What’s The New News project was an idea I had in 2010 that responded to the changing of the guards in terms of the transferring of information and ways we learn about what is going on in society and more specifically, our communities. The newspapers were becoming more of a dated way to acquire that information. The internet has replaced the information part; however, having something tangible does something for the reader in terms of connecting them to subject and the author. I was also interested in everyday objects becoming public art. The news racks were ideal for this project they’re already in conversation with each other.
I chose Third Ward, a historically Black American neighborhood in Houston, Texas for this project to manifest. I was born in Third Ward, raised there as a youth until we moved, went to high school there (Jack Yates High), and graduated from Texas Southern University (which is a HBCU located in Third Ward). This rich institutional history that I experienced had me thinking that this project needed a more substantive-community related component. The news racks had to be placed somewhere so, significant locations in the Third Ward were selected as the third component.
I was blessed and lucky to receive both an Idea Fund and a Houston Arts Alliance Grant to support this project.
What’s the New News is a collaboration among creatives and the community that speaks to the importance of the neighborhood, artists, writers, and literacy. It interrupts the everyday with the everyday by asking the community to rethink how objects, art, and information are involved in our daily lives. The Newspaper racks are transformed into public art and placed in important and valued locations within the Third Ward community. The information presented for the public will take the form of articles, experimental writing, raps, and poetry.
I’m grateful for all who have participated and thought that this idea, its content, and presentation as public art was interesting enough to engage with it. A great group of people live in Third Ward but it continues to be targeted for gentrification. New high rise lofts are built while some people who lived there for years get displaced because they can’t afford the rent. However I don’t think the spirit of the community will be erased. This project illustrates why its necessary to fight for your right to exist within an enriched community like Third Ward. This community has given everyone who has contributed to this project so much in some way. I hope that a collaborative gesture like this project, shows our appreciation for Third Ward and furthermore shows the world Third Ward’s greatness.
This project was commissioned by Project Row Houses 2017-2018.