A celebrated Houston arts figure has just garnered a major statewide honor. Rick Lowe, professor of interdisciplinary practice in the University of Houston Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts (KGMCA), has been selected as the 2019 State 3D Artist by the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA). Lowe is best known in Houston as the founder of the internationally recognized Project Row Houses.
With this award being the state's highest recognition for excellence in the arts, appointees are selected for one-year appointments to represent the best of Texas' rich and diverse artistic community.
“In honoring these individuals, we bring attention to the important role the arts play in shaping Texas’ cultural landscape,” said Gary Gibbs, executive director for the Texas Commission on the Arts, in a statement. “These Texas State Artists are the best of the best. Their work defines our character of place and reflects the distinctive qualities that make Texas unique.”
Lowe fits all the requirements needed to receive this honor. Nominees must be native Texans or have resided in the state for at least five years. They must have attained the highest levels of excellence and success in their respective disciplines and earned a statewide, regional, or national reputation for their high caliber work.
After the Alabama-born Lowe moved to Houston in 1985, he went on to create politically charged installations, while studying under the late painter/muralist John T. Biggers over at Texas Southern University. In the early '90s, he worked with many artists and community organizers to purchase and restore Project Row Houses in Houston's Third Ward. And, in 2014, he was one of 21 people awarded a MacArthur "genius" fellowship.
“Rick couldn’t be a more deserving recipient of this award,” said Andrew Davis, founding dean of the KGMCA. “The state’s recognition also reaffirms the college’s priority of training artists to understand their obligations to positively shape the societies around them. Rick is one of the country’s leading models for how this can be done effectively, in a highly impactful and sustainable way.”
Lowe joined the UH faculty in 2016 and began initiating KGMCA partnerships and programs in the field of socially engaged art. “This latest honor further cements UH's position as a University embedded within its community,” said Paula Myrick Short, UH senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, in a statement. “Rick Lowe's social activism has transformed the city of Houston, and he contributes to KGMCA's mission to provide the artists of tomorrow with core faculty who are leaders in their field.”