FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Small Business / Big Change
Economic Perspectives from Artists and Artrepreneurs
Opening + Market: October 24, 2015 | 4-7pm
On view: October 24, 2015 – February 28, 2016
Artists’ Walkthrough: October 24, 2015 | 2:30 – 4pm
Houston, TX – September 23, 2015 – Houston, like many cities, flows through cycles of gentrification. The various stages of this cycle can be seen throughout the City currently, but they are only truly felt by those displaced. From the Project Row Houses (PRH) site, the encroachment of this cycle is evident in the razed lots and corporate signs (Future Site of Townhouses | Grand Opening!) that dot the landscape. The Third Ward community now finds itself entering a new stage of economic development, but enduring storefronts remind us of how the neighborhood once functioned.
Reflecting on this state of affairs, PRH presents Round 43: Small Business/Big Change: Economic Perspectives from Artists and Artrepreneurs. “This Round is very exciting because, as it states in the title, we are presenting different perspectives on the values of small business,” said Public Art Director Ryan N. Dennis. Through this Round, PRH invites viewers to actively engage with both creative entrepreneurs and visual artists who address economic issues within their practice. Round 43 poses the following questions: How are strategies for economic sustainability played out from the individuals to the collective? How, within a neighborhood being gentrified, do we push against big-business models that so easily find their way into small neighborhoods without supplying any forms of support to small business? Historically, what successful economic models and values have been used that might lay the foundation for future development?
“The context of the Round is especially relevant now as cities start to think about neighborhood sustainability,” Dennis stated. “We are in a moment when we have to remember what was done in the past and create contemplative spaces that allow communities to re-center. We want to inspire movement and support for individuals who are putting in the work as a small business owner or investigating ideas of economic sustainability through art. That’s what we’re striving for with this Round.”
Building off of PRH’s longstanding value of economic sustainability, Small Business/Big Change utilizes art as a method and lens of social change to explore these ideas and question the current economic models within a neighborhood context. Throughout the viewing period, creative entrepreneurs will be given the tools needed to grow their businesses, and artists will be invited to respond to these topics through site-specific installations and programming.
Participating artists include Nsenga Knight, Shani Peters, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Martine Syms (in collaboration with Diamond Stingily), Charisse Weston and small business owners Ella Russell and Fredia Mitchell. In conjunction with the Round, a series of public programs will also be created to initiate dialogue around economic sustainability in resource-challenged neighborhoods.
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