What's The New News

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January 25, 2018: This post has been updated to reflect a change in newspaper rack locations. 

Project Row Houses (PRH) is excited to announce the second iteration of our commission-based program Project/Site. Project/Site is a public art initiative conceived by Curator and Programs Director Ryan N. Dennis in which PRH interrogates the urban landscape of Third Ward by working with artists who explore the history and culture of the neighborhood while expanding their artistic practice outside of the studio and into the social context.

For the 2018 iteration, PRH has commissioned two issues of What's the New News by artist and organizer Nathaniel Donnett. What’s The New News is a collaboration amongst creatives and the community that speaks to the importance of the neighborhood, artists, writers, and literacy. Through this project, Donnett seeks to interrupt the everyday with the everyday by asking the community to rethink how objects, art, and information are involved in their daily lives.

"At the core of PRH is the belief that art does more than create; it ignites dialogue and allows us to see the world in a new way," said Dennis. "We're ecstatic to have Nathaniel leading the second commission of Project/Site because he consistently asks his audience to reconsider their view of art and its role in their lives."

Artists selected by Donnett will transform newspaper racks into public art to be placed at important valued landmarks in the Third Ward community. Issues of What's The New News available in the racks will take the form of articles, experimental writing, raps, and poetry, penned by creatives active in the Third Ward and Houston arts community.

Participating writers include Julia Brown, Ciaràn Finlayson, Lindsay Gary, John Pluecker, Dr. Andrea Roberts, Jean Sebastien, Charisse Pearlina Weston, and Carol Zou. Donnett will also collaborate with artists Ashura Bayyan, Jeanette Degollado, Brian Ellison, Phillip Pyle II, and Monica Villarreal to construct the newspaper racks.

We hope you will join us at PRH for the release of these issues on Saturday, January 27, 2018 and March 24, 2018 at Noon where Donnett will lead a walking tour of the newsstand locations with the writers and artists.

What's The New News is presented with generous support from the Surdna Foundation.

Issues of What's the New News are available at the following locations:

Project Row Houses
2521 Holman Street

Doshi House
3419 Emancipation Avenue

S.H.A.P.E. Community Center
3815 Live Oak Street

Crumbville TX
2316 Elgin Street

Third Ward Multi-Service Center
3611 Ennis Street

About Nathaniel Donnett
Nathaniel Donnett lives and works in Houston, Texas and studied at Texas Southern University. Donnett is the founder of the website "Not That But This". He is the recipient of two Idea Fund/Andy Warhol Foundation Grants in 2015 and 2011, two Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grants in 2017 and 2011, a 2015 Houston Downtown Vehicular Wayfinding Signs Project public art commission, a 2014 Harpo Foundation Grant, , and a 2010 Artadia Award. He’s exhibited at The Ulrich Museum in Wichita, Kansas, The American Museum in Washington, DC, The Kemper Contemporary Arts Museum in Kansas City, MO, The Theresa Hotel in Harlem, NY, the Harvey B Gantt Art Center for African American Arts and Culture in Charlotte, NC, The Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, CT, in Houston, Texas at The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Project Row Houses, and Texas Southern University Museum, The New Museum, New York, NY, The National Museum and The Modern Museum of Peru in Lima, Peru.

Vendor Opportunity: Free Market Square

Free Market Square
January 20, 2018

Free Market Square is a monthly market held in the heart of Third Ward to highlight entrepreneurs and performers throughout the year and host a Community Marketplace. Free Market Square adds to the strength, vibrancy, and self-determination of the Historic Third Ward with this free, family-friendly event. Local vendors, arts activities for children and adults, and performances by established and up-and-coming performers in music and dance reignite the historic legacy of this community. This market is focused on the sale of original goods that are handmade, customized, fair-trade, and vintage resellers.

Vendor Fees

Booth | $50
Food Truck $100
Booth (Jan+Feb)* | $100
Food Truck (Jan+Feb)* | $200

*For a limited time, Free Market Square is offering a special deal for merchants. Register for the January and February markets and participate in March for FREE.*

Small Business/Big Change: Supporting Artrepreneurs at PRH

Photo by Alex Barber

Photo by Alex Barber

In September 2012, after 15 years with a fortune 500 Company, I decided to retire to bake full time. I had been doing both jobs for 8 years, but the demands of my baking business forced me to choose which job I wanted to give 100% of my attention to. I chose baking. The company was also doing layoffs in another department, and all of the employees had been placed in other positions except for one. Employees had until the end of the week to find a position or be laid off, so I decided to give up my job so that someone else wouldn't lose theirs.  

Two years ago, Project Row Houses gave me an opportunity to have my first ever storefront. It was during Round 43: Small Business/Big Change that I, with the help of artist Anthony Suber, turned the row house into a modern-day general store called Crumbville, Texas. I didn't really know what to expect, but over the course of the Round, Crumbville became a sort of community center. We hosted artists, musicians, and even authors from the community. The only problem was that the closing came too soon!  

Fortunately, as the Round came to an end, a spot opened up in PRH's small business incubator, and they offered me a space in the Historic Eldorado Building. It's been a year since we moved in, and all I can say is that it's been incredible. From people in the community coming through and now having Emancipation Park re-opened, the experience has been amazing!  

Cupcakes and cookies will sell anywhere, even if it's an online store, but having a space here – in this building and in this community – is special. I don't always see enough faces like mine in the businesses that open around here. Emancipation Avenue used to be filled with innovative black business owners and thanks to the work of Project Row Houses and the Emancipation Economic Development Council, it is starting to again, and I'm hopeful that it will only increase from here.  

PRH provides much needed support to this historic community by empowering individuals like myself and enabling us to fulfill our dreams and aspirations.  

I hope that you'll join me in supporting PRH's small business incubation program and their many other community enrichment initiatives by clicking here to become a member today. Your membership will provide an invaluable service to creative entrepreneurs like me, and ensure that Houston remains at the forefront of innovative artist communities.   

Thank you,  

Ella Russell 

Artsy: How Black Artists, Dealers, and Collectors Are Boosting the Careers of Their Younger Peers

Full article by Antwaun Sargent

Of course, the rise of black-owned spaces has impact far beyond the market, and many prominent non-profit spaces, such as Rick Lowe’s Houston-based Project Row Houses and artist Mark Bradford’s Los Angeles-based Art + Practice, are positioned as “social sculpture,” an expanded concept of art coined by the German Fluxus artist Joseph Beuys, who sought to use art to address societal issues. The Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates described his 20,000-square-foot art space, library, and cultural center Stony Island Arts Bank, in the city’s low-income and largely African-American South Side, as “a demonstration of our self-reliance, self-determinism, and worth.”

This program really did save my life.


As we gather with our friends and loved ones during this special time of year, we have so much to celebrate. I'd like to take some time to share with you why I'm so grateful for Project Row Houses and the Young Mothers Residential Program. 

In 1996, I was 21 years old with my seven-month-old daughter, Dyani. I was unemployed, living from place to place, and had recently been charged with petty theft, and I had no clear direction in life and no clue what to do next.  Then a member of my church told me about the Project Row Houses Young Mothers Residential Program (YMRP), and I was accepted to join. At the time, I had no idea how this program would completely change the trajectory of my life.

When I moved onto the site and started attending the YMRP workshops and interacting with the PRH community, I discovered that what my life had been sorely lacking was a sense of community. PRH provided a myriad of resources through YMRP, including sewing classes, self-esteem workshops, mentorship luncheons and the Black Parenting Series with Dr. Nelda Lewis— all facilitated by people that lived and worked in the Third Ward Community — my new home.

My favorite part of the program was the sisterhood. YMRP taught me that I was an integral member of a larger community and how to access those communal networks for the support I needed. I learned to lean on my community members while providing a shoulder for them to lean on as well. 

Fast forward to today, I have a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. I’ve been a homeowner for ten years and have two beautiful, intelligent daughters, Dyani and Nya. Dyani is now a sophomore at Savannah College of Art and Design, and Nya is about to begin her freshman year at Texas Tech, studying Computer Engineering. The Young Mothers Residential Program and Dr. Nelda Lewis’ Black Parenting Workshops made me the parent that I am today, and I work hard to pass on what I’ve learned to my daughters.

I think back on my days at Project Row Houses a lot, looking at the person I was and the person I’ve become. I learned the importance of building community and how to support others as they support me – a lesson that I continue to live by today. My two years at PRH in the Young Mother’s Residential Program taught me that I can create community—no matter where I go. 

Today, I’m asking you to become a member of PRH’s Community of Supporters. Members keep the community thriving by allowing Project Row Houses to continue its incredible work with young, single mothers and other residents of the Third Ward.

Earlier this summer, two new mothers joined me as alumni of the program, and two new mothers and their children are starting the program moving into their homes this month. I’m so thankful that this program is continuing to provide invaluable support to single moms in Houston, and I hope you will join me in supporting these women and our community by clicking here and becoming a member today.  

Your generosity will help provide the tools and support to the current mothers and children in the program and help them to grow and create their own community much like when I started my journey 22 years ago at PRH.  

Thank you for your support,

Candice Wilson