Texas Observer: The Sisterhood

Full article by Roxanna Asgarian

When Joidan Felix went off to college in 2014, she had a plan: She wanted to become an accountant. A knack for numbers had helped Felix ace her accounting classes in the business magnet program at Houston’s Westside High School. That led to an internship in Halliburton’s tax department her senior year. “It just came naturally,” she said. “I think it’s what I’m meant to do.”

But she struggled to adjust when she moved to Wichita Falls, an almost six-hour drive from her home and family, to attend Midwestern State University. Felix was failing her accounting class, even with a tutor. A first-generation college student, she was also having a hard time getting her financial aid squared away. And in the winter of her sophomore year, she unexpectedly got pregnant. When she told the father, he abruptly cut off contact with her. Angry, scared and ashamed, she dropped out of school and took a job at a shoe store. She was homesick and lonely, and didn’t tell her family or friends about the baby until she was seven months pregnant. “Expectations were so high, it was so much pressure,” she said. “I just didn’t know how to come out and say, ‘Hey, I’m pregnant.’”

Felix moved back home with her mother in southwest Houston in July 2016 and gave birth to her son, Jair, that September. She couldn’t afford her own place, so for the next three years she stayed with her mom, taking the bus to her job at a call center. Her salary barely covered the cost of childcare. A few months ago, her mother announced she was moving to Katy, leaving Felix, who doesn’t have a car, without a way to get to work. Felix realized she needed help.

Defender: Project Row Houses CommuniTea

Full post by Aswad Walker

Project Row Houses celebrated its 25th Anniversary with Communi-Tea, an event highlighting its Young Mothers Residential Program (YMRP). The event commemorated the legacy of lives positively impacted by YMRP over the years. People came donning everything from hats and sandals to sundresses and kente while enjoying fun, fellowship and uplifting words from YMRP members and alumni. Attendees included PRH founder Rick Lowe and supporters of all levels, like Andrew SpeckhardDevaron and Tiffani YatesEureka GilkeyRyan DennisMunirah OlabisiMarc NewsomeStephanie JacksonZeinab BakhietJosie PickensBreonna Goode and many more.

365 Houston: 5 Must Do Things in the Third Ward

Full article by Brooke Viggiano

  1. Support the Project Row Houses – Founded in 1993, this inspiring community-based arts and culture organization transformed a group of shotgun houses into art studios. Today, the organization continues to showcase some truly incredible local artworks while preserving, revitalizing, and empowering one of the oldest African American neighborhoods in the city. The space is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5pm. Tours of the Project Row Houses site are available with docents every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 1pm and 3pm. Click here for directions.

PaperCity: Houston’s Under-the-Radar Art Havens

Full article by Annie Gallay

This inspired arts organization is intrinsically tied to its home, the Third Ward. Seven African-American artists launched the creative community 25 years ago. Their vision transformed a row of dilapidated shotgun houses along Holman into vibrant arts venues that defy conventional exhibition definitions.

Exhibition space typically refers to a traditional, formal white cube, Project Row Houses curator Ryan N. Dennis notes. At Project Row Houses, the exhibitions are called “rounds,” and they’re extremely informal and open-ended.

“They’re very diverse,” Dennis says. “The beautiful thing about the installations is that those houses transform to include films, paintings, sculpture, photography. All different types of mediums exist there.”

LOCAL: Onward and Upward: Strengthening Families at Project Row Houses

Photography by Collin Kelly

Photography by Collin Kelly

Full article by Beth Levine

The past year has been monumental for the empowerment of women. Can you tell us a little bit about what empowerment means to Project Row Houses (PRH)? Empowerment at Project Row Houses takes many forms. In many cases we are seeking sustainability and creating new ways for people to see themselves and others differently, whether they are artists, young mothers, the residents in our community or small business owners. We support people and their ideas so that they can go on to do the same.

PRH is also responsible for the Young Mothers Residential Program (YMRP), a section of group houses dedicated to single low-income mothers and their children. What led to this much-needed program? Like many of our programs, YMRP developed in response to the needs of the community. The program was designed to foster both independence and interdependence. While we want the mothers and their children to achieve self-sufficiency, we also want them to know that they are part of a community, that they have people there to lean on and that they are there for others to lean on. We all go through hardship, but we don’t have to go through it alone.