Sheer genius

Certified Houston genius celebrated by the city's most elite movers and shakers

Certified Houston genius celebrated by the city's elite power players

15 109 Sara Kellner, from left, Rick Lowe and David Robinson at the Rick Lowe Party December 2014
Sara Kellner, from left, Rick Lowe and David Robinson. Photo by © Roswitha Vogler/Photosbyrovo.com
9 47 Mayor Annise Parker, left, with Lester Marks and Dr. Penelope Marks at the Rick Lowe Party December 2014
Mayor Annise Parker, left, with Lester Marks and Dr. Penelope Marks. Photo by © Roswitha Vogler/Photosbyrovo.com
18 123 Drs. Suresh and Renu Khator, left, with Jason Fuller at the Rick Lowe Party December 2014
 Suresh and Renu Khator, left, with Jason Fuller. Photo by © Roswitha Vogler/Photosbyrovo.com
2 10 Jonathon Glus, from left, Cindy Clifford and Lester Marks at the Rick Lowe Party December 2014
Jonathon Glus, from left, Cindy Clifford and Lester Marks. Photo by © Roswitha Vogler/Photosbyrovo.com
5 35 Charles Foster, left, and Josef Helfenstein at the Rick Lowe Party December 2014
Charles Foster, left, and Josef Helfenstein. Photo by © Roswitha Vogler/Photosbyrovo.com
15 109 Sara Kellner, from left, Rick Lowe and David Robinson at the Rick Lowe Party December 2014
9 47 Mayor Annise Parker, left, with Lester Marks and Dr. Penelope Marks at the Rick Lowe Party December 2014
18 123 Drs. Suresh and Renu Khator, left, with Jason Fuller at the Rick Lowe Party December 2014
2 10 Jonathon Glus, from left, Cindy Clifford and Lester Marks at the Rick Lowe Party December 2014
5 35 Charles Foster, left, and Josef Helfenstein at the Rick Lowe Party December 2014

Yes, the story is true. Houston artist and social innovator Rick Lowe didn't initially answer the phone call that would change his life. Not until the persistence of the caller on the other end of that unfamiliar phone number piqued his curiosity.

When the founder of Project Row Houses finally picked up the call, he learned that he had been named a 2014 MacArthur Fellow. That honor from the MacArthur Foundation comes with a $625,000 unrestricted grant  — known as the Genius Grant — paid over five years.

To honor Lowe for this enviable recognition, arts leaders and friends gathered in celebration at the art-filled home of Dr. Penelope and Lester Marks.  Hosting duties were shared by Mayor Annise Parker, Houston Arts Alliance CEO Jonathan Glus and political strategist Cindy Clifford.

The buzz among the heavy-hitter gathering centered on the various possibilities that the grant makes available to Lowe. Among those congratulating him were Museum of Fine Arts, Houston director Gary Tinterow, the Menil Collection's Josef Helfenstein and John Trahan, University of Houston System chancellor Renu Khator and Rice University president David Leebron.

The party crowd included City Council members Ellen Cohen and Richard Nguyen, art collector Janet Hobby, Marc Melcher, Y. Ping Sun, Tony Chase, Judge Zinetta Burney and Michelle Barnes.