When art programs are being trimmed like fat from the school curriculum due to budget cuts, it's nice to know that people like Rick Lowe exist. The Houston-based activist/artist first gained praise in the early 1990s with Project Row Houses. The public art project took 22 renovated shotgun-style houses and turned them into spaces for arts, education, and community service. The houses are used for after-school art programs for kids as well as dwellings for young single mothers. Lowe says the idea came from a student who challenged his paintings. "He said that the community already knows what the problems are, they see them every day," Lowe remarks. "What the community needs are solutions... I took that as a challenge to create what I now call social sculpture."
Lowe is also known as a leader in the development of the Delray Beach Cultural Loop Project, and his mission is to create community enhancement for one simple reason: "Too few people actually give much thought about how to make low-income communities better," Lowe explains -- a goal "which, in effect, makes the world better."
Lowe speaks at 7 p.m. at the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, 601 Lake Ave., Lake Worth. Call 561-582-0006. -- Terra Sullivan
At the Norton, art finally opens its big damn mouth
The Norton Museum of Art (1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach) continues its ArtSpeaks series this week with a lecture by Mark Rosenthal, the Norton's adjunct curator of contemporary art, who discusses "Installation Art: From Duchamp to Holzer" this Thursday and Friday. It's the same lecture both days, just in case you can't make it one day or the other. The series itself is part of an ongoing effort by the museum to bring authors of recently published books on art to the museum. ArtSpeaks kicked off last week with a lecture by Bruce Robertson on Italian art and continues on February 12 and 13 with Richard Weisman's "Picasso to Pop: The Richard Weisman Collection." Call 561-832-5196. -- Dan Sweeney