The end of the year did not sneak up on us. There were many warnings, such as fall in Houston, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas, for example. Yet, here I am still shocked that another year has come and gone.
Being the eternal optimist, I love resolutions, new beginnings and all that. I’m all in. Bring it on! Asking me to review and reflect, though, is not my strong point. But I do like to do that with my column.
This is the time of year lists for the previous year pop up everywhere. Best of lists, the most lists, whodunnit and who died. Even if I am the first one to write up my list of resolutions, I still find it odd that people like to reminisce with lists. Still, I have a few observations about 2019.
I noticed the incredible shrinking parking space coincided with the ever-expanding homes and retail shops in the area. New businesses opened while older ones closed. The “mom and pop” shops are disappearing and I’m not sure anyone is noticing. To me that’s a big problem. Those shops and businesses define what made this area popular.
The Heights and surrounding areas are getting taller. Much taller. The sight of multiple-story cranes erecting new highrises is surreal if not downright scary to me. First on 19th and 20th streets and then over off Sawyer Street, the cranes went up, followed by the multiple-story apartments.
Friends left us, always too soon, reminding us that life is fragile, fleeting and under-appreciated. Is there a lesson to learn from loss? A challenge to take up? Always, in my opinion. First and foremost to cherish your family and friendships. Honor, thank and respect them now. Never count on tomorrow or second chances.
With change, there is always going to be opportunity. Find it, make it work for you or change your scenery. One thing that Houston is really good at is change, whether we are ready for it or not.
Change is probably what I find most attractive about outdoor art markets and festivals. That ability to pack up and be done with it at the end of the day has a bit of freedom that is exhilarating. Even though it’s easy to get accustomed to surroundings and neighbors, a market changes constantly with the art and products reflecting what is popular in their communities.
Artists may be as readily adaptable. They move to areas that are unpopular for cheap land and rent and start creating. Before too long, their friends follow them, then friends of friends. Suddenly the cheap area is the new arts area. Land values go up, rent goes up and the artists begin moving to the next area to start over.
Am I saying the transitory lifestyle of artists is the cause of all these lists you like to read this time of year? I don’t know. I’m busy working on my resolutions for 2020. Happy New Year!
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com.