art21: The Poetry of Everyday Life: An Interview with Project Row Houses Director Eureka Gilkey

Full article by Lindsey Davis


Lindsey Davis: How do you balance PRH’s arts initiatives with the social services it provides? Is there a magic formula for providing both?

Eureka Gilkey: For the most part, Project Row Houses doesn’t directly provide social services. We are focused on long-term, sustainable development for both individuals and ideas. The closest program to direct services would be our Young Mothers Residential Program (YMRP), which empowers low-income single mothers and their children to achieve self-sufficient lives while fostering a sense of interdependence: the idea that you can lean on others in the community and be there for them to lean on, too. Many people confuse us for a social-service organization because our work has a similar effect, of neighborhood transformation, but we consider such effects to come through the process of developing a social sculpture. A more successful, equipped neighborhood is the sculpture we are building together, and that requires access to resources as well as creative thinking and drawing new patterns.