University of Houston Launches Fellowship Program with Project Row Houses to Better Integrate Arts into Communities

The University of Houston’s Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts has partnered with the community-based nonprofit Project Row Houses (PRH) to establish a fellowship program that aims to build on the impact socially engaged art projects have in transforming communities.

The program invites artists to Houston’s Third Ward to collaborate with urban planners, educators, policy makers, and the Third Ward community to execute creative projects. “We believe that the key to improving our society and positively shaping our world is to integrate the arts into our communities,” interim dean Andrew Davis said. “One of our top priorities in the college of the arts is to train students for real-world, socially engaged experiences as artists working to better their communities.”

Funded through a $100,000 gift from Texas philanthropist Suzanne Deal Booth, the fellowship will launch on February 16. The first class of fellows includes Carol Zou, a Texas-based artist who investigates how the displacement of artists from metropolitan art centers such as New York and Los Angeles to up-and-coming art cities like Houston has the potential to affect local gentrification trends, and Carrie Schneider, a Houston-based artist interested in people’s ability to reimagine their space. Schneider will examine the idea of survival creativity—the making of art to cope with trauma.

The fellows will work with professor and PRH founder Rick Lowe along with project administrators Sixto Wagan, director of social engagement at the University of Houston, and Ryan N. Dennis, PRH public art director. Local artists, faculty members, community members, and selected leaders will also offer their support over the course of the year.