Black Voices

Rick Lowe Explains 'Project Row Houses,' His Houston Public Art Initiative


Rick Lowe wants his public art initiative to change the way people look at black history.

"A lot of African American history has been painted though a lens that is so negative that people want to turn their backs on it," the MacArthur Fellow told HuffPost Live on Wednesday. "It's not an exciting thing to start talking about your history to people [when it's] talking about slavery, even the shotgun houses [that] are part of our history."

But he thinks the reason for the stigma surrounding those conversations is that "we don't have an accurate reflection of those histories," and he hopes his work, which spans "the intersections between art, historic preservation, affordable and innovative housing, community relations and development, neighborhood revitalization, and human empowerment" will make Houston's shotgun house community proud of its heritage.

project row housesRick Lowe's "Project Row Houses" organization makes use of Houston's shotgun homes to exhibit art pieces.

"What we try to do here with Project Row Houses is focus on what the positive qualities that allow people to live in shotgun communities and still maintain family and communities, and many of them go on and excel," he explained. "There's a powerful message there that oftentimes we don't necessarily look at as African Americans, and so Project Row Houses is trying to redirect that."

Take a look at some of Rick Lowe's public art surrounding Houston's shot gun homes in the full HuffPost Live conversation here.

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