Round 34

A Matter of Food

March 26 – June 19, 2011

Participating artists: Tarsha M. Gary, Toni Tipton-Martin, Michael Pribich, Jorge Rojas, RootDown H-Town, Luanne Stovall, Tattfoo Tan

Curated by Project Row Houses’ Ashley Clemmer Hoffman (Public Art Manager) and Linda Shearer (Executive Director), Round 34 focuses on the power of FOOD. Artists, chefs, historians, nutritionists, and gardeners have been invited to explore an array of food-related topics that include the labor conditions that bring us readily accessible food, the process of urban farming and sustainable practice, the role of food in our belief systems and daily rituals, the image of the African American cook, and the recipes that are passed down from generation to generation preserving cultural heritage and family legacy.

Over the years, Project Row Houses has shaped itself in response to the needs identified within the Northern Third Ward community. When Michelle Obama began addressing her concern around “Food Deserts, areas with little to no access to healthy fruits and vegetables,” PRH was able to relate. With over forty households now living on our ten-block site, some of them without regular transportation, the lack of accessible, healthy and affordable food is a growing concern. A year ago a group of residents and artists responded to this need by forming the GreenHouse Collective, and exploring the practice of aquaponic and raised bed gardening on PRH’s site. Simultaneously, another community-based garden, ECOTONE, situated one block away, has emerged and is thriving. Healthy cafes and food trucks are slowly getting established, farmers markets and co-ops are becoming more available and the idea of a community grocery store at PRH is being discussed.

Round 34: A Matter of FOOD emerged as an opportunity to not only address issues of nutrition, accessibility and sustainable urban farming practices but to also celebrate how food traditions enrich lives, create connections and preserve history both in our Third Ward community and beyond. In researching the many creative practitioners who are exploring food-related topics, the role of food in our belief systems surfaced along with social justice issues around food production.

Round 34 explores some of the very intricate ways in which food affects, sustains, and improves our lives. Our hope is that it can serve as an educational vehicle, creating awareness, bringing people together and providing opportunities for dialogue.