Houston Chronicle: Why you're going to see pay phones along Emancipation Avenue in Houston

Full article by Craig Hlavaty


Pay phones have largely gone extinct, a relic of a time when we didn't have the world glued to our hands 24 hours a day. An art project on Houston's east end is bringing pay phones back on the block for a new educational purpose.

Project Row Houses' new "The TréPhonos" installation from art engineer Matt Fries, sculptor Julian Luna, and photographer and social sculpture artist Jeanette Degollado will see the placement of three pay phones along Emancipation Avenue, each with a special artistic twist. The goal of the project is to highlight the culture of Houston's Third Ward.

One pay phone ("TréMixTape") will play music recorded by local musicians from the neighborhood. A second phone ("TréSonic") will feature ambient noise and sounds with an option for those that interact with the installation to leave messages for one another. The third phone ("TréPhonos Sankofa") will be a collaborative project with area creatives and residents telling stories about the history of the neighborhood. All the phones will be solar-powered to boot.

Houston Chronicle: Art Daybook: Third Ward as Monopoly game

Full article by Molly Glentzer


The current round of installations, "The Act of Doing," examines how the 2-year-old Emancipation Economic Development Council, which the Project co-founded, is dealing with rapid gentrification. One house contains an informative and dense timeline display. Nikita Hodge's Tre Chic pop-up boutique occupies another house, selling goods by black artists and artisans on Saturdays. Several of the other houses feature evocative video installations.

But Newsome hits it out of the park - passing "Go" and then some - by presenting the story of Third Ward's real-estate scramble as a Monopoly game.

Newsome calls himself a smart-aleck with a weird sense of humor. But the pain of this satirical game is real. He grew up in Third Ward, returned as an adult and bought his own fixer-upper home on Southmore about 12 years ago. That place, where he's invested so much sweat equity, now costs him more every year in property taxes, as values skyrocket.

Houston Chronicle: The Third Ward's fight to manage gentrification

Full article by Leah Binkovitz


The role these groups could play crystallized for Eureka Gilkey, executive director of Project Row Houses, when the community-based, non-profit arts organization began working with the Emancipation Economic Development Council and a group of architecture and planning students and professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last year. The team determined that the churches, non-profits and public entities in the area owned roughly a quarter of the land in Third Ward.

“We’re definitely at a critical point,” Gilkey said, of the large portion of property owned by public entities and nonprofits. “Developers and funders are looking at this and seeing this is a game-changer.” And the community is beginning to see a way to hold on to their neighborhood.

“When we talk to other cities about the work that has already been done,” she said, “they’re amazed.”

Houston Chronicle: Regina Agu gets the drift at Project Row Houses

Full article by Molly Glentzer


Regina Agu's minimal and elegant "Sargassum" installation at Project Row Houses quietly consumes the single-room space at 2511 Holman with an 80-foot curtain that wraps around three walls, containing a panoramic photographic print of a grass-lined beach.

The title hints that this isn't just an inventive way to display a landscape: Sargassum is the genus of brown seaweed that Galveston visitors know all too well.

The image is printed on billboard vinyl, a material that's also used to advertise seaside attractions. It depicts four experimental sand dunes Texas A&M environmental scientists built on East Beach after the massive seaweed invasion of 2014, studying ways to use the invasive plants as a tool for slowing erosion.

Houston Chronicle: Artists honor music as gateway to expression

Full article by Molly Glentzer


His deliberately informal "Jazz Church" leads visitors on a ramble through several rooms that mix his own work with album covers, concert fliers, news clippings and other ephemera - a riot of information that could provide a pretty rich education, if you had time to absorb it all.

Malone also has organized a few intimate, live performances in the space, limiting the free tickets to 35 seats, "so people can feel like they've won the lottery," he said.