Not Gone Tomorrow: Rick Lowe & Freeman Word

Not Gone Tomorrow: Rick Lowe and Freeman Word
on Sustainable Community Spaces

Thursday, January 11, 2018
6 to 8pm

Community event at 2017 ABOG Fellow Rick Lowe’s  Victoria Square Project , part of D ocumenta 14  in Athens, Greece, June 2017. Photo: Deborah Fisher.

Community event at 2017 ABOG Fellow Rick Lowe’s Victoria Square Project, part of Documenta 14 in Athens, Greece, June 2017. Photo: Deborah Fisher.

Rick Lowe and Freeman Word discussed sustainability in Lowe’s Victoria Square Project (Documenta 14, Athens) and Word’s Zakatu Madrasa (St. Louis). Both rely on self-created, innovative models of community engagement to ensure their projects’ longevity. Program was moderated by Rashida Bumbray, Senior Program Manager of the Arts Exchange at Open Society Foundations.


Rick Lowe is a Houston-based artist who has exhibited and worked with communities nationally and internationally. His work has appeared in Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles; Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York; Phoenix Art Museum; Kwangju Biennale, Kwangju, Korea; the Kumamoto State Museum, Kumamoto, Japan; the Venice Architecture Biennale; and Documenta 14, Kassel, Germany and Athens, Greece. He is best known for his Project Row Houses community-based art project that he started in Houston in 1993. Additional community projects include the Watts House Project in Los Angeles, the Borough Project in Charleston, SC (with Suzanne Lacy and Mary Jane Jacobs), the Delray Beach Cultural Loop in Florida, and the Anyang Public Art Program 2010 in Anyang, Korea. Among Lowe’s honors are the Rudy Bruner Awards in Urban Excellence, the AIA Keystone Award, the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, the Skowhegan Governor’s Award, the Skandalaris Award for Art/Architecture, and a U.S. Artists Booth Fellowship. He has served as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University, a Mel King Fellow at MIT, an Auburn University Breedan Scholar, and a Stanford University Haas Center Distinguished Visitor. President Barack Obama appointed Lowe to the National Council on the Arts in 2013 and in 2014 he was named a MacArthur Fellow.

Freeman Word is a teacher, mentor and people’s poet in the tradition of shamans, griots, and disenfranchised urban artists of before-now. His poetry covers topics of government, life, freedom, divinity, and untold history, and happens in jails, schools, community centers, street corners and college campuses internationally. He was the 2012 WU-SLam Grand Slam Champion and later part of the 2015 UrbSlam Grand Slam Championship, being on the 6th place national team representing St. Louis. Word is a humble recipient of the Langston Hughes Award for Artistic Accomplishments in the Black Community, the Helen Davis Humanitarian Award, and a 2016 Regional Arts Commission CAT Fellow.

Rashida Bumbray is the Senior Program Manager at the Open Society Foundations for the Arts Exchange, its global arts for social justice initiative. She began her curatorial career in 2001 and has coordinated major exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Kitchen, and Creative Time. Bumbray has served as a consultant to the Surdna and Creative Capital foundations, and Director of Artistic Affairs at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. She was nominated for the ICI (Independent Curators International) Curatorial Vision Award in 2016. Bumbray is an accomplished choreographer whose practice draws from traditional African American vernacular and folk forms. In 2014, she was nominated for the prestigious Bessie Award (New York Dance & Performance Awards) for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer. Bumbray received an MA in Africana Studies from New York University and continues to publish writing on contemporary art, cultural studies and comparative literature.