Due to damage and repairs required as a result of Hurricane Beryl, the Rothko Chapel is closed indefinitely; the Welcome House will open 11am-5pm Tuesday to Sunday. Please continue to check our website for updates related to opening hours as we will update as more information becomes available. 

Press Release

Rothko Chapel Presents Its 2023 MLK Birthday Celebration Program:  IMAGES & WORDS:  MEDIA’S INFLUENCE ON THE STRUGGLE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

December 19, 2022



In partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston & the Gordon Parks Foundation, the Rothko Chapel observes Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday with

a panel discussing the role of the media in civil rights movements


Houston, TX – On January 15th, the Rothko Chapel will present Images & Words: Media’s Influence on the Struggle for Civil Rights in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) & the Gordon Parks Foundation. Coinciding with the Chapel’s annual observance of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, the event explores the role of the media in civil rights movements both past and present. Inspired by the MFAH’s current exhibition Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power, panelists will share their work and perspectives on how photographers and journalists cover and shape narratives around social justice movements and their leadership.


The Rothko Chapel started the annual MLK Birthday celebration in 1979 to connect the contemporary implications of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy to the ongoing struggle for civil and human rights.


This year’s presenters include Lisa Volpe, Curator of Photography at the MFAH; Michal Raz-Russo, Program Director at the Gordon Parks Foundation; Baltimore-based photographer Devin Allen; and moderator Tony Diaz, Houston-based writer, activist, and media personality.


About the Presenters

Lisa Volpe, is the Curator, Photography at MFAH. She earned her MA at Case Western Reserve University and her PhD at the University of California, Santa Barbara. At MFAH, she oversees the Anne Tucker and Clint Willour Young Photographers Endowment in addition to a regular schedule of exhibitions and acquisitions. Previously, she held various curatorial roles at the Wichita Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art and fellowships at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art.


Michal Raz-Russo, is programs director at the Gordon Parks Foundation and editor of Steidl / Gordon Parks Foundation Book Prize publications. She has edited and contributed to LaToya Ruby Frazier: Flint Is Family In Three Acts and Jamel Shabazz: Albums. She has also been involved in other recent Gordon Parks Foundation publications including Gordon Parks: Segregation Story (expanded edition). Previously she was the David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Associate Curator of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she curated exhibitions such as Subscribe: Artists and Alternative Magazines, 1970–1995; Basma al-Sharif: Capital; Sara Deraedt; Never a Lovely So Real: Photography and Film in Chicago, 1950–1980; Leigh Ledare: The Plot; Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem; Deana Lawson; and The Three Graces.


Devin Allen is a self-taught artist who gained national attention when his photograph of the Baltimore Uprising was published on the cover of Time magazine in May 2015, making him only the third amateur photographer to have his work featured in the publication. In 2017, he was named the first fellow of the Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship, and he is the founder of Through Their Eyes, a youth photography educational program. His photographs have been published in New York Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Aperture; and are also in the permanent collections of the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C., the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. His new book, No Justice, No Peace: From the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter, was released in October 2022 under the Legacy Lit imprint of Hachette Book Group.


Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, is a writer, activist, radio show host, and Cultural Accelerator. He founded Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say (NP), Houston’s first reading series for Latino authors. The group galvanized Houston’s Community Cultural Capital to become a movement for civil rights, education, and representation. His book, The Tip of the Pyramid: Cultivating Community Cultural Capital, is the first in his series on community organizing. He is the Literary Curator of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s Latino Bookstore in San Antonio, Texas; board member of the BIPOC Arts Network Fund (BANF), and board member of Advocates of a Latino Museum of Cultural and Visual Arts & Archive Complex in Houston, Harris County (ALMAAHH). ​


MLK Birthday Event, presented in partnership with MFAH & the Gordon Parks Foundation

  • Sunday, January 15th at 3:00pm-4:30pm CST (90 min) – REGISTER HERE
  • In-person at Rothko Chapel and via Livestream
  • Pay what you can: $5-20



Related Event

  • Monday, January 16th – final day to view the Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power show at the MFAH | More information

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