Activism as Art

I do enjoy when art, architecture, design, planning and community development get all deliciously blurry.  It is a rare combo on projects I especially enjoy.

Rick Lowe’s  Project Row House in Houston would be one of those type of projects.
Via Huffington Post:  The article “Activism as Art: Shotgun Shacks saved through arts-based revitaliztion” 

I never did much like the word “activism”, like when attached to PARK(ing) Day, but art certainly allows great avenues and funding.  Call it “art” and it lets you get away with being bold and subversive.   Instead of “activism” I much prefer the positive tones of “advocacy”, “education” and “awareness raising”.  Through design processes and projects I believe that the best designers are those who have that inner advocacy – they are the ones with the fighting spirit, and who will educate clients, stakeholders, teams along the way for stronger outcomes.       

I had once been especially annoyed at the blurry line of art and design, in times I felt architects using building form as artist statements with little regard for community and context.  In that, I had made the comparison that paint could an artist’s plaything, communities should not be.  Well funnily the website says  “This is Project Row Houses; an arts organization focused on community as its canvas.”
Well I suppose I’m hypocritical then I guess.


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