Saturday, September 8, 2018

Neighborhood Development and the Preservation of a Community

Morning Panel, moderated by Eureka Gilkey, Executive Director, PRH
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

This panel brings together individuals who are pathing a way forward for conscious neighborhood development and work actively to preserve historic buildings in neighborhoods that have been disinvested in. 


  • Irfana Jetha Noorani, 11th Street Bridge Project, Washington DC

  • Pat Jordan, Gem Cultural and Education Center, Kansas City

  • Danielle Burns Wilson, The African American Library at the Gregory School

Lunch and Breakout sessions 

11:30 - 1:00 p.m.

Food trucks will be available on-site along with breakout sessions organized in the Eldorado Building. 

Keynote Address

1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Lisa Dent will present current research on philanthropic and cultural organizations, placing the support of artistic work within a socioeconomic context.  

Beyond Social Practice

Afternoon Panel, moderated by Gia Hamilton, Cultural Producer
2:30 – 4:00 p.m

The panelists will present their individual practices and discuss the broad, often vague definition of "social practice" as well as their observed impact of art and creativity on the community.  


  • Artist Shani Peters, New York based

  • Artist Nathaniel Donnett, Houston based

  • Cultural worker Jen Delos Reyes, Chicago based

Speakers and Panelists

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Jen Delos Reyes

Jen Delos Reyes is a creative laborer, educator, radical community arts organizer, and author of countless emails. She is the director and founder of Open Engagement an artist-led initiative committed to expanding the dialogue around and serving as a site of care for the field of socially engaged art. Delos Reyes currently lives and works in Chicago, IL where she is the Associate Director of the School of Art & Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Lisa Dent

Lisa Dent is an advocate for living artists and cultural workers. Her background includes work in film, theater and the visual arts as a curator, gallerist, writer, production designer and creative producer. She is currently the senior director of cultural production at Powerhouse Workshop, a contemporary arts center and fabrication facility scheduled to open in 2020. Dent was most recently the director of resources & award programs at Creative Capital (2012-2017), leading the financial and advisory services programs and advising artists towards the full realization of their projects. Prior to joining Creative Capital, Lisa was associate curator of contemporary art at the Columbus Museum of Art, where she organized exhibitions including Stephanie Syjuco: Pattern Migration, Currents: Latifa Echakhch,and Supply & Demand. Dent was a Helena Rubenstein Fellow at the Museum of Modern Art and has held curatorial staff positions at the New Museum of Contemporary Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She was director of the Friedrich Petzel Gallery in New York and from 2004-08 owned and managed Lisa Dent Gallery in San Francisco where she presented the work of emerging and mid-career international artists. Dent received her BFA from Howard University, her MFA from NYU, and completed the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in curatorial studies. She has served on several juries and committees and is currently a board member Triple Canopy.

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Nathaniel Donnett

Nathaniel Donnett is a Houston based multi-disciplinary artist who self-identifies as a Dark Imaginarence practitioner. He is interested in human behavior and the psychosocial conditions that shape them. His practice explores the aesthetic and conceptual relationships regarding the human experience regarding societal and spatial concerns. Inspired by Black cultural production, the Black American experience, everyday aesthetics, poetics, and the working class; Donnett, seeks to gain a deeper sense of self and a greater understanding of our society through his practice. 

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Eureka Gilkey

Eureka Gilkey serves as Executive Director of Project Row Houses. Gilkey’s tenure began in 2015, and her work has advanced the realization of PRH’s strategic planning goals and organizational development in significant ways. Prior to joining PRH, Gilkey spent over fifteen years in Washington, D.C. developing and implementing outreach and communications plans and maintaining strategic partnerships among diverse constituencies. Gilkey’s professional experience includes serving as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the 57th Presidential Inaugural as well as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Outreach for the 2012 Democratic National Convention. In 2009, President Obama appointed Gilkey as the White House Liaison for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) where she oversaw recruitment, hiring and onboarding of the agency's Presidential Appointees including those requiring confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Gilkey is a graduate of Howard University and currently resides in Historic Third Ward in Houston, TX.

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Gia Hamilton

Gia is an applied anthropologist who employs Social Magic™ methodology to investigate land, labor and cultural production while examining social connectivity within institutions and community.  As a model builder, Hamilton co-founded an independent African centered school, Little Maroons in 2006; later, she opened a creative incubator space- Gris Gris Lab in 2009 and led the Joan Mitchell Center artist residency program in New Orleans. As the Center Director, Hamilton led the development of the two-acre campus capital project and designed the program as a place based, community centered laboratory for visual artists, curators and the creative community with the belief that imagination and creativity are paramount to creating a more equitable and socially just society. 

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Pat Jordan

As Founder of The Gem Theater Cultural and Performing Arts Center, Pat Jordan spearheaded the re-design and renovation of the Gem Theater in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District in Kansas City, MO. Ms. Jordan then led the operations of the theater; oversaw theatrical and musical productions and marketed the facility to a variety of renters including corporations, production companies and arts organizations. Ms. Jordan oversaw the productions of several original works, including “18th & Vine: The Musical” and “Follow Your Dreams”, the stage play of Bessie Coleman, the first African American pilot in the United States.  That production aired on the local PBS station and PBS affiliates across the country.  She also co-presented August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running” in a split run between White Recital Hall and the Gem Theater venues.  Jordan also co-produced the first “Battle of the Bands” between jazz bands of Kansas City and New Orleans; and presented the Kansas City Symphony with a special appearance by classical pianist Andre Watts.

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Irfana Jetha Noorani

Irfana Jetha Noorani is the Deputy Director of the 11th Street Bridge Park, a public/private partnership between the District of Columbia and the local nonprofit Building Bridges Across the River to build a civic space that spans the Anacostia River and connects the communities of Capitol Hill/Navy Yard and Anacostia/Fairlawn. Along with fundraising, Irfana works closely with local stakeholders to plan community-driven programs like the Anacostia River Festival and other placekeeping initiatives in the adjoining neighborhoods. She promotes the project’s equity-first model by providing planning and implementation support on the Bridge Park’s Equitable Development Plan—a $56MM+ initiative to ensure that investments in nearby neighborhoods benefit current residents. Irfana recently completed a planning process with local artists and residents to develop cultural strategies to add to the Plan.Previously, Irfana worked with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in the Performing Arts Program and for New York Live Arts | Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company as the Manager of Institutional Giving. Irfana was an Arts Management Fellow at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She holds a BA in Dance & Movement Studies and International Relations from Emory University in her hometown of Atlanta, GA.

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Shani Peters

Shani Peters is a multi-disciplinary artist based in New York City. Her practice encompasses community building, activism histories, and the creation of accessible imaginative experiences. Peters holds a B.A. from Michigan State University and an M.F.A. from the City College of New York. She has presented work in the U.S. and abroad at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem; Seoul Art Space Geumcheon in South Korea; and the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare. Selected residencies include those hosted by The Laundromat Project, and Project Row Houses. Her work has been supported by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Rauschenberg Foundation, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation. Peters is a university and museum educator, focusing her teaching at the intersection of art and social change. As one half of The Black School, she is currently an exhibiting artist in residence at The New Museum’s Summer Art and Social Justice R&D Residency.

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Danielle Burns Wilson

Danielle Burns Wilson is curator of exhibitions at the Houston Public Library and manager of The African American Library at the Gregory School, the third special collections part of the Houston Public Library system in Houston, TX. She is an adjunct professor of art history and art appreciation at Lone Star College-North Harris Campus. She received her B.A. in history and political science from Prairie View A & M University, and her M.A. in art history from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College. Wilson began in 2001 as Development Coordinator at the University Museum at Texas Southern University, where she later worked as exhibition coordinator and assistant curator. She has also worked at the Allen Sheppard Gallery in NYC and the Saint Louis Art Museum where she was the distinguished Saint Louis Art Museums Romare Bearden Fellow 2008-2009. Other fellowships include the Mickey Leland International Enhancement Fellow where she studied contemporary East African art at the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. From 2010-2013 Wilson served as curator at the Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC).  With Michelle White of the Menil Collection, Burns organized The Whole World Was Watching: Civil Rights Era Photographs from Edmund Carpenter and Adelaide de Menil and in 2011 she was a guest curator for Curate NYC. In 2016, she organized the popular exhibition Sunday Go To Meeting: African American Women and Church Hats in Houston. Wilson recently opened, Chasing Perfection: The Work and Life of Architect John S. Chase.