UH Moment

UH Moment: “Ryan Middle School”

Two University of Houston programs join to preserve and celebrate the history of its Third Ward neighborhood.  Listen to this week’s UH Moment.

Ryan Middle School in the heart of the City’s Third Ward has seen the construction and destruction of 85 years of cultural, political, Houston and Texas history.  Now a partnership between UH College of Architecture, School of Art and the Third Ward community brings Ryan Middle School’s rich history to view in the exhibit WorkingShop.

“It was a learning experience,” said graphic communication student Danilo Bojic.  “Both from a cultural standpoint and an historical one.  We were trying to bring together these academic threads from Ryan Middle School and how they impacted the surrounding environment.”

Teams from the UH programs collaborated with Third Ward community leaders to visualize and create an exhibit in the school’s old woodwork and vocational shop room, that still holds tools from its class days.

“One team was focused on the housing, the community and the monuments and the other team was focused on the school history itself,” said architecture student Alex Lara.  “Our main focus was to really capture that identity they relate to, and hopefully everyone who sees this exhibit can relate to as well.”

Stemming from research by UH Professor Carroll Parrott Blue, this history project will include a timeline of historical events, a wall commemorating the community’s churches and monuments, a wall honoring the school’s alumni, and Ryan’s students’ designs to renovate nearby Emancipation Park.

“Many, many people from the community we hope and expect will be viewing this work,” said architecture professor Patrick Peters.  “They have a lot of pride in these issues and this subject matter, so we definitely feel the significance of getting it right.”

Adds Associate Professor Cheryl Beckett of the School of Art,

“We are trying to get our student to move beyond the classroom and examine those communities, think about what we make and what we do and see how we can affect the world around us.”

WorkingShop will be on view through May 1.

Community Collaboration is part of what’s happening at the University of Houston.  I’m Marisa Ramirez.

Telling the stories of the University of Houston, this UH Moment is brought to you by KUHF, listener supported radio from the University of Houston.