← View All Stories

Fostering Agents
of Change in
Houston's Third Ward

The Center for Art and Social Engagement (CASE) at the University of Houston, with Project Row Houses, commits to a partnership that simultaneously focuses on artists as change agents and equitable partnerships that support communities of color in Houston.

Project Row Houses, 2015. Photo by Peter Molick.

CASE, with the Suzanne Deal Booth Fellows, engage Houston’s Third Ward residents and other community members through oral histories, photovoice activities and other creative practices.

Their engagements are then amplified and expanded to tell diverse stories of Black life(s) that contribute to a thriving community of color.

Photo: Nicholas Simien – Summer Studios 2019, UH Sculpture 2020.

These oral histories and lived experiences inform partnerships and creative responses. One such Fellow, Sarah Rafael-Garcia, collaborated with All Real Radio for a digital humanities-based speculative fiction project: Reality Check Third Ward.

Another researcher, Libby Bland, led a participatory mapping project, informed by the question: "What makes a livable neighborhood?"

Image courtesy of Sarah Rafael Garcia – Reality Check 3rd Ward.

Project Row Houses and its community-based work has been going on for over 25 years. Their work translates into three main sectors: arts programming, community engagement and neighborhood development. 

CASE, through the partnership and the Fellows’ research, contributes to academic and policy conversations.

Photo courtesy of University of Houston.

CASE Fellows engage in the process of holistic community-building and are eventually recognized as community-based artists and civic leaders with additional grants, recognitions and other fellowship opportunities.

"What we have observed is that learning continues beyond each project,” said the inaugural director of CASE, Sixto Wagan. “And we are conscious that we are an example of partnership with communities of color to the city and the nation."

See more stories about UH research impacting the city of Houston.

Photo courtesy of University of Houston.