ArtPlace America: 6 Things the Arts Can Do for Housing

Full blog by ArtPlace


Many community-based groups have found that arts-based strategies are crucial in their efforts to stabilize communities that are particularly vulnerable to displacement. Stabilization strategies are most often aimed to support vulnerable populations, weakened by historic or ongoing neglect or uneven funding for individuals and communities of limited means; people of color; Native American communities; and others that are commonly at a disadvantage. These practices are largely experimental and in need of more research, study, experimentation, and funding in order to help community groups develop best practices and achieve long-term stabilization for vulnerable communities and residents.

Example: Project Row Houses, Houston, TX. 

This early practitioner of arts-based cultural and community-based housing development, is focused on the preservation of a mixed income African American community in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Houston. PRH began in the 1980’s as a project by and for local African American artists, and began by salvaging and preserving several vernacular row houses for artists’ studios and galleries. Building on the attention they received as innovative, socially engaged artists, PRH has successfully preserved and developed over 50 units of housing as well as continued to build several spaces for galleries and artists in the culturally historic row house style.