About - University of Houston
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Eyakem Gulilat - Informal Spaces Lecture

Message from the Director

Welcome to the Center for Art & Social Engagement! CASE focuses on creative practice in communities and the impact those practices have on people and systems. We work with artists, students, neighborhood residents, faculty, and culture leaders to develop artistic projects and programs that respond to our communities’ creative potential. By amplifying art and creative actions that transform the possibility of daily life, we enable our students and our citizens to imagine new futures for our city. 

CASE connects the University of Houston and the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts to its neighborhood and Houston’s cultural richness. We facilitate the empowerment of diverse voices and celebrate their lived experiences through art and creative research.

Equitable partnerships are central to the way we work. Our collaboration with Project Row Houses to support the KGMCA – PRH Fellows and the Summer Studios Program is a prime example of how we leverage University resources to support our community. We continue to build partnerships within the University and across the nation to better support students, artists, and organizations to create a more just and equitable society.

CASE advocates for innovative evaluation and long-term investments in creative potential. We do not define success by the outcomes of a single project but by a series of sustained engagements that connect creativity, place, and possibility. We also learn with and from our communities by facilitating collective processes and active learning environments that connect creative research to place and lived-histories.  Our programming and priorities build the case for transformational, community-based practice that better inform academics, policy-makers, and cultural leaders.


The Center for Art & Social Engagement connects artists, community, faculty, and professionals through research and creative practice to amplify non-arts outcomes. CASE weaves networks and possibilities to frame impacts around equitable futures and sustainable communities by connecting creatives and communities.   


By raising awareness of need, redefining discourse, and engaging the public through dialogue, the Center for Art and Social Engagement highlights the arts’ societal impact. Through active research, pilot programs, and community partnerships, CASE will be a national resource and a center for learning and research at UH. Central to our process are these questions: How do the arts transform audiences and communities? How is that impact measured? And is impact translatable to a different community?  

Core components

PRACTICE – Investigate models that bring arts and diverse communities together; analyze impact and strategize methods for creating multi-local models; engage in partnerships to implement field-wide best practices on campus and in the local community; develop practice-based pedagogies to inform innovation and responsive policy. 

RESEARCH – Develop community-responsive impact metrics and methodologies that center creativity; invest in data-gathering partnerships that enable accountability and cultural equity; support faculty and community partnerships by developing and implementing evaluation processes. 

CONNECT – Bridge networks of artists, professionals, and community members through place-based programming and creative dialogues; utilize hyper-local frameworks to inform the national discourse on community-engaged practices; amplify the creative potential of underserved and under-voiced populations to reach different publics.   


Sixto Wagan

Sixto Wagan is the inaugural director for the Center for Art and Social Engagement (CASE) at the University of Houston. Prior to this role, he led the contemporary art center DiverseWorks, serving a multitude of capacities including Artistic Director, Co-Executive Director and Performing Arts Curator. During his tenure, he nurtured artists, communities and emerging arts organizations through commissions and place-based initiatives. 

Wagan is known for collaborating with performers whose works tackle prescient cultural, social and political issues. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the MAP Fund and is currently participating in the EMCArts' Associate Adaptive Facilitator Training. 

Mr. Wagan's work consistently fosters multi-generational leadership, aesthetic innovation, and the empowerment of diverse voices and communities. His ability to connect hyper-local practice to macro-systems and cultural policies is consistently recognized by national foundations and service organizations. He was published as part of Counting Beans: Intrinsic Impact of Art (Theater Bay Area) and participated in a creative placemaking conversation, documented in the article "Is This a Human Rights Movement," in Be Here, (CITE magazine, Volume 101, Winter 2018). He served on the Center for Houston's Future Policy Committee for the 2014 Indicator Report on Arts and Cultural Heritage and on the Culture and Tourism committee for the Greater Houston Partnership.

Full Sixto Wagan bio



Rick Lowe is an artist who resides in Houston, Texas. His formal training is in the visual arts. Over the past twenty years he has worked both inside and outside of art world institutions by participating in exhibitions and developing community based art projects. 

Rick has participated in exhibitions and programs nationally and internationally. From 1993 to the present, he has exhibited at the Phoenix Art MuseumContemporary arts Museum, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Arts, Los AngelesNeuberger Museum, Purchase, New York; Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, Korea; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Glassell School, Houston, TX; the Kumamoto State Museum, Kumamoto, Japan; Zora Neale Hurston Museum, Eatonville, Florida; Venice Architecture Biennale; and the Anyang Public Art Program 2010.  Cittadellarte, Biella, Italy, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX, and Documenta 14, Kassel, Germany and Athens, Greece.

In 1993, Rick founded Project Row Houses, an arts and cultural community located in a historically significant and culturally charged neighborhood in Houston, Texas. In 1997, Rick and Project Row Houses were awarded a silver medal by the Rudy Bruner Awards in Urban Excellence. 

Rick has worked as guest artist on a number of community projects nationally. Including Transforma Projects (2006) in New Orleans, a collaborative effort to engage artists and creativity in the rebuilding of the City after hurricane Katrina; Trans.lation: Vickery Meadow (2013) as a project for the Nasher Sculpture Center, and was recently awarded a Bloomberg Philanthropies award to support The Greenwood Art Project.

He has received many honors including 2020 Texas Artist of the Year

Full Rick Lowe Bio.

Organizational Collaboration


Project Row Houses

Project Row Houses (PRH) is a community platform that enriches lives through art with an emphasis on cultural identity and its impact on the urban landscape. PRH engages neighbors, artists, and enterprises in collective creative action to help materialize sustainable opportunities in marginalized communities. PRH is a key partner in the CASE’s Place-Based Practice Programs.


Houston-Area Arts Service Organization Collective

In collaboration with 19 other organizations, CASE and KGMCA have come together to support our city in the time of crisis. An outgrowth of our work with the Harvey Arts Recovery Fund, this group of arts service organizations and arts districts work to help the arts community respond, survive, and thrive during and after crisis. https://www.houstonartsalliance.com/arts-town-hall