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.