Since its founding, PRH has sought to engage artists in a process that connects them directly with residents, neighborhood institutions, and the environment of a low-income neighborhood. The result is artistic production informed by authentic experiences interacting with community residents creating work about these encounters and situates the conversation in a local-national context, related to contemporary art practice.
About the Public Art Program
Established in 1994, the Public Art Program (PAP) provides opportunities for artists to take risks and experiment in their practice while exploring new ways of working outside of the studio. Through learning the complex history of the neighborhood, connecting with Third Ward residents, and understanding the changes that come with working within this context, artists create site-specific installations that live inside the art houses or the public spaces of the neighborhood.
Artist Rounds are a biannual event, with openings in March and October. Each session lasts approximately four months. During this time period, seven row houses are opened to visiting artists to display their works. Either individual artists or art collectives are welcome to apply. The artist(s) are given two weeks before and one week after to install and deinstall their work. Row houses are open to the public Wednesday – Sunday from noon to 5pm.
The Summer Studios Program was developed to provide an opportunity for emerging artists to create and exhibit work that responds to, engages and/or is reflective of community. This program is open to seven local college/university art students, nominated by their professors and selected by a panel of professional artists. This Program is open to students who are interested in making art in an urban community setting, engaging with the PRH/ Third Ward Community and interacting with established Houston-based artists.
The 2:2:2 Exchange is a new initiative that features an an interchange between two artists, one based in Houston, TX and one in Chicago, IL. This collaboration exposes artists already working with socially engaged, site-specific practices to new communities with the goal of expanding their artistic practice in a new context. Through 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.
Project Row Houses and the University of Houston's College of the Arts 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.
Performing the Neighborhood
Project Row Houses and the University of Houston’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts have launched a five-year partnership to commission major performance-based works by contemporary artists to be presented in and around the PRH site in the Third Ward. Artists will draw upon the neighborhood as well as the often complicated intersection between campus and community. Artists are selected jointly at a rate of one artist per year beginning in 2016 and will present their projects during the Counter Current Festival. Participating artists include Jason Moran, Kevin Beasley, Okwui Okpowasili and many more!
Project/Site is a new, commission-based temporary public art program at Project Row Houses conceived by Public Art Director Ryan N. Dennis. Project/ Site interrogates the landscape of Third Ward by working with artists who explore the history and culture of the neighborhood while expanding their practices beyond the studio, into the streets.
Project/Site’s inaugural project commissioned Houston-based artists Otabenga Jones & Associates to realize OJBKFM Radio, a temporary outdoor community radio station broadcasting from the back of a 1959 pink Cadillac Coupe de Ville. The mobile station sought to defibrillate the Dowling Street Corridor. Once the booming and beating heart of Third Ward, Dowling Street was the concourse of successful businesses and social clubs, Black Nationalists and pan-Africanists, churches and community centers.
The Idea Fund
The Idea Fund provides cash awards to artists at three distinct levels: Spark ($1,000), Catalyst ($4,000), and Stimulus ($7,000) artist-generated, or artist-centered projects that exemplify the unconventional, interventionist, conceptual, entrepreneurial, participatory, or guerrilla artistic practices that occur outside of the traditional frameworks of support. Support is provided for individual artists, curators, collectives, collaboratives, or partnerships from the Houston metro area (Harris, Galveston, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Waller, Chambers, Liberty, and Montgomery counties).
Project Row Houses offers affordable studio space in Delia's Lounge, a building on the PRH site, to artists within the community as a means for them to engage the community as they work and through their work. PRH's current studio artists are Rabéa Ballin, Jessica Fuquay, and Robert Leroy Hodge.
Project proposals should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org and include a written proposal of no more than 1000 words, an artist/curatorial statement describing the scope of your practice/project, a resume or cv, and 10-12 high-res images of artwork. Submissions are reviewed on a quarterly basis.