ISR to host artist residency in partnership with Arts Initiative


The Institute for Social Research will host Houston-based artist Rick Lowe as part of the U-M Arts Initiative’s Creators on Campus program.

An artist discussion featuring Lowe and ISR Director Kate Cagney will take place at 6 p.m. March 12 at the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

A photo of Rick Lowe
Rick Lowe

Lowe is a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” Fellow recognized for his community-based art projects over the past two decades. For this residency, he is collaborating with Abigail Winograd, an internationally renowned curator he has worked with since 2018.

Beginning this fall, Lowe will work closely with ISR and U-M faculty to conduct research that explores the social impact of the arts in the region which will lead to producing a work of public art.

“We are thrilled to welcome Rick Lowe and incorporate his innovative, community-focused vision into our work,” Cagney said. “Lowe will engage with social science scholars at ISR and across the university to identify ways in which social science and the arts can come together to seed novel research and inform creative practice.”

The residency is supported by the Arts Initiative Visiting Artist Integration Project, which partners artists with campus units and is one example of the broader Creators on Campus program.


“The Arts Initiative is thrilled to support Rick Lowe in this residency with ISR,” said Christopher Audain, the initiative’s managing director. “Collaborations like these are exciting as they create space and capacity for something novel to arise, while helping us see the world under a different light.”

Lowe visited Ann Arbor and Detroit in December 2023, connecting with faculty across various disciplines, including political science, history, urban planning, sociology and social work.

Several Detroit site visits were central to the trip, including to neighborhoods, new development projects and with city of Detroit planning and development personnel, with the goal of developing a richer understanding of Detroit history and the city’s current economic state and its communities.

Lowe is based in Houston, Texas, with formal training in the visual arts. Over the past 20 years, he has created nationally and internationally exhibited artworks, and pioneered community-based art projects.

In 1993, he founded Project Row Houses, an arts and cultural community located in a historically significant and culturally charged Houston neighborhood. He has spearheaded other impactful arts-based community programs like the Watts House Project in Los Angeles and the Delray Beach Cultural Loop in Florida.

Lowe has exhibited widely, including at the Phoenix Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and at galleries across the United States, Korea, Japan and Europe. His works have been part of major events like the Gwangju Biennale and the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Winograd is an independent curator who is currently commissioner and curator of the U.S. pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale, as well as the co-director and chief curator of Pueblo Unido Gallery in Chicago. She received a doctorate in art history from the University of Texas at Austin and has additional degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The March 12 kickoff event begins at 6 p.m. at The Commons, 2000 Bonisteel Blvd., on North Campus. Cagney will moderate a panel discussion with Lowe, Winograd, Chicago artist Tonika Johnson and sociologist Maria Krysan. The event is free and open to the public; RSVPs are encouraged. A reception will follow.


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