Preservation Provocateur Rick Lowe Speaks on Art Making and the Future of Preservation

May 6 | 6:00PM
FREE | @ the African-American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street

GRAY AREA, a project of DesignPhiladelphia, presents Rick Lowe for their Preservation Provocateur speaker series. Rick Lowe is a Houston artist, activist, and founder of Project Row Houses. On May 6th, Lowe will discuss how Project Row Houses has incorporated the preservation of small, freestanding “shotgun-style” houses, and the character of the historic 3rd Ward into its community-building work. Rick Lowe’s appearance is a partnership between GRAY AREA and the African-American Museum in Philadelphia. This event is free, however registration is appreciated.


GRAY AREA is an experiment and a public dialogue to encourage new ways of thinking about older buildings in Philadelphia and beyond.

 Over the course of one year, GRAY AREA will study two vacant Philadelphia properties of architectural, cultural and/or historical significance. These properties represent distinctive neighborhoods (Germantown, Powelton Village/Mantua) and building types (industrial and commercial). GRAY AREA is researching the buildings and their history, and – this is where you come in – learning its place in its community’s culture and developing ideas for eventual interpretation, reuse and design.

GRAY AREA is also hosting free events in each subject neighborhood to familiarize the public with the buildings, explore and exchange ideas.

 In addition, the “Preservation Provocateur” speaker series is bringing three forward thinkers on historic preservation to Philadelphia, discussing challenging preservation theory and practice beyond Philadelphia’s own city limits.

 GRAY AREA is the third phase of an ongoing public conversation about preservation, led by a steering committee, a diverse group of thought leaders from around Philadelphia including design and construction professionals, planners, historians, for-and non-profit real estate developers, city officials, civic leaders and others.

Visit GRAY AREA on the web here.

About Project Row Houses

Over 20 years ago, Rick Lowe first encountered the over twenty-two abandoned shotgun-style houses from the 1930s on a block and a half of Holman Street in the northern Third Ward of Houston, Texas. Lowe contacted a group of his fellow African American artists, who had been meeting on a regular basis to explore ways in which artists could have a positive impact on this historic community. These artists, along with neighbors, volunteers, and members of cultural and religious institutions, renovated the first ten houses in 1994.

Since the inception of Project Row Houses, PRH’s campus has grown from the original block and a half to six blocks, and from 22 houses to 40 properties; including twelve 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.

Learn more about Project Row Houses here.


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