STRAY CAT ADOPTION CAFE TO BE TAKEN IN BY KINDLY HEIGHTS DANCE STUDIO Jack Witthaus writes that cat lady and CPA Renée Reed has finally found a home for El Gato Coffeehouse, a long-planned cafe intended to double as a venue for playing with up-for-adoption cats. Reed has been looking for a space since at least June, when she announced a partnership with the Houston Humane Society to help socialize and find homes for the organization’s rescue animals, à la Austin’s Blue Cat Cafe. Witthaus reports that Reed is signing a lease with yoga and dance studio NiaMoves on Pecore St., which will be leasing part of its property — that’ll include enough space for both a cat lounge and the 53-ft.-long shipping container where food and drink prep will be sequestered, for reasons of city health code. [Houston Business Journal] Photo of NiaMoves at 508 Pecore St.: Nia M.
Cafe Finds a Home
Clarification, 12/22: Jon Deal of Deal Properties writes: “Just wanted to clarify that Studio Red is not specifically working on the silo project, rather they are studying a master plan of approximately 35 contiguous acres owned by Frank Liu, Steve Gibson and myself of which The Silos are part. Jason Logan and Matt Johnson of LOJO architects is working on the facade.”
Under the sign of the merry Mahatma, workers are sweeping out what stray grains of rice may linger within the 38 silos at the old Riviana Foods complex at 1520 Sawyer, which last contained the cereal crop in 2008.
They are prepping for its new purpose as the Silos on Sawyer, a 79,000 sq.-ft. art space and the latest addition to the Deal Company’s pre-existing Spring Street Studios, Winter Street Studios and Silver Steet Studios complex in the heart of the State of Texas-recognized Washington Avenue Arts District.
Reader Noah Brenner ventures inside, camera in hand:
A total of 55 workspaces are now available for lease, along with 20,000 sq.-ft. set aside for flexible buildouts such as restaurants, galleries or retail.
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Granaries To Galleries
Local art guide Robert Boyd takes himself and readers on a photo tour of the outbuildings surrounding Nestor Topchy’s home “just south of the North Loop,” catching readers up on a few of the structures the artist has built since (or salvaged from) his residency at the legendary TemplO (earlier, Zocalo), the 6-acre arts commune he ran on a rented former truck depot at 5223 Feagan St. in the West End from the late eighties into the early aughts. And he finds much to impress, including the glass-walled tin-roofed structure pictured here, which Topchy pieced together from steel windows and doors salvaged from buildings in Houston and Argentina, and which fronts a pond on the acre-plus property. Topchy calls it the Crescent:
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Art Is Where You Make It
HALF THE $25.8M NEEDED FOR MIDTOWN ARTS CENTER RAISED Looks like the money for that proposed theater and gallery complex on Main St. keeps rolling in, reports the Houston Chronicle: “Fundraising up to now,” reports Flori Meeks, “has yielded about $12.3 million.” But the little meter on the website for the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston — or The MATCH for short — says that the troupe-friendly group already has $13.2 million; that’s 51 percent of the $25.8 million needed to get started on the Lake Flato- and Studio Red-designed building (shown here) on the existing surface parking lot that’s bound by Main, Travis, Francis, and Holman. And what’s it going to be when that other $12.6 million’s in pocket? “While designs have yet to be finalized,” reports Meeks, “current plans for the 59,000-square-foot building call for a large 350-seat theater, three black-box theater spaces with flexible seating configurations, two rehearsal spaces that can also be used for performances and exhibits, a large gallery area, more than 6,000 feet of office space, a central public breezeway that can be used for performances and exhibits and a coffee and wine bar.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Rendering: The MATCH
After taking in this weekend’s open house at the thriving shipping-container art colony ensconced in Stephen and Thedra Cullar-Ledford’s Independence Art Studios at 419 Janisch Rd. between Shepherd and Yale (above), fine-arts hound Robert Boyd pokes around a few more streets in Independence Heights — and finds a lot more art lurking in the neighborhood’s big lots. Boyd writes: “I think we can say that this is a little hidden art neighborhood. And if it follows the pattern of other art neighborhoods like Montrose and Rice Military, in 25 years or so, it will be full of expensive townhomes.”
Photos: Robert Boyd. Sculpture: Jonathan Clark
Tonight’s art opening at the new Box 13 ArtSpace will serve as a grand opening for the new East End art venue as well.
The space is a 2-story former furniture store on the corner of Harrisburg and Cesar Chavez (or — as the organization’s website uh, “artfully”(?) calls the street — “Cesar Chivas”). It features 13 studio spaces for artists in residence, three interior galleries, a storefront-window display space, and an “outdoor performance exhibition space,” known more conventionally as a parking lot.
The artist-run nonprofit intends to acquire a second building, at 6701 Capitol (directly behind the 6700 Harrisburg building), within a few months. “The Capitol building lends itself toward sculptors and installation artists,” declares the website.
After the jump: A quick tour of the new facilities!
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