The University of Houston-Downtown and Project Row Houses are a few miles apart, but both institutions remain quite close thanks to the creative vision of Houston artists Bert Samples, George Smith and Floyd Newsum.
These three artists are among the founders of Project Row Houses (PRH), a collection of shotgun-style homes in the Third Ward, a venue for showcasing new artists. In an effort to spotlight the creative talents of these veteran artists, the organization coordinated its Founders Bus Tours. These weekend excursions take art patrons to sites around the city in which their respective works are on display. Among the tour stops is the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD).
Samples, Smith and Newsum, UHD professor of art, have works located on campus (as part of the University of Houston System Public Art Collection). The next tour, on June 16, will explore Samples’ works around the city, including his glass piece “Manu Languidly Stirs Songs in The Grip of Shadow and Light” (located in the W.I. Dykes Library). This work was completed in 2011 and was commissioned as part of the Library’s expansion project.
On June 23, Newsum will offer an up close look at his “Contemplating Success” paintings located on each floor of UHD’s Commerce Street Building and his “Planter and Stems” public sculpture a few blocks away on Main Street. Newsum is among UHD’s longest serving faculty members. He arrived at the University in 1976 and continues to teach painting to students of all skill levels. Many students have worked with Newsum on the installation of his public works, including “Planter and Stems.”
“Students are the lifeblood of this University,” he said. “I like sharing with them and watching as they learn and grow as artists.”
Recently, a PRH tour made a quick stop at UHD to visit Smith’s “Bandiagara” sculpture, which is located next to the Jesse H. Jones Student Life Center on Girard Street.
Tours depart from Project Row Houses (2521 Holman Street) at noon. Participants are encouraged to arrive by 11:45 a.m. Tickets are $20 for PRH members and $30 for guests. Additional tour details are available.