 89: Print.

Villarreal, Monica and Weston, Charisse. “Inscriptions: Part I.” Borderlines Volume 2: Nov.2015. Voices Breaking Boundaries.

Villarreal, Monica. "Natural Flow of Migration." Origins Journal (2015): 18-19. Print.

Villarreal, Monica. “Houston Chicano Movement: Interview with Daniel Bustamante.” Borderlines, Volume 1: Feb. 2015. Voices Breaking Boundaries.


March - May 2017

How Do I Say Her Name art exhibit at Art League Houston, Houston, TX, curator Ann Johnson

February - March 2016

Immigration and Citizenship art exhibit at Idyllwild Arts Park Exhibition Center Gallery, Idyllwild, CA.

November 2015

All Refugees Welcome, Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, NM, curator Monica Villarreal

September 2014

Houston Fine Arts Fair, NRG Center, Houston, TX, curator Gabriel Martinez - Alabama Song

November 2014

Houston Open Studio Tours, Winter Street Studios, Houston TX, curator Robert Pruitt

June 2013

“Coming Through The Gap On the back of "An Elephant”, Houston, TX, Texas Southern University Museum, curator Robert Pruitt


“Texas Red Road Project”, Houston, TX, Fresh Arts


FotoFest Exhibit, Bohemeos, Houston,TX, curator Liana Lopez

2007 – Present

Annual art exhibit for International Women’s Day and Women’s Herstory Month, curated by Creative Women Unite, a multicultural women’s art collaboration, Houston, TX


June 2016

Reading of  “Houston Chicano Movement: Interview with Daniel Bustamante” Borderlines, Volume 1 art catalogue at the Voices Breaking Boundaries - Borderlines at the Northside Neighborhood Day Celebration in Near Northside, Houston, TX

June 2016

Summer Sounds on the Plaza performance with Danza Aztec Taxcayolotl and Danza Chikawa at Rothko Chapel, Houston TX

November 2011- November 2015

Annual Dia De los Muertos Celebrationdance performance with Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl at Multicultural EducationCounseling through the Arts (MECA), Houston, TX

November 2012 – November 2014

Annual Dia De los Muertos CelebratingAncestors dance performance and procession at Casa Ramirez, Houston, TX

October 2014

Transport and Renewed, Silos III, danceperformance with Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl in the East End/Second Ward Barriofor the Houston Arts Alliance, Houston, TX


I-fest dance performance with DanzaAzteca Taxcayolotl at Hermann Square for the Houston International Festival, Houston, TX


January 10, 2016

 "Made of Star Stuff: Mapping Constellations of Women Creatives": presentation and interactive game with Autumn Knight for Charge 2016 at the Art League Houston in Houston Texas.

November 18, 2015

SFAI140: 20 presenters for 140 second presentation each at the Santa Fe Art Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

November 19, 2015

Danza Azteca and Stop Animation youth workshops at Moving Arts Española in Española, New Mexico.

February 2015

Poesia, Arte, y Historia: The multiple ways we remember Moody Park Rebellion presentation with Deniz Lopez and Samantha Rodriguez for the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) Texas regional conference at Lone Star Community College in Houston, Texas.

April 2014

 “Ethnic Labels & Art from a Chicana Prospective” Presentation, Gender, Sex and Power: University of Houston-Downtown’s 7th Annual Gender Conference in Houston, Texas.

January 2011 - August 2012

Planed and implemented arts, cultural, educational, and recreational lesson plans for after school and summer youth programming with at risk children living in low income housing for Texas Inter-Faith in Houston, Texas.

June – July 2010

Popo e Itzla Summer Camp, Dance Instructor for Tejaztlan Arte Collective a summer camp that combine theater, dance and art at the Houston Institute for Culture in Houston, Texas.

January 2009 - June 2010

Perform a cultural and educational dance presentations routine that taught students about Mexican indigenous culture, language, and food at multiple elementary and middle schools as well as colleges inside and around the Houston Texas area.

August 2007 - March 2009

Instructed elementary students in basic gardening lessons including planting seeds, transplanting, weeding, watering, and harvesting at multiple HISD elementary schools for Urban Harvest in Houston, Texas. We also cooked recipes with food from the garden to teach and inform about nutrition.

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