Houstonia: ROUND 49 Exploring Shadows and Light at Project Row Houses

Full article by Brittanie Shey 

“THIS PIECE has a lot to do with healing through joy and through hope,” says Charo Oquet.

The Dominican artist is standing in the middle of her installation inside 2515 Holman Street, one of the Project Row Houses buildings. The work, titled Written on Skin and Sacred Gestures, incorporates planks of wood, glass bottles filled with dyed water, large scraps of colorful fabric, and talisman-like sculptures, all climbing up a path into the middle of the room. The installation does evoke a feeling of joy, or maybe a feeling of accomplishment, as though one has scaled a large mountain.

Houstonia: Pay Phones Are About to Make a Third Ward Comeback

Full article by Brittanie Shey

THINK BACK TO THE LAST TIME YOU USED A PAY PHONE. The once-ubiquitous structures have been supplanted by cell phones, but a few remaining booths in the Third Ward will soon find new life as art objects, thanks to Project Row Houses.

Three phone booths, sprinkled across North Third Ward, will feature the voices and sounds of The Tre. The booths have been hacked electronically, and transformed into sculptures through painting and metalwork. Now callers can press buttons 1-9 to hear recordings, or press the star button, zero, or pound sign to record and hear messages from other callers, plus the project’s statement of purpose. The phones create a new kind of connection.

Houstonia: 22 Nonprofits Worthy of Your Time, Money, or Both

Project Row Houses

Twenty-five years ago, seven African American artists bought a block and a half of rundown shotgun houses in the Third Ward, restored them, and turned them into a work of living art called Project Row Houses. Today some serve as artist studios or exhibition spaces, while others are home to single mothers; the nonprofit has expanded, getting into social work while offering free art classes and a host of other programs. The original block of homes, now considered a “social sculpture,” is featured in a permanent display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. This month PRH will take a group of Third Ward children to D.C. to see it. “Your neighborhood may not have all the resources of a River Oaks or a West U, but your neighborhood is important,” executive director Eureka Gilkey likes to tell them. “And here it is in this national museum not even a block from the White House.”

Houstonia: Project Row Houses Trains Its Lens on the Third Ward

Full article by Shafaq Patel

WHEN BRIAN ELLISON MOVED FROM TULSA TO HOUSTON EIGHT YEARS AGO, he was in search of a community that felt like home—until he got to the Third Ward. That’s where he found a welcoming community where strangers wave at each other, neighbors know one another, and business owners in establishments like NuWaters Co-Op and Crumbville remember their customers. All of this reminded Ellison of what he had back in Oklahoma, and he said he wanted to show the beauty he experienced in the neighborhood. So, he directed A Day in the Tr3.

His seven-minute film follows a young man named Dominique Elam through the gentrifying Third Ward while capturing scenes of everyday beauty like elders playing dominoes on the porch, a woman dancing in church, and the ubiquitous rubble that piled up after Harvey. He shot the film as part of his artist residency program at Project Row Houses, the storied Third Ward organization that’s used its smattering of row homes as a neighborhood center for museum-quality galleries, affordable housing, a small-business incubator, and more for 25 years.

Houstonia: Welcome to Crumbville, Texas

Full article by Katharine Schilcutt

“COME ON IN!” Ella Russell calls out from behind the counter, greeting a visitor to her Third Ward bakery, located just inside the Eldorado Ballroom on Elgin. “Welcome to Crumbville!” Before she knows it, the visitor’s swept in for a smile and a hug. Russell embraces everyone, even strangers—especially strangers—drawing them out of their shells and into discussions, even if they’re just discussions about which cookie they’ll inevitably purchase: her best-selling neon-pink Cookie Minaj (strawberry-oatmeal with white chocolate chips), her vegan Oreo, or a “stuffed cup,” a plump cupcake with a cookie baked inside.