What kind of impact can an artist residency program have on a community? What does it mean to be a “community-based” art project? I’ve been thinking about this as I learn more about two fledgling Dallas residency programs, La Reunion in Oak Cliff and UT-Dallas in Deep Ellum.
If the questions intrigue you as well, then you’ll want to check out one set of answers provided by the documentary Third Ward TX tonight, 10:30 p.m. on KERA 13’s Frame of Mind. Directed by Andrew Garrison, the film tells the story of Project Row Houses in Houston.
The project begins when a group of artists clean up a row of shot-gun houses in an inner-city neighborhood and arrange a “drive-by” of their work. Local residents warm to the artists, there are residency programs for single moms, as well as an international group of artists, art classes for kids, much more, and then, eventually…the once-blighted neighborhood becomes a target for gentrification – a new set of challenges and a different way to look at long-time issues of neighborhood identity, community, history.
It’s worth checking out for some real-life examples of art’s power to inspire confidence and lift us up. It’s also seems like a great example of a true “community-based” project.