2018 KGMA-PRH Fellows Lectures

Center for Art and Social Engagement and Project Row Houses have created a fellowship program that invites artists and cultural practitioners to the Third Ward to work alongside urban planners, educators and policy makers. The fellows will engage in creative collaborations that involve the Houston's historic Third Ward community and address issues important to them. 

The two fellows have a year-long mentorship with project administrators Sixto Wagan, director of the UH Center for Art and Social Engagement at the University of Houston's Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts, and Ryan N. Dennis, PRH's Curator and Programs Director.  Local artists, faculty members, community members and selected leaders will offer their support during this process. The Fellows will present to the public their research–to-date at the end of their fellowship.

Below are the culminating lectures from our 2018 KGMCA-PRH Fellows, Regina Agu and Eyakem Gulilat.

Regina Agu

Regina Agu’s work, titled “A Psychogeography of Emancipation Park,” is a multimedia performative lecture that draws from archival and original photographs, text, moving image, and sound. Throughout her fellowship, Agu investigated the history of mass congregation and activism in public green spaces and parks in Houston, with a particular emphasis on Emancipation Park. Her year centered on developing an understanding of the opportunities and challenges of establishing and maintaining safe, healthy, public spaces for residents of color across the city and researching a feminist history of Emancipation Park and Third Ward.

Eyakem Gulilat

Eyakem Gulilat’s work, titled “Black Place-Making and Informality,” explores Black place-making practice and uses photography as a tool for documentation as well as an interactive exchange. Throughout his fellowship, Gulilat’s research centered on these questions: How do the narratives contained in Third Ward create a sense of place, and what type of stories do these places tell us about Third Ward and the African American community? His talk and accompanying exhibition explore the ideas of informal urbanism and landscape as metaphor.

Social Practice.Social Justice Symposium 2018

Social Practice.Social Justice

Presented by Project Row Houses (PRH), Social Practice.Social Justice is a day-long symposium bringing together artists, activists and thought leaders to Houston’s Third Ward. The symposium begins Friday evening with a special dinner with panelists and PRH staff hosted by Project Row Houses. It continues with Day 2 on Saturday morning with a panel discussion on neighborhood development and the strategies used in communities impacted by disinvestment. This session will be followed by a keynote address from Lisa Dent, thought leader and advocate for cultural workers, living artists and shape-shifters. The afternoon session will conclude the symposium, with a panel centered on utilizing creativity, imagination and engagement.  

All videos by Rex Hudson

Neighborhood Development and the Preservation of a Community

Morning Panel, moderated by Eureka Gilkey, Executive Director, PRH
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

This panel brings together individuals who are pathing a way forward for conscious neighborhood development and work actively to preserve historic buildings in neighborhoods that have been disinvested in. 

Panelists:

  • Irfana Jetha Noorani, 11th Street Bridge Project, Washington DC

  • Pat Jordan, Gem Cultural and Education Center, Kansas City

  • Danielle Burns Wilson, The African American Library at the Gregory School 

The Romance of Community

Lisa Dent will present current research on philanthropic and cultural organizations, placing the support of artistic work within a socioeconomic context. Introduction by Tamika Evans, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Project Row Houses.

Beyond Social Practice

Afternoon Panel, moderated by Gia Hamilton, Cultural Producer

The panelists will present their individual practices and discuss the broad, often vague definition of "social practice" as well as their observed impact of art and creativity on the community.

Panelists:

  • Shani Peters, New York-based Artist

  • Nathaniel Donnett, Houston-based Artist

  • Jen Delos Reyes, Chicago-based Artist & Cultural worker

The Billboard Campaign

The Billboard Campaign

In Partnership with HCP for FotoFest Houston 2018

Viewing Period
March 10 - April 22, 2018

Opening + Conversation
March 10, 11-1pm

For Freedoms is an artist-run initiative, founded in 2015 by artists Eric Gottesman and Hank Willis Thomas to mobilize the arts infrastructure of the United States toward broader civic participation using the tools of political campaigns, activism, and advertising. The Billboard Campaign(2016– ) is an ongoing series of artist-produced billboard installations in public spaces and in art spaces. Co-opting the billboard format—a tool of political advertising—these works invite the viewer to engage critically both with the messages they present and with the medium of political advertising itself.

This billboard was produced in conjunction with the For Freedoms-organized town hall discussion The Artifice of Drawn Borders. It includes an image from a series of photographs by Eric Gottesman. This series, Jordan Is Not A Country, explores the manufactured phenomenon of nationalism in the Middle East. In a desert landscape stands a porous fence with holes, bent supports, and gaps, symbolic of the fragile veneer of nationalistic structures anywhere, and recalling concerns about immigration and citizenship here in the United States.

The words at the top of the image—“Where do we go from here?”—might evoke multiple associations: the words of the migrant confronting such divisive structures; the thoughts of many people today, who wonder about the current status of where we are as a nation; and Paul Gauguin’s inscription on his painting Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (1897–98), in the MFA’s collection.

Neighborhood Fantasies

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Neighborhood Fantasies: Evan Coleman + Jesse Lott

Curated by Kathleen Coleman in conjunction with Fotofest 2018

PRH Community Gallery
2521 Holman Street

Viewing Period
March 10 - April 22, 2018

Opening
March 10, 4-6pm

Neighborhood Fantasies integrates the spirit of an emerging art photographer Evan Coleman with the work of PRH founding artist Jesse Lott. Join us March 10 from 4-6pm as we open this exhibition, presented in conjunction with Fotofest 2018.

The Houston urban landscape is an eclectic image of symbolic eras in time. The photographer Evan Coleman has captured the images of homes, office buildings, flora, fauna, roads, and houses; front yards where a person rides in a car or walks down a major street and a back road, familiar depictions portrayed in photo montages such as: a trailer, hamburger joints, resale businesses or party events are included. There are familiar images in the collages--a water hose, a variety of mangos, giant watermelons floating across the sky to create everyday dreams as we ride along. Let us not forget the porcelain cats resting in the window of a house, in a day dream; a central, focal image throughout the exhibition. The fantasy photo of a windowsill of cats is inviting Jesse Lott, who inserted a dog to peer at them through the window.

Jesse Lott has made blind cuts, and separated them by color, thus creating the opportunity to assemble a puzzle which has never been solved. This concept in brief can be thought of as documentation of the reality reconstructed as a fantasy supplemented with the original subject matter. Recontextualization places the images into a new perspective, meaning changes within the point of view of the artist applied, which inspires the public to visualize and imagine the symbols or the object commonly viewed in our daily lives. In the collages, a bounce house is cut up and fruit from a stand is placed to add color with common objects to form depth and structure such as concrete.

The countless forms of architecture from one neighborhood to another incorporate Houston’s diversity at its finest, in addition to revealing gentrification from one street to another. Repetitive objects are common features in the artwork in Neighborhood Fantasies therefore a perception is a sense of belonging in the heart of the city through art and collective experiences. The concept is evolving to produce involvement within the community to enlighten themselves within their own area. The artist team will continue to conceive fantasy from random reality.

Neighborhood Fantasies is curated by Kathleen Coleman. Thank you to our sponsors Melanie Lawson, John Guess, A Rocket Moving and Storage, Womack Development, and Mayberry Homes.