New York’s Starving Artists May Flee to … Here?

by Samantha Shaddock

Photo by Flickr user Vincent van der PasReal estate blogger Candy Evans recently riffed on her Second Shelters site about a possible exodus of New York artists to cheaper cities. She poses the question: could Dallas benefit from this?

A couple of weeks ago I spoke to a woman who, like me, moved to Dallas from New York this summer. She asserts that it’s actually cheaper in many ways to live in New York than it is to live here. She had a large corner unit in Harlem that cost a modest $1,000 (on par with “artist” lofts in Deep Ellum and less than what my husband and I pay for our duplex, which is nowhere near the train station), and because she had no car, she had no car payments, auto insurance, tags, inspection, gas, etc. draining her bank account. Not only that, but the sales tax in Dallas is almost as rude a surprise as the city and state taxes in New York. You can certainly find cheap rent in Dallas, but you inevitably sacrifice hipness or convenience (or both) in doing so. My feeling is that most artists aren’t willing to make the former sacrifice, but maybe I’m mistaken.

I sometimes wonder whether Dallas has a strong enough appetite for art to support a true and thriving artist community. Plenty of local groups certainly are pouring a lot of money, time and energy into whetting that appetite, and it would be lovely if they were successful. Still, I wonder.

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