The Fellowship is a multi-year program that builds on Project Row Houses' (PRH) history of leadership in social practice and community-engaged art projects. Founded as a partnership between the University of Houston Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts (CotA) and PRH, this fellowship program brings artists, cultural practitioners, urban planners, educators, and policy makers to engage with the PRH process and the greater Houston community. The CotA-PRH Fellowship will educate and empower the next generation of leaders in socially engaged art and activism, disseminate a known successful practice, and seed replications across the nation.
The program investigates the juncture of arts and culture, community development, and neighborhood context. The work of the fellowship program serves to elevate social sculpture as a central tool in the community building process to complement other instruments such as architectural design, neighborhood engagement, fundraising, community economic development, affordable housing, social services, and youth and workforce development.
Mutually administered by PRH and CotA’s Center for Art and Social Engagement (CASE), these year-long residencies will bring 2 guest fellows to work closely with Rick Lowe, Project Row Houses staff, and local leaders in community-engaged practices. Local artists, faculty members, community members, and selected leaders will offer their support during this process. The partnership will also engage a broader public through lectures, seminars, and symposia around community engaged social arts practice.
The fellows will be active cultural practitioners seeking for mentorship and the chance to focus their research on community engaged creative practices.
To support the Fellows, the partnership will invite local artists, faculty members, community members, and selected leaders to act as the Fellow’s BrainTrust. Members will be invited to provide support to each Fellow’s area of investigation through advice, feedback, networks, and the like.
RESEARCH AND IMPACT
This partnership will be a national model for collaboration, applied scholarship, and socially engaged art. Contributing to the national discourse on social practice, the program focuses on the Fellows and their development as leading community-engaged artists. At the end of the fellowship, the Fellows will have been immersed in the PRH methodology, have conducted a minimum of two public lectures/programs, and produced a creative/scholarly product that is informed by the work at PRH/UH/Third Ward.
Each fellowship will be evaluated through a project-based lens. Specific objectives and outcomes related to the criteria will be framed by the content and direction of each Fellow’s chosen area of investigation. To document the collective impact of the projects and the ongoing developments in the Houston community, the partnership will produce a yearly catalogue/report. The report will highlight the iterative process of the program, public events, reports, and responses.
The Fellows’ scholarly and creative research, with the concurrent evaluation of the program, will ultimately lead to transformation in how the University of Houston interfaces with its communities within the neighborhood and in the university.
The fellowship is made possible with visionary lead gift of $100,000 from Texas philanthropist Suzanne Deal Booth, which also supports future public programs to promote community engagement.
On February 16, CASE and PRH hosted a launch event at the Historic Eldorado Ballroom. Check out photos from the event.
We are grateful to the sponsors of that event: 8th Wonder Brewery, Topo Chico, Oui Banh Mi and Les Givral's Kahve, Radicle Fresh Juices, Crumbville Texas, Phoenicia Specialty Foods, and DJ Keva McNeil.