Gray Area 3: Rick Lowe on Art Making and the Future of Preservation

6 May 2014
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
African American Museum in Philadelphia


Rick Lowe speaks at the third World Summit on Arts and Culture. Photo courtesy of the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies.

As part of Gray Area's Preservation Provocateur speaker series, Rick Lowe will discuss Art Making and the Future of Preservation.

Rick Lowe is a Houston, Texas-based artist, community activist, and founder of Project Row Houses, an arts and cultural community located in a historically significant and culturally charged neighborhood in Houston.

Houston's definition of a "row house" is different from Philadelphia's, referring to the small, freestanding "shotgun-style" houses, which Lowe recognized as "the perfect opportunity to pursue the creation of a new form of art". Since 1993, the Project Row Houses campus has grown to 40 properties; including 12 artist exhibition and/or residency spaces, seven houses for young mothers, artist residencies, office spaces, a community gallery, a park, low-income residential and commercial spaces.

Lowe will discuss how Project Row Houses has incorporated the preservation of its distinctive buildings and the character of the historic 3rd Ward into its community-building work.

This programming has been organized in conjunction with the Center-supported project, Gray Area 3. The next phase of a multi-part conversation about historic preservation, first initiated in 2011, Gray Area 3 will convene community members and a team that includes architect and Pew Fellow Brian Phillips, a builder, educator, preservationist, and public historian. They will discuss the "adaptive re-use" of two vacant Philadelphia buildings of historic, cultural, or architectural significance. The project—a planning exploration by DesignPhiladelphia, a program of The University of the Arts—is conceived to stimulate discussion around these sites, and many others like them, by exploring contemporary design solutions that take into account community needs, preservation concerns, and the modern realities of urban life. Local residents will also be chosen to act as "community partners," in order to gather and incorporate public feedback.

The event is free; watch for registration information.