Community, Creative Arts Come Together with 'Communograph'

Houston’s Third Ward is rich with creative tradition. This fall, both local and visiting artists will lead explorations of this historic community during a series of events presented by the University of Houston’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts and Project Row Houses.

“Communograph: Mapping Community Through Creative Action” will allow Houstonians to view the Third Ward with guidance from local experts and engage in discussions with nationally recognized artists who apply their creative energies to projects aimed at social change.

Coined by Project Row Houses artist-in-residence Ashley Hunt, the term “Communograph” borrows from “community” and “photograph.” It describes a process in which a community creates a portrait or representation of itself.

“Communograph: Mapping Community Through Creative Action” is co-curated by Bree Edwards, program director for the Mitchell Center and Ashley Clemmer Hoffman, public art manager for Project Row Houses.

“We look forward to working with Project Row Houses for this series of events focused on how the arts can inspire debate and catalyze social change,” Edwards said. “This collaboration adopts a field-based model designed to immerse arts students in the multi-disciplinary discourses of social arts practice and give them the opportunity to work in a variety of public spheres, urban environments and social groups. It is the beginning of what we hope will evolve into a long-lasting partnership with Project Row Houses.”

All “Communograph” events are free and open to the public. A complete schedule of events is as follows:

  • Communograph Artist Talk: Mel Chin

3 p.m., Oct. 2 – Eldorado Ballroom (2310 Elgin Blvd.)

Conceptual artist and native Houstonian Mel Chin kicks off the Communograph series with a talk about the politics of mapping.

  • Communograph Artist Talk: Rick Lowe and Ashley Hunt – “Hitting the Pavement: The Politics of Community Based Art Today”

7 p.m., Oct. 12 – UH Dudley Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Building (Entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard)

Project Row Houses founder Lowe and artist-in-residence Hunt will lead a discussion about art and social practice.

  • Communograph Project Row Houses Exhibition Opening: Round 35

4 p.m., Oct. 15 – Project Row Houses (2521 Holman St.)

This exhibition takes place in one of the seven dedicated art spaces at Project Row Houses that hosts unique, interactive installations by artists from around the world. Each “round” of installations lasts four months, and focuses on a particular theme that portrays, reflects and/or involves the surrounding Third Ward community.

  • Communograph Artist Talk: Mierle Laderman Ukeles in Conversation with Shrimp Boat Projects

7 p.m., Nov. 16 - UH Dudley Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Building (Entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard)

New York-based artist Laderman Ukeles is known for her feminist and service-oriented artwork. Since 1970, she has served as a non-salaried artist-in-residence for New York City’s Sanitation Department, where she builds and orchestrates public projects exploring the social and ecological issues of waste management. A conversation addressing labor and art will follow the talk, with Mitchell Center artists-in-residence Zach Moser and Eric Leshinsky of Shrimp Boat Projects. The talk will be moderated by Jenni Sorkin, assistant professor of critical studies at the University of Houston School of Art.

  • Communograph Walking Tour: Experience the Third Ward with Ray Carrington

10 a.m., Nov. 19 – Project Row Houses (2521 Holman St.).

Local photographer and Yates High School teacher Ray Carrington will lead a walking tour focused on community spaces that are the result of creative thinking and grassroots leadership. The tour is followed by lunchtime conversation with art and culture community leaders at 12:30 p.m. Lunch is $10 and reservations are required. RSVP: 713-526-7662 or email

  • Communograph Bus Tour: Architecture and Community with Stephen Fox

2 p.m., Dec. 3 – 2521 Holman St. Admission is $10. For reservations, call 713-526-7662 or email

Architectural historian Fox will lead a tour focused on the architecture of the Third Ward.




About the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts is dedicated to groundbreaking, transformative collaborations across the performing, visual, and literary arts. From our base at the University of Houston, the Mitchell Center commissions and produces new works, presents public performances and exhibitions, offers curriculum and scholarships, and hosts residencies with renowned visiting artists from throughout the world. The Mitchell Center forms an alliance among five units at the University of Houston: the School of Art, Creative Writing Program, Moores School of Music, School of Theatre & Dance, and Blaffer Art Museum. For more information visit