On the afternoon of Sunday, January 31, 2016, the Great Room of John Ross Palmer’s Houston fine art gallery was full of art collectors, artists, Escapism patrons, and former Escapist artists to witness and celebrate the initiation ceremony of the 2016 Escapist Artists: Tatiana Escallon, Alonzo Karahamuheto, and Hugo Perez. The highlight of the inspiring program was a rousing keynote address by Houston City Council Member Mike Laster. After raising their right hands and taking The Pledge of the Escapist, Escallon, Karahamuheto and Perez welcomed art enthusiasts into their new Chrysalis Artist Studios to unveil new work, describe works in progress and meet a plethora of Palmer’s loyal fan base. To learn more about this empowering artist mentorship program, please visit EscapistProgram.com.
Founded in 2009, the Escapist Mentorship Program has evolved in scope and gained international prestige as it now enters its eighth year. This was the third year featuring a formal initiation ceremony to kick-off a year of hard work, individually-tailored coaching, and unique challenges presented to the group of artists. The inaugural initiation ceremony in 2014 was for “Escapists only” and was conducted at a private ceremony in Palmer’s art studio. Last year was the first public ceremony with a keynote address delivered by Chuck Bagnato, Executive Director of the Lone Star Veterans Association. Palmer and his husband Ryan Lindsay, the Program Directors, emceed the 2016 ceremony that included recognition of notable guests, a presentation on the history of the Escapist Program, and the reading of excerpts of the artist applications. It was announced that Escapist Hugo Perez scored the highest of all applications based on the weighted average of his points from written application and interview phases. Both Directors were overcome with emotion during moments of the well-attended, lively, and impressive annual ritual.
“I can’t believe I got choked up while reciting the Pledge of the Escapist!” exclaims Palmer. “I just think the gravity of our mission and the strides this program has taken got the best of me. Creating art is my calling. Giving back is my passion.”
Palmer’s Art Movement of Escapism is aimed at forever destroy the stereotype of the struggling artist. His mentorship program, founded in 2009, teaches artists how to sell on their own and not be tied to the traditional art gallery system. Palmer does this as a means of giving back to the art world–it is entirely free.