Sunday, November 12, 2006

Itchy Acres

Before Savannah, before Jersey City, before New Orleans, before Manhattan and Brooklyn, before Dallas and Austin, I grew up sort of in the orbit of Houston, Texas (in what was then the town of Katy, and what is now basically another suburb of the ever-expanding Space City). People love to hate on Houston, but I actually maintain that it's kind of a cool place. You just have to know where to look. The Three Percent Theory described in LfNO is defintely in full effect in Houston. There's cool stuff going on, you just have to know where to look.

Maybe I'll go into that more some other time, but the reason I bring it up now is this interesting story in today's Houston Chronicle. "Rising property values have begun to drive [artists] from close-in neighborhoods" like Montrose and the Heights, inside the 610 Loop, where they've always been. "Now, they're building brand-new metal houses and studios outside the Loop."

That movement is most visible north of Loop 610 and west of Interstate 45 in wooded, historically black neighborhoods such as Acres Homes and Independence Heights.

Some of Houston's best-known artists either already live and work there or have bought property with plans to build. The roster includes The Art Guys, Paul Kittelson, Carter Ernst, Virgil Grotfeldt, Terrell James, Lee Littlefield, Ed Wilson and Tim Glover.

The area is now being referred to as "Itchy Acres."