Free Press Houston: Project Row Houses Celebrates 25 Years With Public Art-Filled Summer

Full article by Paul Middendorf


In the heart of the Third Ward, and deep set into a community, is a set of row houses acting as a creative circulatory system for its neighbors and the city of Houston. The style of houses originated in West Africa and eventually found its way to the US following the slave trade. The row houses are still seen today in local regions such as New Orleans and Houston. Clustered close together, and often times in disrepair, they’re often found in regions of poverty and segregation. But where most people saw buildings in disrepair, a group of visionary African-American artists saw the potential of them as a place of positive, creative and transformative experiences.

Free Press Houston: VISUAL VERNACULAR: DEVON GRIGSBY

Full article by Meghan Hendley-Lopez


For Devon Grigsby, past endeavors include her years as a medic in the United States Army after high school and her time as a manager with Harley-Davidson. Art has always been a part of her life in some form or another, and now, as a student at University of Houston, Grigsby has taken it upon herself to truly study sculpture. Initially she was enrolled as a painting student, but has since shifted to incorporating found and unwanted objects into her work. Constructing these found pieces into new forms, Grigsby offers commentary on the rapidly changing ways of communication with the speedy decline of personal interaction.

Challenging her audience to communicate through traditional means, Grigsby’s work beckons one to interact with it and possibly question such radical societal changes. Creating organic dialogue instead of the common stale screen shuffle, Grigsby reminds us that social communication holds so much more when lifted away from technology. During her time as a resident at Project Row Houses, she’s had the opportunity to use a living space to resonate her concept and hitting home the facts of interaction. Grigsby was kind enough to answer some questions about her work as well as her time at Project Row Houses.

Free Press Houston: VISUAL VERNACULAR: HUIDI XIANG

Full article by Meghan Hendley-Lopez


Born in Chengdu, China, Huidi Xiang has expanded her love of design and visual art over the course of her current collegiate career at Rice University. A double major in both studio art and architecture, Xiang brings together elements of sculpture, photography, and video to test conflicting ideas along with displaying the outcomes of visual experiments. Private emotion, public domain, personal interpretations, and subjective feelings all flow together into a broader context transmitting straight to the viewer. During her time at Project Row Houses this summer, Xiang has taken these artistic concepts and expanded them into the thoughts of community.

Free Press Houston: The Revolution Will Not Be Painterly

Full Article by Harbeer Sandhu


But if social practices is the subject, then there’s no better example anywhere than Project Row Houses. The current round of installations, Shattering the Concrete: Artists, Activists and Instigators, at Project Row Houses “explor[es] the role that art can play in challenging our current political paradigm and fomenting political change.”

[museum 006] My favorite is “Mining the HMNS” — a collaboration between New York based climate activists Not An Alternative and local environmental justice organization T.E.J.A.S.  (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, with whom Free Press Houston collaborated on a series of articles last year). “Mining the HMNS,” is a logical offshoot of Not An Alternative’s ongoing project The Natural History Museum, which questions and unpacks the assumptions-presented-as-fact by Houston’s Museum of Natural Science — specifically the way the largely-funded-by-oil-and-gas-corporations HMNS might be “a [public relations]front for the fossil fuel industry.”

Free Press Houston: ARTHUR JAFA: DREAMS ARE COLDER THAN DEATH

Full Article by Lauren Zoë


On November 14th, The Houston Cinema Arts Festival and Project Row Houses presented filmmaker and acclaimed cinematographer Arthur Jafa for a screening of Dreams are Colder Than Death followed by an artist talk.

Arthur Jafa has worked as a cinematographer on several films including the highly acclaimed films Crooklyn (1994) and Daughters of the Dust (1991). His recent documentary, Dreams are Colder than Death is described as an exceptional “stream of black consciousness” with soft slow visuals studying the black experience and unique stories of each person being interviewed. Shot and edited in six weeks in several cities, Jafa described wanting to make a movie about the black experiences of through an unfiltered lens. The film felt more authentic than a “scripted” documentary. He says he wanted his participants to say what they know, not what they think. Black people tend to have a very particular survival strategy when presented with the white gaze. He mentions, “pointing the camera is the white gaze.”