For 25 years, Project Row Houses has made it a mission to make art that is not only beautiful, but empowering, and presenting it as both vital to the community and something that brings a greater quality of life to a space. The artists of Project Row Houses have worked to ensure that the culture and history of the organization’s Third Ward home remain a guiding force as the community continues to change.
To celebrate, Project Row Houses is offering a month of Saturday bus tours to showcase some of the works that define the organization’s history and mission, with stops throughout the city.
“It’s so exciting,” says Ryan Dennis, Project Row Houses’ curator and programs director. “We’re doing a three-hour tour, and we’ll stop eat each art site for about 10 minutes and talk about what makes it unique, and why it matters to Houston.”
Dennis will be joined in tour guiding duties by Jeanette Degollado, a public art curator, and some of Project Row Houses’ founding artists, including Jesse Lott, Floyd Newsum, Bert Samples and George Smith. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore and reflect on the artists’ artistic practices through a compelling discussion. Stops include the University of Houston-Downtown, the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Hermann Park, and more.
“People might drive by art every day and maybe they think about it, maybe they don’t,” says Dennis. “So this offers a chance to really engage with it, and with the artists who created it. They can find out why our artists picked a particular site for a work, and what was behind their thinking in its creation.”
Dennis said she hopes that participants will come away with an understanding of what art can mean for a city, and what Project Row Houses has done to give a voice and canvas to African-American artists. The organization itself is a piece of public art, five blocks and 39 historic row houses that offer art programs, neighborhood enrichment opportunities, and serve as a model for social engagement.
“I hope people are as excited as I am,” she says. “And it will be so great to share how beautiful and necessary art is for a city like Houston.”
Tours run every Saturday in June and begin at Project Row Houses, 2521 Holman St. Attendees should arrive by 11:45 am for a noon start. Tickets are $20 for members and $30 for nonmembers.