Project Row Houses

Project Row Houses (PRH) is a community-based arts and culture non-profit organization in Houston’s northern Third Ward, one of the city’s oldest African American neighborhoods. It was founded in 1993 by artist and community activist Rick Lowe, along with James Bettison (1958–1997), Bert Long (1940–2013), Jesse Lott, Floyd Newsum, Bert Samples, and George Smith, all seeking to establish a positive, creative and transformative presence in this historic community.

Inspired by both the American artist Dr. John Biggers (1924–2001) and the German artist Josef Beuys (1921–1986), PRH is a unique experiment in activating the intersections between art, historic preservation, affordable and innovative housing, community relations and development, neighborhood revitalization, and human empowerment. Biggers celebrated the shotgun-style house for its dignity and simplicity of form, also representing the spiritual and cultural significance of these homes and the people who inhabited them. PRH seeks to affirm these attributes in all its work. And it was Beuys’ notion of “social sculpture” that reinforced the more conceptual idea of art as social engagement, capable of transforming the existing environment—in contrast to the idea of art based on traditional studio practice.

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