The string of white shotgun houses along Holman Street in Third Ward buzzes with activity. It’s a real neighbor- hood, where people greet each other by name, visit on each other’s porches and work together to strengthen the surrounding community. It’s also one of Houston’s preeminent art incubators – Project Row Houses.
Founded in 1993 as a result of the vision of local African-American artists wanting a positive creative presence in their own community, PRH shifts the view of art from traditional studio practice to a more conceptual base of transforming the social environment.
And during this time of year, that takes the form of the annual Summer Studios Program – which was developed to provide an opportunity for emerging artists to create and exhibit work that responds to, engages and/or is reflective of community. This program selects seven local college/university art students, nominated by their pro- fessors and selected by a panel of professional artists.
You can come check out what the eclectic group of studio artists has been working on beginning August 12 (there is also an artist talk on August 10), but in the meantime, take a moment to meet them.
For more information, visit www.projectrowhouses.org.
LEAIRRE MORRIS is a Senior at Texas Southern University majoring in Art. He works towards a simple yet unique art style influenced by Kara Walker and based in textured 3D silhouette paintings and sculptures. The silhouettes highlight influential fig- ures and moments in his generation. His proposed installation revolves around scaling his work into a larger installation that engulfs the audience in golden silhouettes.
BARBARA GAMIZ is a Junior at the University of St. Thomas with a back- ground in graphic design, photography and painting. She uses a high-contrast pallete, graphic texture and a variety of layers to experiment with theories and ideas in her paintings. Her Summer Studios proposal is centered around sculp- tural and portraiture representations of women as a vital pillar of both family and community. Each portrait created broadens out to become a representation of the community as a whole.
LUIS PARRA is a Photography and Philosophy student at Houston Community College entering the University of North Texas this fall. His practice combines photography with oral histories. His current photo series documents the people who make up Houston’s Third Ward and explores their experiences in this vibrant yet changing community. For Summer Studios, he hopes to complete this photo series and continue to document stories of people in the area.
MAUREEN LAX is a Senior at the University of Houston with a major in Liberal Studies focused on Studio Art, English and Arab Studies. Combining video, light, sound and sculpture, among other media, her work explores her experience as a Houston transplant from a small town in Minnesota. For her Summer Studios instal- lation, she has proposed to collect footage, sounds, images and objects from the surrounding area to reflect the environment of Project Row Houses and the Third Ward neighborhood.
COLBY DEAL is a Senior at the University of Houston majoring in Photography and Digital Media. By combining portraiture and street photog- raphy, he hopes to showcase the dynamic range of individual, family and community. For Summer Studios, he has proposed to create a concentrated illustration of Third Ward and neighboring areas as well as the African-Amer- ican community as a whole. The proposed installation showcases these communities’ resilient beauty and sense of pride and empowerment as a response to them often being portrayed as unfavorable.
FAITH SCHWARTZ is a Junior at Texas Southern University studying Art Education. Her artistic practice centers on the representation and empowerment of women of color by combining powerful fictional characters from comic books, anime, etc., with figures from various mythologies.
HEATHER WRIGHT is a Senior at Rice University majoring in Studio Art and Environmental Engineering. She uses art as a means of exploring and developing connections with the world, its inhabitants and its envi- ronments. She accomplishes this by reevaluating and recontextualizing everyday objects that are reminiscent of her childhood, and Summer Studios will be her platform for expanding this exploration to further tackle ideas of race, home, family and space.