Public Artist Wins MacArthur "Genius" Grant

Artist Rick Lowe of Houston, TX was among the recently announced 2014 MacArthur Fellows (commonly known as the "Genius" grant). Rick calls his work "social sculpture", and is best known for a creative placemaking project in Houston called Project Row Houses, which transformed a rundown cluster of shotgun homes into a unique combination of studios, classrooms, community center and housing.

Lowe cites the German artist Josef Beuys as inspiration for the "social sculpture" concept. On the Project Row House website, Lowe says that  Beuys "reinforced the more conceptual idea of art as social engagement, capable of transforming the existing environment — in contrast to the idea of art based on traditional studio practice." 

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Rick is very inspiring and pretenseless in this video, and one can't help but feel the MacArthur has made a wise investment in him. In this video, he explains that transforming his approach to the Houston project: "It took a certain kind of imagination and a certain way of seeing and hearing the neighborhood to conceive of it that way. And I think that's one of the contributions that arts and artists bring, is the toolsets listening and having a heightened sense of perception and the aesthetics of things..."