Brent gave a lecture at University of Houston yesterday to a packed room of students and faculty! I think lecturing is one area where being an outsider artist shines through and can start a really useful conversation for a lot of students in a lot of ways. After the lecture Diane Barber (aka the coolest ever), co-director and visual arts curator of Diverseworks, whisked us away on a fantastic journey of art in the Third Ward area of Houston.
Our first stop was Project Row Houses. According to their website, their mission is: to transform community through the celebration of art and African-American history and culture. But I can't even begin to explain the many awe-inspiring ways they take on this mission. Project Row Houses does everything from act as a museum (with some of the houses being turned into site-specific installation work), provide low income housing to families in need, promote artistic & educational development and try to solve issues pertinent to the area (next on the agenda: food- with gardens and chickens already entering these yards in a place barren of a decent grocery store). I can't speak highly enough about the progression and love one could feel just being there. It was also the first time in my life that I wanted to be rich and donate all of my money to a very worthy cause!
Next up was Flower Man! Flower Man stood us up but just seeing the outside of Flower Man's home was enough to take in! A true folk artist, Flower Man started building his house after he had a vision of beautiful junk following a spell of drunken homelessness. He vowed to build his vision and to stay sober in the eyes of God. Even though I couldn't go inside, the exterior of Flower Man's visionary labor of love was a magical expression of his devotion.
This day was definitely in the spirit of Leonard Wood, the man whom Gravity was based on, building a house with his own hands to invoke a change. I hope everyone we met on today's journey can come out to screenings this weekend and see our film which is our own attempt at building and vocalizing the need for change!