Crawl through the city’s creative side

The strip of vacant warehouses and crumbling grey buildings that frame downtown will be given a jolt of color and life this weekend as Houston celebrates the 15th annual ArtCrawl.

What first began in the West End community has now expanded into the outskirts of downtown, where several industrial warehouses have been transformed into studios for artists to showcase their work.

Art enthusiasts will have a chance to wander the district and take in the work of more than 150 artists when about 35 warehouses open their doors for free, Sean Carroll, art history junior and ArtCrawl director said.

The event features a wide variety of art pieces, from poetry readings to abstract paintings and even art cars, Carroll said.

"Erie City Iron Works is a specialist in abstract painting, M.A.N. studios is all guys who make art cars, so there’s a lot of real fabrication," he said.

ArtCrawl began when urban artists suffered from a lack of activity following migration to the suburbs. The crawl gives artists an outlet to showcase their work without censorship.

"This is a non-juried show. We don’t kick anybody out for any content or anything like that. We let all artists have their real expression," Carroll said. "It’s a very mixed bag, so you can find something you like no matter what."

Aside from featuring returning artists from previous years, the ArtCrawl will promote new and rising artists.

"We get a lot of new blood coming in every year – I’d say (there are) about 20 to 30 new artists this year that were not included last year," Carroll said.

Carroll said the event also gives attendees a chance to view the architectural changes throughout the Warehouse District and downtown Houston.

"People get a great kick out of seeing the different warehouses and those changed into living spaces, so it’s also a kind of architectural tour as well as a tour of downtown," Carroll said.

One of the most historical buildings is the Elder Street Lofts, where 12 artists will be spotlighted. The building, which was once Jefferson Davis Hospital and is rumored to be haunted, now provides affordable housing for emerging artists.

"This is a great place that has turned into artists lofts and low-income housing. It’s a good mix of people. They hold events every month," Carroll said. Carroll first participated in the crawl five years ago, where he was a curator of his show, and has been the director for the past three years. On Saturday, Carroll will present a performance piece and he hopes that adults and children can be involved in a parade he will be organizing.

The ArtCrawl will last from 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday, and shuttle transportation is free. Patrons may begin the crawl at any point along the route, but the hub is in the block of 1200 block of Sterrett Street. Parking is available between Main Street and San Jacinto Street. For more information, visit

Leave a Comment