College Park Historical Cemetery Silent Auction


Februrary 2021 - The past few months I have felt more compelled to educate my nieces and nephews on the importance of family and community and our mutual responsibility to both. On a tour of some of the different communities persons like ourselves live within and are currently under siege by gentrification.
One of the locations we visited was Emancipation Park, one of the oldest parks in the state which is located within the 3rd Ward community. Emancipation Park exists because the folks within that community knew that future persons would need a space to enjoy themselves during reconstruction and later Jim Crow. I wanted to show how resilient was a community has had to be over the past 400 years. I wanted to show how a few motivated persons came together to create spaces that spoke to the future of our community. Jack Yates, a formerly enslaved person, founding member of a great many things in the Black community.

I was introduced to College Park Cemetery early this month. I, along with others, were invited to the cemetery to aid in the lawn services that occur the second Saturday of every month by the Houston-based multidisciplinary artist Mich Stevenson.

When I arrived at to perform the tasks asked of us, I was informed of the cemeteries history as one of three of the first and oldest cemeteries where Black people could be buried. I was informed that the cemetery was actually founded by two white men. One of which died and his estate sold their half, which is currently being converted into a high rise apartment building.

My job, along with one of the property managers and another volunteer, was to poke through the soil to find if there were gravesites that were not marked. The cemetery is in the preparing to create a space to house individuals that have been cremated. Our job was to make sure that they were not leaving folks vulnerable to accidental exhumation.

After about three hours of work I needed to take my leave.

While in engaged in conversation with the main proprietor, a Black man, Mr. Anthony, has had the property in his charge since 2015, I found that the cemetery needed a new lawnmower. He told me that he planned to reach out to Bun B or Beyoncé to finance the purchase. Right then I looked up how much they costed. It was $1600. I immediately started to calculate how much art I would have to make to finance the purchase.

My intent is to create a space for folks to purchase artworks who's generated revenue will provide the necessary financial support to purchase a lawnmower to replace the current model.


March 2021 - When I took on the initiative, the action which would result in the purchase of a new lawnmower for the College Park Memorial Cemetery, I had less than $20 in my bank account. At the time I couldn't even afford to pay rent at the end of the month.
I couldn't tell you the level and layers of discomfort, panic and anxiety that I was experiencing. I had been homeless before; sleeping in my car, crashing on the couches of friends, etc. But those were different times when I didn't have as many opportunities. This was a different feeling as I literally had back to back exhibitions and other opportunities. Outwardly, everything would have appeared to be perfect and I should have been thriving, though I was not.

I've learned, in the past seven years of creating installations, that whenever I create separation from my personal struggles and focus on what in my direct line of sight can be moved, I am practicing self-preservation. Meaning, if I can focus my mind and concentrate my energy towards what can be done for someone else in need, I can make space for resolutions within my own personal predicament.

Thank you for liking, sharing, and contributing to this cause as it has helped a great cause and allowed me time to navigate my own situation without potentially self-sabotaging my future endeavors.

You are greatly appreciated!