DALLAS -- In a city where new apartment buildings seem to spring up without stopping, a local artist is hoping his new build will make developers and the City stop and think.
Among the new additions to Oak Cliff, one "building" stands out. Constructed from cardboard, with shifty big eyes and a smirk, perched in Dallas' Bishop Arts area. It is a house by artist Giovanni Valderas who calls his piece Casita Triste or Sad Little House.
"It's pretty much kind of like a metaphor for what's happened to our community," he said.
The artist was born and raised in Oak Cliff and has watched his area boom. In his mind, not always for the better.
"All the places I grew up going to, like the apartment complexes my cousins lived in, they’re no longer there," he said. "They’ve been knocked down and replaced with luxury apartments."
Since Christmas Valderas has constructed 10 houses and left outside of new builds and vacant lots, representing people priced out of their neighborhoods when big developments move in.
"That sends a big message to not only myself but to the community that "We’re not building anything for you guys, we’re building for the new people about to come in,'" said Valderas.
A bag on the side of his Casitas boasts postcards addressed to Dallas City Hall, filled out to ask for more affordable housing. It's an issue Valderas feels that's been ignored.
But his art can’t be.
And so along with more construction sites, there will be more Casitas to come.
"Until the City can fix this problem, that’s when I’ll stop," said Valderas.
For more on the artist's effort, click here.
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