HOUSTON – A Third Ward-based nonprofit will be the beneficiary of a prize that was recently awarded to Houston native Solange Knowles.
The Town Hall acknowledged the Grammy-award winning artist for her activism as the first-ever recipient of the Lena Horne Prize for Artists Creating Social Impact.
“I am beyond humbled to be the first recipient of the Lena Horne Prize,” Knowles said in a statement. “I will never forget being a young girl and the impact of hearing the great Lena Horne so radiantly and powerfully singing the words ‘believe in yourself’ from that remarkable moment in The Wiz. I have carried it with me closely my entire life. At the age of 12, I played this very role at the Ensemble Theatre in Houston, Texas and it was then I learned about Lena’s dedicated activism and fearless integrity as a woman and groundbreaking artist. I am honored to be receiving an award that bears her name and continues her legacy of using the arts to inspire reflection and evoke change.”
As part of the honor, Knowles will receive a $100,000 prize that she chose to donate to Project Row Houses, a Third Ward nonprofit focused on arts and culture.
“It’s not every day you get a call from someone saying we’re going to give you $100,000, so we were definitely quite pleasantly surprised," said Eureka Gilkey, executive director of Project Row Houses. “She said that since Project Row Houses has meant so much to her, growing up here in Third Ward and coming to Project Row Houses as a young child, that she wanted to give the gift to us.”
This isn't the first time Solange has given back to Project Row Houses.
In the summer of 2018, she sponsored a trip for 18 youth from Third Ward to visit the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“She had always said she wanted to do more, and we are so grateful to her for her support not only of Project Row Houses but the historic Third Ward community," Gilkey said. "We really appreciate her continuing to invest in our community, knowing with all the rapid changes she understands the importance of our work in trying to preserve the history and the culture.”
Project Row Houses plans to use the donation to expand its arts programming and to launch The Project Row Houses Institute, establishing Third Ward as a cultural heritage and historic district.
Solange will receive the award in February during a ceremony in New York City.