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Art On The Avenue 2015


Charles Sapp (with children) created Fit Beat Kidz, a nonprofit organization that facilitates dance and leadership programming for youth at various Avenue CDC developments. Avenue CDC provides supportive services at all of its multifamily developments.

By Elizabeth Anthony

Houston’s ultimate “buy local” art experience recently took place at Winter Street Studios. The 19th annual Art on the Avenue, benefiting Avenue CDC, is Houston’s largest silent art auction, and this year’s event raised more than $200,000 for the cause. More than 500 works of original art and jewelry from over 285 local artists and 35 student artists were available for auction. Every purchase at this unique annual event supports local artists as well as affordable housing initiatives that benefit low-income Houston families and neighborhoods.

Joe Havel, director of Glassell School of Art, was curator and guest juror for the main gallery of this lively exhibition and sale. “I was very happy to be involved as were so many artists who donated really wonderful work,” said Havel. “It is such a great cause because affordable housing allows for a more diverse and interesting community and artists thrive in a richer and more complex urban texture. It’s inspiring! That’s why you see the tremendous generous donation of art works to this auction by the creative community.”

William Griffin, managing director of U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, was the chair of the
two-night event attended by some 1,000 Houstonians, and Preview Party host was Dianne Webb, director of Next Iteration Theater.

Webb said, “The work of providing affording housing and community development done by Avenue CDC is so important for valuing and supporting our diverse neighborhoods and population here in Houston. As this year’s Artist Party host, I loved being able to help shape the form of the event and bring in fashion designers, actors, models and installation art.”

The highly anticipated annual event showcased the local artwork in a fine art silent auction setting with proceeds from sales shared between the artist and Avenue CDC. Winning artists were: Donna Villareal, first place; Melissa Walter, second place; Denise Liebl and Noelle Mulder, honorable mention. A signed print by Pablo Picasso — “Woman with a Hat” — was the event raffle prize.

“I believe Art on the Avenue speaks volumes about the generosity of the creative community in Houston,” said Mary Lawler, executive director of Avenue CDC. “Every purchase helps us improve the lives of working families and enhance neighborhoods through our affordable housing and community revitalization initiatives.”

 

About Avenue CDC

In 1991, a group of neighbors created an organization to develop affordable housing, preserve historic buildings, and revitalize the Old Sixth Ward, a National Register Historic District in the shadow of Houston’s downtown. Avenue CDC now serves the greater Houston metropolitan area, with a particular focus on the Near Northside, East End, and Washington Avenue neighborhoods near downtown. These vibrant and historic neighborhoods are challenged by an aging and often neglected housing stock, vacant lots, and incompatible land uses.

The close proximity to downtown has encouraged a patchwork of new, upscale development and escalating housing prices that have placed home ownership, and even rental housing, in certain neighborhoods beyond the reach of many hardworking residents, especially artists and creatives.

Avenue CDC’s mission is to improve the community by developing affordable housing and economic opportunities, while preserving the area’s historic, cultural and economic diversity. The organization enhances the quality of life of working families and works to promote Houston’s future as a world-class city of healthy, vibrant and economically diverse neighborhoods. This kind of affordable housing is not only important to Houston but to the creative community. An example is Elder Street Artist Lofts located in the First Ward. Not only did Avenue CDC preserve a historic site, Jeff Davis Hospital, they were able to transform the building into an affordable development for Houstonians (mostly artists).

Avenue CDC additionally provides homebuyer education and counseling to help working families buy and maintain their own homes. They promote economic development and offer supportive services such as computer labs, afterschool programs, and nutrition, fitness, and financial literacy classes that enrich the lives of the individuals and families they serve. Avenue CDC is a member of the nationwide Neigh­borWorks Network of more than 245 community development organizations working in nearly 4,358 urban, suburban and rural communities across America.

One current landmark project is Avenue Place (avenueplace.com), which leads the way in quality, affordable green homes. With 95 single family houses to be developed, complete with a community park and walking trail, Avenue Place is minutes from downtown Houston. Residents will enjoy a selection of house styles including classic traditional and popular contemporary designs.

Avenue Place is a part of the Near Northside community, a vibrant neighborhood of charming homes built from the turn of the century to present day and situated on 12 acres near Looscan Elementary, Marshall Middle School and Jefferson Davis High School. Adjacent parks include Irvington Park and Moody Park and Recreation Center, located just down the street. Other nearby attractions include the M.D. Anderson YMCA and Carnegie Library. In addition, residents of Avenue Place are able to take advantage of Metro’s North Corridor rail line which connects downtown Houston with the Near Northside and the Northline mall area via Fulton street.

Art on the Avenue benefits Avenue CDC by raising funds for development of affordable single-family homes, development of quality affordable multi-family and senior rental housing, homebuyer education and counseling programs, community building and strengthening civic engagement, after-school tutoring and recreational programs for residents of the rental communities.

TOP IMAGE: Charles Sapp (with children) created Fit Beat Kidz, a nonprofit organization that facilitates dance and leadership programming for youth at various Avenue CDC developments. Avenue CDC provides supportive services at all of its multifamily developments.

Chase Hamblin, musician, has been a resident of the Elder Street Artist Lofts for the past eight years. “The location is great. The rent is great. The community is great. There is nothing like this building in Houston – I couldn’t ask for a better place to live.”

Chase Hamblin, musician, has been a resident of the Elder Street Artist Lofts for the past eight years. “The location is great. The rent is great. The community is great. There is nothing like this building in Houston – I couldn’t ask for a better place to live.” PHOTO – MIKE UNGER

Margaret Lejeune, member of Two Star Sym­phony, has lived in the Elder Street Artist Lofts for a decade. “This building is so unique. I have met the most amazing people living here and the most wonderful artists working hard at their craft. Since I have moved in here, I have been able to focus on my music and I wouldn’t be able to do that if I did not live here. I know when I look back, living here will be the best experience in my life.”

Margaret Lejeune, member of Two Star Sym­phony, has lived in the Elder Street Artist Lofts for a decade. “This building is so unique. I have met the most amazing people living here and the most wonderful artists working hard at their craft. Since I have moved in here, I have been able to focus on my music and I wouldn’t be able to do that if I did not live here. I know when I look back, living here will be the best experience in my life.” PHOTO – MIKE UNGER

Douglas Lopez, a healthcare administrator, lives in a market-rate home in Avenue Place. “The neighborhood is very close to downtown, which was key and crucial in my home search,” states Douglas. “Public transit is easy and accessible from the neighborhood, which is great.”

Douglas Lopez, a healthcare administrator, lives in a market-rate home in Avenue Place. “The neighborhood is very close to downtown, which was key and crucial in my home search,” states Douglas. “Public transit is easy and accessible from the neighborhood, which is great.” PHOTO – MIKE UNGER

Ludmila Ivanova, a jewelry artist originally from Bulgaria, moved into the Elder Street Artist Lofts in 2005. “We are like one large family. Everyone in the building looks out for one another. We really want to see each other succeed.” PHOTO - MIKE UNGER

Ludmila Ivanova, a jewelry artist originally from Bulgaria, moved into the Elder Street Artist Lofts in 2005. “We are like one large family. Everyone in the building looks out for one another. We really want to see each other succeed.” PHOTO – MIKE UNGER

The Elder Street Artist Lofts is a historic site (the old Jeff Davis Hospital) that has been transformed into affordable rental housing. Avenue CDC, in partnership with Artspace Projects Inc., completed the rehabilitation of this historic structure in 2005. Monica Kressman–Luna, a photographer, has transformed her apartment into a photo studio. “There is an amazing sense of community here.” PHOTO - MIKE UNGER

The Elder Street Artist Lofts is a historic site (the old Jeff Davis Hospital) that has been transformed into affordable rental housing. Avenue CDC, in partnership with Artspace Projects Inc., completed the rehabilitation of this historic structure in 2005. Monica Kressman–Luna, a photographer, has transformed her apartment into a photo studio. “There is an amazing sense of community here.” PHOTO – MIKE UNGER

Felix Flores, a Near Northside native, was ready to downsize from his home when he stumbled upon affordable senior living at Fulton Gardens. As an active senior, Felix utilizes the rail line to get around town. “I’m very comfortable in Fulton Gardens, this is the best apartment I have ever lived in,” states Flores. “I would recommend this apartment to anyone; matter of fact, I have!” PHOTO - MIKE UNGER

Felix Flores, a Near Northside native, was ready to downsize from his home when he stumbled upon affordable senior living at Fulton Gardens. As an active senior, Felix utilizes the rail line to get around town. “I’m very comfortable in Fulton Gardens, this is the best apartment I have ever lived in,” states Flores. “I would recommend this apartment to anyone; matter of fact, I have!” PHOTO – MIKE UNGER

 Joseph Cormier, VP and Treasurer of the Residents Council at Fulton Gardens, explains that living at this complex gives him a sense of independence. “I was looking to better my living conditions and that’s when I saw Fulton Gardens. This is an opportunity to make your life better.” PHOTO - MIKE UNGER

Joseph Cormier, VP and Treasurer of the Residents Council at Fulton Gardens, explains that living at this complex gives him a sense of independence. “I was looking to better my living conditions and that’s when I saw Fulton Gardens. This is an opportunity to make your life better.” PHOTO – MIKE UNGER

Hope Schultz and her two boys, LaDaninian, 10 and Damion, 12 (top left), live in one of Avenue CDC’s renovated, free-standing rental homes located in the Near Northside. Finding an affordable, stable home for her family has given Hope a sense of comfort and security. PHOTO - MIKE UNGER

Hope Schultz and her two boys, LaDaninian, 10 and Damion, 12 (top left), live in one of Avenue CDC’s renovated, free-standing rental homes located in the Near Northside. Finding an affordable, stable home for her family has given Hope a sense of comfort and security. PHOTO – MIKE UNGER

Avenue Place is a vibrant affordable housing community currently comprised of 48 single-family homes that will eventually grow to 95 homes. It also boasts a park and walking trail. Located in the heart of the Near Northside, the neighborhood draws a diverse group of residents. “There is fairly accurate representation of Houston in this little neighborhood. All races and ages can be found here. Retirees, lawyers, school teachers, stay-at-home moms. It is incredibly diverse,” explain Jason and Ashley Phelps, shown with their children. PHOTO - JANET ROE

Avenue Place is a vibrant affordable housing community currently comprised of 48 single-family homes that will eventually grow to 95 homes. It also boasts a park and walking trail. Located in the heart of the Near Northside, the neighborhood draws a diverse group of residents. “There is fairly accurate representation of Houston in this little neighborhood. All races and ages can be found here. Retirees, lawyers, school teachers, stay-at-home moms. It is incredibly diverse,” explain Jason and Ashley Phelps, shown with their children. PHOTO – JANET ROE

Patrick McIlvain, founder of Houston Walk for Mental Health, lives in a renovated, free-standing affordable rental home located in the Near Northside. “I was extremely worried of my future – I am low-income, living on food stamps, a military veteran. Because of Avenue CDC I am able to have this private little area that no one knows about. I am able to let my imagination for the Walk grow in my living space. It is just a really empowering area for me. It is joyful, I have my freedom back.” PHOTO - JANET ROE

Patrick McIlvain, founder of Houston Walk for Mental Health, lives in a renovated, free-standing affordable rental home located in the Near Northside. “I was extremely worried of my future – I am low-income, living on food stamps, a military veteran. Because of Avenue CDC I am able to have this private little area that no one knows about. I am able to let my imagination for the Walk grow in my living space. It is just a really empowering area for me. It is joyful, I have my freedom back.” PHOTO – JANET ROE

Newly engaged couple, Sarah and Jeff, recently moved to Avenue Place from the East Downtown area. “It is a little taste of the suburbs but still close to downtown,” explains Jeff. “It is a really welcoming neighborhood. It is such a great atmosphere to be a part of.” PHOTO - JANET ROE

Newly engaged couple, Sarah and Jeff, recently moved to Avenue Place from the East Downtown area. “It is a little taste of the suburbs but still close to downtown,” explains Jeff. “It is a really welcoming neighborhood. It is such a great atmosphere to be a part of.” PHOTO – JANET ROE


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