LOCAL Houston | The City Guide September 2016 - Page 40

NOLO STUDIOS CREATING COMMUNITY By Tim Moloney | Photography Courtesy of Boulevard Realty, Renderings by Avoid Obvious LED BY A VERY FAMOUS AND FAMILIAR NAME IN THE HOUSTON ART WORLD, A NEW COMMUNITY FOR WORKING ARTISTS IS TAKING ROOT IN RURAL ACRES HOMES, A DIVERSE AND WOODSY NEIGHBORHOOD NORTH OF THE LOOP. ITS NAME IS NOLO STUDIOS, AND THE DESIGNER AND DEVELOPER IS FRANCOIS DE MENIL. “I have been more and more involved with the Menil Foundation,” the New York-based architect explains. “So I’ve been making more trips to Houston. When a group of artists approached me with the idea for this project, it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to create a community.” The neighborhood has been attracting artists priced out of Montrose and the Heights for years, says Star Massing, an agent with Boulevard Realty who holds the exclusive listings on the development. “It’s been a continual movement of artists to the area; residents include Trenton Doyle-Hancock, Terrell James, Nestor Topchy, Ed Wilson, Carter Ernst, Paul Kittelson, Tim Glover and more. The Art Guys also have their studio there.” (Full disclosure: Massing is married to Jack Massing, one of the Art Guys.) “I was working with a group of artists that were looking for large tracts of land to build on in Acres Homes,” she continues. “Since there is no infrastructure – it’s just rural land – it was cost-prohibitive for individuals to develop on their own. So, they decided to join together and develop the artist colony together. The whole project was artist-driven.” continued on page 42 40 L O C A L | september 16