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



-Overlapping Territories, DiverseWorks, MATCH, Houston, TX, Curator Ashley DeHoyos


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


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


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


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

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


- “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


February 2018

Newsstand Artist - What's the New News : Project Row House

I painted a news stand for the What's The New News project. This stand is located at Doshi House in neighborhood of Third Ward in Houston, TX. This piece is dedicated to a place where everyone is welcome, no matter of skin color, culture or language. With that in mind, I wanted to create something that focused on humanism and equality. I utilized the color wheel as an inspiration for the design and graphic look of the piece. By doing this I wanted to communicate the idea of how the mixture of any of the primary colors within the color wheel can create any and every color in existence.This fact is also true for humans, although we’re all different shades and colors we’re all created the same, we all bleed the same blood, and we are all human. Embracing each other’s differences rather it be culture, food, language, etc. makes more sense than to hate one another because of our differences. In the words of Bob Marley, “One Love”

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. The  artwork exhibited reflected solidarity with the larger national movement of welcoming 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. Recognizing the responsibility of counteracting the threat of fear and using art as a tool to communicate this message. For this show, I collaborated with artist Lee Running to create an installation piece titled, Veiled Border. This piece explores the act of creating borders, who create them, who are affected by them, and more importantly 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.



Idea Fund Gra


Houston Arts Alliance: Let Creativity Happen!

Houston Arts Alliance: Festival Grant

Houston Arts Alliance: City Initiative Grant


Houston Endowment Grant


BIPOC Arts Network & Funding - Danza Aztec Taxcayolotl awarded 10K unrestricted funds to expand the group.


Idea Fund Grant

Her intention with this project is to initiate and facilitate conversations about immigration, sexism, and discrimination as they relate to her experience as a brown girl. Using traditional Mexican printmaking, Villarreal will create a series of posters focused on issues that affect Latinx people. She will march with these posters at protests and organize actions throughout the year.


Fan Favorite, Señorita Cinema Film Awards, Houston, Texas

This was awarded for the film, “Reclaiming the Indian Woman,” which was at Symbiosis Institute of Design in Pune, Maharashtra, India. This film explores gender discrimination and touches on taboo subjects that need to be acknowledged by both men and women. It questions societal norms and how they are detrimental to the mental, economic, and emotional growth of women at an international level.


Individual Artist Grant, Houston Arts Alliance, Houston, Texas

To create 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.


March 2018 - May 2018

Recipient of Artist Inc.

Artist INC is a cutting-edge training seminar that addresses the specific business needs and challenges artists of all disciplines face every day. Limited to 25 participants per session, artists gather for one night a week for eight weeks to learn business skills specific to their art practice and apply those skills cooperatively with their peers. This program prepares the participants for a final presentation about their work in front of the city's most influential people and the Mayor of Houston at City Hall.

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 & 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.


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.


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 Celebration dance performance with Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl at Multicultural Education Counseling through the Arts (MECA), Houston, TX

November 2012 – November 2014

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

October 2014

Transport and Renewed, Silos III, dance performance with Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl in the East End/Second Ward Barrio for the Houston Arts Alliance, Houston, TX


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


February 20, 2019

Migrating Through Walls presentation and hands-on demonstration for Collective Presence at DiverseWorks in MATCH Gallery, Houston Texas.

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.

Panel Discussions

March 24, 2022

Geographies of Belonging: Locating Indigeneity in Globalism Diaspora, and Digital Space, Panel Discussion, Overlapping Territories Exhibition and Symposium for DiverseWorks at MATCH Gallery, Houston Texas. This conversation reflects on complex and varied notions of “Indigenous” during a time of mass migration, the normalization of global travel, and the rise of an online presence. What is our proximity to indigeneity as our bodies move through space and as public discourses shift? The artists and curators in this conversation share snapshots of where they each are in this lifelong journey. Panelists include Christina Marina Patiño Sukhgian Houle, and Monica Villarreal. The conversation was moderated by Adriel Luis and Ashley DeHoyos.

September 27, 2019

Day of Perspective with Houston Coalition Against Hate, Panel discussion featuring socially relevant/conscious Houston artists Patrick McGrath Muniz, Vincent Valdez, David McGee, Monica Villarreal and Kay Sarver. Facilitated by John Guess, CEO of the Houston Museum of African American Culture.

September 22, 2016

Latina Power: The Next Generation of Activism, A Panel Discussion with Bernadette Alvarez, Entrepreneur & Community ActivistRep. Ana Hernandez, Texas House Representative, Claudia E. Ortega-Hogue, Community Advocate, Yudith Nieto, Environmental Justice Activist, Frances Valdez, Immigration Attorney, FValdezLaw PC, Monica Villarreal, Visual Artist & Activist. Moderator: Christina Sisk, PhD, UH Associate Professor, Dept of Hispanic Studies & WGSS Affiliate Faculty Member

Using Format