The McGovern College of the Arts--Project Row Houses 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 CASE and PRH and generously funded by philanthropist Suzanne Deal Booth and supported by the University of Houston and the McGovern College of the Arts, this program brings together artists, cultural practitioners, urban planners, educators, and policy makers as Suzanne Deal Both Fellows that engage with the PRH process and the greater Houston community. The KGMCA-PRH Fellowship educates and empowers the next generation of leaders in socially engaged art and activism, disseminates a known successful practice, and seeds innovative discourse across the nation.
The fellowship program investigates the juncture of arts and culture, community development, and neighborhood context. The program elevates 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 CASE, these year-long residencies engage two Suzanne Deal Both Fellows to work closely with the CASE Director, the Project Row Houses Curator and 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 are cultural practitioners seeking mentorship and the chance to focus their research on community engaged creative practices.
To support the Fellows, the partnership invites local artists, faculty members, community members, and selected leaders to act as the Fellow’s BrainTrust. Members provide support to each Fellow’s area of investigation by offering advice, providing feedback, and weaving networks of people and ideas.
RESEARCH AND IMPACT
This partnership is a national model for collaboration, applied scholarship, and socially engaged art. Contributing to the national discourse on social practice, the program focuses on the Suzanne Deal Booth 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 or programs, and produced a creative or scholarly product that is informed by the work at Project Row Houses, the University of Houston, and Third Ward.
In partnership with faculty and community leaders, all the participants and program administrators develop and implement an investigative approach that examines not only expected outcomes but also identifies emergent and unintended outcomes to accurately and effectively capture the value of the program. To document the collective impact of the projects and the ongoing developments in the Houston community, the partnership will produce a catalogue or report. This document 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 a visionary lead gift from philanthropist Suzanne Deal Booth, which also supports future public programs to promote community engagement. Additional support comes from the Office of the Provost and the McGovern College of the Arts at the University of Houston.