Tucked away in Houston’s historic Third Ward sits a charming row of shotgun-style houses that have been lovingly transformed into an uplifting community arts center. This special place is Project Row Houses, a non-profit hub where African American artistic heritage is preserved and the neighborhood is enriched through meaningful arts engagement.
Founded in 1993 by artist Rick Lowe, Project Row Houses gave new life to 22 existing row houses by turning them into inviting galleries, studios, and support spaces. Today, the site spans 40 warmly restored properties and continues its mission of igniting social change through art. The organization has expanded its impact by creating an incubation program for local artists and a holistic approach to community development.
Project Row Houses is more than just an art center; it’s a catalyst for change. Its unique blend of contemporary art, historic preservation, and community engagement has revitalized the once-neglected neighborhood and reimagined what it means to have a thriving and sustainable community. Through partnerships with local businesses, schools, and other organizations, Project Row Houses has created a strong sense of pride and ownership within the Third Ward.
One of Project Row Houses’ main goals is to honor the rich cultural legacy of African Americans in Houston. The organization’s public art projects showcase the talents and perspectives of local African American artists, highlighting important themes such as identity, history, and social justice. By preserving and celebrating this heritage, Project Row Houses is actively combatting gentrification and displacement in the Third Ward.
Project Row Houses believes that art should be accessible to everyone. That’s why they offer free exhibitions, workshops, and public programs that engage the community in meaningful ways. From storytelling sessions for children to artist talks and performances, Project Row Houses creates a welcoming space where people from all walks of life can interact with and appreciate art.
A visit to Project Row Houses is a must for anyone looking to truly explore Houston’s vibrant arts scene and experience the resilient creative spirit of its communities. The row houses are located at 2521 Holman Street in the heart of the Third Ward.
Free public tours are offered Wednesday through Saturday from 12 pm to 5 pm. Tours are self-guided so you can wander through the row houses and exhibits at your own pace while docents are on-site to answer questions.
Group tours for 6 or more people can also be booked in advance by request. These 1-hour guided tours provide a deeper look into the history and community impact of Project Row Houses.
Parking is available street-side along Holman Street and surrounding blocks, but watch for residential permit signs on some spaces. Additional public parking lots are an easy 5-10 minute walk away.
The row houses feature open, inviting galleries with exhibit details posted on the walls. Benches allow moments to sit, reflect, and take it all in. Photography is welcome but no flash or tripods please.
The row houses serve as uplifting galleries showcasing primarily African American artists tied to Houston’s creative community. Exhibits rotate about every 3 months, highlighting diverse forms of visual and performing arts.
In addition to public exhibits, Project Row Houses offers hands-on arts programs for neighborhood youth Monday through Friday. Dance, literary arts, photography, and more help young creators find their voices.
Students gain exposure to artistic mediums and instruction from talented teaching artists. Over 2,500 youth are engaged annually in these horizon-broadening programs.
Exploring the exhibits and row houses will work up an appetite! Just steps away, The Doshi House offers coffees, teas, tacos and soups to nourish the soul. Doshi House has partnered with Project Row Houses on various events and continues to offer a welcoming space for visitors to grab a bite, work remotely, or catch up with friends. Support this local business that gives back!
For a quick treat, Crumbville, TX offers legendary cookies, cupcakes and cupcakes stuffed with cookies. Vegan choices available. Pop in for a quick snack while exploring Third Ward.
Find nearby restaurant on our EaDo restaurants blog post.
Visiting and supporting Project Row Houses helps to foster an environment of creativity, empowerment, and inclusivity. Whether you’re a local or just passing through Houston, take the opportunity to support this unique organization and its mission.
After visiting Project Row Houses, make sure to also explore two more Third Ward community gems – Emancipation Park and the Historic Eldorado Ballroom Building.
Emancipation Park is just 0.3 miles east with a pool, pavilion, and sculptures honoring African American stories. Outdoor concerts happen here too.
The Historic Eldorado Ballroom from 1939, 0.2 miles away, was once Houston’s premier venue for African American music and culture. Though no longer active, the restored building remains a proud architectural treasure.
Interested in local art? Check our blog post on hidden art gems in Houston.