HOUSTON (August 24, 2018) – Dreana Booker, a junior art major at Texas Southern University, is one of seven college students who have unveiled installations as part of the 2018 Summer Studios initiative at Project Row Houses (PRH). The viewing period for the work of students in the Summer Studio residency program began on August 11 and runs through September 16. All seven projects are free and open to the public in the 2500 block of Holman Street.
Booker’s exhibit theme – What does freedom cost? – revolves around systematic oppression and other social issues that impact African-American society. She uses paintings and mixed media displays to draw a parallel between slavery and its continued legacy in the United States. Booker says that she plans to transform the Row House into a slave cabin as a reminder that antebellum racial politics is part of modern life. This is her first major installation.
“My artwork is about social-political topics and I express past experiences that made me who I am or how it impacts a community. My art is pain,” she said. “I want to use my platform to spread awareness. It’s important to me, my family and my community.”
Booker prefers acrylic paint because she can create specific pigments. She often cries while in the process of creating art and tries to find colors that match her level of emotion.
She joins fellow art students from Rice University, University of Houston, University of Houston-Downtown and University of St. Thomas in the Summer Studio residency program. This year’s initiative featured an artists’ talk, opening reception and art market. Students obtained the six-week art residency through nominations by professors and a panel selection. Critiques by local artists and curators, input from mentors and research at local art spaces resulted in the creation of artwork at their individual Row House.
Booker said that she “loves her professors” at Texas Southern – Leamon Green, Jamal Cyrus and Dr. Alvia Wardlaw – who gave her “confidence in my art and taught me to believe in myself.”
Project Row Houses is a community platform that enriches lives through art with an emphasis on cultural identity and its impact on the urban landscape. It engages neighbors, artists, and enterprises in collective creative action to help materialize sustainable opportunities in marginalized communities. PRH occupies a significant footprint in Houston’s Historic Third Ward, one of the city’s oldest African-American neighborhoods. The site encompasses five city blocks and houses 39 structures that serve as home base to a variety of community-enriching initiatives, art programs, and neighborhood development activities.
For more information on Summer Studios, visit https://projectrowhouses.org/public-art/summer-studios.