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Theaster Gates brings his urban philosophy to SMU


The following story ran on March 21, 2012, on the Dallas Morning News Arts blog.

March 27, 2012

Theaster Gates is known for his work "linking art and the community," according to the folks at Southern Methodist University, where Gates will deliver a lecture at 6:30 Friday night in O'Donnell Hall, Room 2130, in the Owen Arts Center. Trained as an urban planner and sculptor, Gates is, his hosts say, "committed to the restoration of poor neighborhoods, converting abandoned buildings into cultural spaces that not only allow new cultural moments to happen in unexpected places but raise the city's expectations of where 'place-making' happens and why." He admits to having been inspired by the Project Row houses in Houston, founded by artist Rick Lowe.

Earlier in the day, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium in the Meadows Museum on the SMU campus, Gates will share a panel discussion with Denton-based artist Annette Lawrence, SMU associate professor of art Noah Simblist and moderator Michael Corris, chair of SMU's Meadows Division of Art. Together they will explore issues "related to working in the community and especially the role of artist as an advocate for social justice."

The folks at SMU say that, according to Gates' Web site, his Dorchester Project "involved the acquisition of an abandoned two-story property for re-use as a library, slide archive and soul food kitchen, and was a two-year design-build project begun in 2009." ...