Jefferson Woodruff,

Jefferson Woodruff, left, chats with a customer at First Saturday Arts Market. (Contributed photo)

We’ve got a parking problem, finally!

Who wants a parking problem, you may be asking yourself. I would be the guilty party.

I recall when First Saturday Arts Market got started in 2004, there were quite a few market dates that had more exhibitors than customers. There was a large parking lot at that first location and I remember praying for a parking problem!

How bad could that be?

Fast forward to today, and I realize I should have been more specific with that parking problem request!

I’m not taking credit for all of the Heights, just my little spot there on West 19th Street.

This Saturday at 540 W. 19th St., the First Saturday Arts Market will be open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. There is parking but not much. Most folks seem to park nearby and walk over.

I’m looking forward to seeing that first wave of art patrons “appear” right at 11. It’s the most amazing phenomena to me.

For our neighbors, there are bike racks in front of Ride Indoor Cycling at 548 W. 19th St.

For the more adventurous, Houston BCycle installed a bike-sharing station at 249 W. 19th St. Rent a bike and ride over! The BCycle station is in front of Casa Ramirez Folkart Gallery and We Olive & Wine Bar. Great people, shopping and eating.

A Sept. 15 story in The Leader, "Houston BCycle expands in Heights" by Landan Kuhlmann, covered the new Heights locations and provided this map link:

The market this Saturday is more like a mini art festival for the first time since last year. Forty-two artists are on the roster, which can be previewed on the website.

Austin artist Jefferson Woodruff will be in attendance. Woodruff, who grew up in Oak Forest, is a sculptor, art metal and jewelry designer and fabricator. At the markets, his impossibly balanced mobiles (an engineering feat if you ask me) are a big draw to his booth.

Woodruff loves telling stories and is fond of retelling how he studied me and my market for a year (in 2005) before deciding I was OK and approached me about attending.

I’m not sure I’ve been vetted for that long before or since.

Woodruff recalled his experience with The Leader while growing up in Oak Forest this past spring to help raise funds for the LuvLeader campaign.

“When I was a boy growing up in Oak Forest I was an avid newspaper reader,” Woodruff wrote. “But I didn’t read The Leader. It was all about people’s dogs and bake sales at the VFW. Now all that has changed. I get very little news from the remaining major daily, but I get all sorts of interesting local news in The Leader. It happens that I live in Houston’s outermost suburb, Austin. I really appreciate The Leader for keeping me plugged in to the old neighborhood as well as all the local news that matters to me, from Houston.

"The arts coverage surpasses anything that has ever been in Houston,” Woodruff concluded. "There is nothing like it in Austin either.”

I really like that last statement! Check out Woodruff and his work at

Houston Winery and Houston Cider Co., both Heights businesses, will join Pak-Man Food Truck and the artists this Saturday. Get more details on the website,

Cohen is an artist and founder of the First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at for additional highlights and artist’s stories.

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