Edra Soto and Gabriel Martinez to Be Part of 2:2:2 Exchange

Presented by Project Row Houses and Hyde Park Art Center

Houston, TX and Chicago, IL – Project Row Houses (PRH) and Hyde Park Art Center are pleased to announce the second iteration of their artist residency exchange program. The initiative, titled 2:2:2 Exchange, features an interchange between two artists, one based in Houston, TX, and one based in Chicago, IL. 

The 2:2:2 Exchange sends Chicago-based artist Edra Soto to Project Row Houses in Houston from April 10 - May 26, 2017 and will conclude with Houston-based artist Gabriel Martinez participating in the Jackman Goldwasser Residency at Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago from July 13 – August 30, 2017. Additional programming announcements to follow. 

“2:2:2 Exchange offers a transformative opportunity for artists and community-focused institutions in different cities to work together to advance the field of social practice,” said Megha Ralapati, Residency Manager at Hyde Park Art Center. “The empowering, community-based work taking place in Houston is both sympathetic and distinct from what we are doing in Chicago and we believe that each artist will benefit from experiencing these different perspectives.”

This collaboration brings artists who work directly inside communities in socially engaged, site-specific practices to new communities with the goal of expanding their artistic practice in the context of a new city. Both Houston and Chicago provide a dynamic, diverse urban space that is rich with artistic engagement. Through the second iteration of this residency exchange, Project Row Houses and Hyde Park Art Center aim to provide an opportunity for artists to research localized ways of thinking and creating in a different city to enhance their practices at home.

“Creating environments that foster resilient artist networks is central to the mission of both Project Row Houses and Hyde Park Art Center. Through 2:2:2 Exchange, Edra and Gabriel are given the opportunity to diversify their networks and deepen the ways in which they work and collaborate,” said Ryan N. Dennis, Public Art Director at Project Row Houses. “I am excited to see how the artists work together throughout their time in each city.”

Artist Bios:

Gabriel Martinez lives and works in Houston. He graduated with an MFA from Columbia University and attended the Whitney Independent Study Program before moving to Houston as a Core Fellow and artist-in-residence at Project Row Houses. He is the director of Alabama Song and a Friend of Angela Davis Park.

Edra Soto is a Chicago-based artist, educator, curator, and gallery director. She obtained her Master of Fine Arts degree at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2000, as well as attending Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Beta-Local in Puerto Rico, and most recently the Robert Rauschenberg Residency Program in Captiva, Florida though a 3Arts Fellowship. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.

About the Organizations:

Project Row Houses

Project Row Houses (PRH) is a community-based arts and culture non-profit organization in Houston’s northern Third Ward, one of the city’s oldest African American neighborhoods. The mission of Project Row Houses is to be the catalyst for transforming community through the celebration of art and African-American history and culture.

Hyde Park Art Center

Founded in 1939, Hyde Park Art Center is a unique resource that advances contemporary visual art in Chicago by connecting artists and communities across the city’s diverse landscape in unexpected ways. As an open forum for exploring the artistic process, the Art Center fosters creativity through making, learning about, seeing, and discussing art—all under one roof. 

Full Press Release

Round 46: Black Women Artists For Black Lives Matter at Project Row Houses

For Immediate Release

Project Row Houses Welcomes Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter to Houston, Highlights Issues of Race, Activism, and Self-Determination

Houston, TX – February 27, 2017 - Project Row Houses (PRH) is excited to present its 46th Round of artist installations, collectively titled Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter at Project Row Houses. Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter (BWAforBLM) is a collective of Black women, queer, and gender non-conforming artists formed in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The collective was originally organized during contemporary artist Simone Leigh’s residency at the New Museum in New York City.  In order to highlight and disavow the pervasive conditions of racism, they have since committed themselves to producing work that addresses the interdependence of care and action, invisibility and visibility, self-defense and self-determination, and desire and possibility. 

At Project Row Houses, BWAforBLM will utilize the seven art houses on PRH’s site as a platform for public dialogue. By engaging the Third Ward and greater Houston community, they hope to create a space to discuss issues that impact the lives and movement of Black people.

Installations will consist of a collection of joy and grief flags that cover the interior of the spaces, allowing viewers to participate by contributing strips of fabric inscribed with moments of grief and joy or desires they would like to manifest; altars for surviving and thriving, establishing space for examining liberation, contemplation and action; ephemera and a typographic exterior installation; performances including but not limited to gestures, sound installations and processions and rituals to explore transformation and language justice; and short video work and installation-based work by the many women of Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter. Other art houses will present opportunities for the public to host meetings to creatively respond  to our nation’s current political climate.

“I am not only thrilled but honored to work with so many brilliant women artists on shaping Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter at Project Row Houses,” said Ryan N. Dennis, public art director at PRH. Dennis points to the fact that while the co-mingling of art and activism is nothing new, it is timely and of the utmost importance for artists and spaces to speak to the issues that we face as a society. “Right now, we are in the fight of our lives, and art is a conduit for us to communicate and have meaningful conversations. This Round not only allows us to see the work of prominent black contemporary artists but forces people to face the issues that impact Black life in America.”

“We are delighted to locate ourselves in all seven of the art houses at Project Row Houses,” artist Simone Leigh stated. “We will use the Round to reflect on our recent projects and to organize for the future.” She added that the group plans to collaborate with black women artists in Houston, forming a local chapter and hosting a closing event.

Representative images are available here. Caption: Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter occupy the New Museum for their first performative action, Photo by Madeleine Hunt Ehrlich

Round 46: Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter at Project Row Houses is co-curated by Ryan N. Dennis and Simone Leigh. The Round will be on view from March 25 - June 4, 2017. The opening reception will be held on March 25, 2017 from 4-7pm at the art houses, 2505-2517 Holman St.

Full Press Release

UH McGovern College of the Arts and Project Row Houses Launch Fellowship Program 

UH McGovern College of the Arts and Project Row Houses Launch Fellowship Program

 Research Aims to Better Integrate Arts into Communities

HOUSTON [February 9, 2017]- The University of Houston Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts (CotA) and Project Row Houses (PRH) have created a pilot fellowship program that builds upon the practice, research and implementation of socially-engaged art projects and the impact these projects have in transforming communities. 

The fellowship program invites artists and cultural practitioners to the Third Ward to work alongside urban planners, educators and policy makers. They will engage in creative collaborations that involve the Third Ward community and address issues important to them. The fellowship unites more the than 20 years of work in community-engaged art done by PRH with the intellectual and educational capacity of Houston’s largest arts college. The McGovern College of the Arts has more than 1,500 students and a mission to positively shape the world through art.

“Project Row Houses has been working in Houston’s Third Ward for over two decades, investigating and reimagining what lies at the intersection of art and community engagement,” said Eureka Gilkey, PRH executive director. “We are beyond thrilled to work with the College of the Arts to share our knowledge and are very hopeful that this will have a long-term impact on the arts and a range of communities across the country.”

“We believe that the key to improving our society and positively shaping our world is to integrate the arts into our communities,” said Andrew Davis, interim dean of the McGovern College of the Arts. “One of our top priorities in the College of the Arts is to train students for real-world, socially engaged experiences as artists working to better their communities.”

The fellowship is funded through a $100,000 gift from Texas philanthropist Suzanne Deal Booth, which also supports future public programs to promote community engagement. 

The first class of fellows will be introduced during a public launch 6-8 p.m., Thursday, February 16 at the Historic Eldorado Ballroom Boardroom, 2310 Elgin St., Houston, TX 77004.

About the fellows:

Carol Zou is a Texas-based artist who will use the fellowship period to investigate the displacement of artists from metropolitan art centers like New York and Los Angeles to up-and-coming art cities like Houston, and how this regional displacement has the potential to affect local gentrification trends. She will engage with artist-led initiatives such as Project Row Houses' Emancipation Economic Development Council to research strategies of resisting displacement.

Carrie Schneider is a Houston-based artist interested in people’s ability to reimagine their space. She uses art to invent ceremony and reconfigure memory. For the CotA-PRH Fellowship, Schneider will examine the idea of Survival Creativity – amending the adage that "the greatest creativity comes from the most dire circumstances" to consider what support that allows silence to break.  She is looking to the broad Houston community for creative processes in which personal coping strategies are successfully translated into public catharsis and stories of trauma transformed into speech acts.

Schneider and Zou will have a year-long mentorship with UH School of Art professor and Project Row Houses founder Rick Lowe along with project administrators Sixto Wagan, director of the UH Center for Art and Social Engagement, and Ryan N. Dennis, PRH public art director.  Local artists, faculty members, community members and selected leaders will offer their support during this process. The Fellows will present to the public their research–to-date at the end of their fellowship.  

Photo available for download here.

Photo: (l-r) Sixto Wagan, Carrie Schneider, Rick Lowe, Carol Zou and Ryan N. Dennis in front of Project Row Houses.

About Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts

The Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts (CotA) brings the performing and visual arts entities at the University of Houston together to harness the power of the arts to ultimately impact our world. Our award-winning, internationally distinguished faculty provides top-quality instruction to the talented, emerging student artists from more than thirty programs of study. CotA believes in the importance of reimagining the possibilities of creative practices to positively impact the community and to empower our students to use their talents to change the world.

About Project Row Houses

Project Row Houses (PRH) is a community-based arts and culture non-profit organization in Houston’s northern Third Ward, one of the city’s oldest African American neighborhoods. The mission of Project Row Houses is to be the catalyst for transforming community through the celebration of art and African-American history and culture. Learn more at ProjectRowHouses.org

Emancipation Economic Development Council receives $460,000 from Kinder Foundation 
to fund community impact projects

Contact: Bianca Mahmood, Project Row Houses
bmahmood@projectrowhouses.org; 713-526-7662  

Emancipation Economic Development Council receives $460,000 from Kinder Foundation
to fund community impact projects

Gift will go toward Emancipation Park area programs preserving and revitalizing the area

HOUSTON – January 25, 2017 – The Emancipation Economic Development Council (EEDC), a collaborative of organized and informed organizations committed to the revitalization of Houston’s Third Ward, with Project Row Houses announced today their receipt of a $460,000 gift from the Kinder Foundation. The money will fund the seven “early impact projects” in the area, creating tangible and positive near-term momentum:

  • Young Mothers Employment Placement Pilot Program, connecting young Third Ward mothers to proximate and viable job opportunities as a pilot for a broader-based employment program for area residents;
  • EEDC Community Wealth Building Symposium, bringing together local residents, anchor institutions, foundations, city, county, and state officials to foster partnerships that create long-term, sustainable employment for local residents and opportunities for local businesses;
  • Emancipation Avenue Design Charrette and Projects, providing a venue for collaborative reimagination of the Emancipation Avenue commercial corridor;
  • Community Development Corporation and Non-Profit Capacity Building, equipping Third Ward CDCs to develop affordable housing to meet community needs;
  • Micro-Housing Feasibility Study and Prototype, conducting research into the financial feasibility of and community receptivity to small, affordable housing units leading to the construction of a prototype of this type of housing;
  • Resident Housing Rights/Protection and Community Land Trust Awareness, fostering a dialogue about housing rights, community land trusts, permanent affordability, and the mechanisms for enabling long-term residents to remain in the community;
  • Neighborhood Cleanup and Economic Opportunity Initiative, forming a neighborhood cleanup team staffed by residents of northern Third Ward timed to occur prior to the grand reopening of Emancipation Park in June 2017.

“When it seemed like the neighborhood was at a tipping point, our community saw an opportunity. We wanted to reimagine the development process to be inclusive of both Third Ward's history and long-term residents,” said Eureka Gilkey, executive director of Project Row Houses. “We are grateful to the Kinder Foundation for recognizing and supporting this opportunity to equip Third Ward leaders and residents with the tools needed to build a revitalized community and preserve its historic legacy.”

Nancy Kinder, president of the Kinder Foundation said, “The Foundation is committed to long-term support of a ‘boots-on-the-ground’ approach to convening neighbors who are ready and willing to preserve and revitalize the Emancipation Park area. Our partnership spent much of 2016 making plans for positive change in the area, and these projects are the first evidence that our real goal is action that benefits our community partners.”

In 2016, the Kinder Foundation, Houston Endowment, and Project Row Houses together established the Emancipation Community Development Partnership (ECDP). The ECDP’s work supports EEDC’s by specifically focusing on making recommendations for adjustments to public policy at the local, state and possibly federal levels; public, private and non-profit investment strategies; community-based organizational work; and adoption of improved models for public services. Read more about the ECDP here.

About Emancipation Economic Development Council

Emancipation Economic Development Council is an organized, informed and engaged collaborative of faith-based organizations, nonprofits, community development corporations, businesses, local government entities and other stakeholders with a mission to inspire hope and contribute to the revitalization and preservation of the historic Third Ward. For more information, visit emancipationhouston.org.