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Moss Avenue is becoming a destination for transplanted artists

Moss Avenue is fast becoming a magnet for artists from around the country.

Alex Carmona is a printmaker originally from Colorado. He carves designs into blocks of wood, creating the stamps he uses for prints. He's also one of the transplants to the historic avenue.

"It's one of those funny things that, you know, fate kind of just brought all of us here together," he said. "And we're all really, really close friends now. And we're all artists. It's just a very strange thing."

So why Moss Avenue? Simply put, it's because the old homes not only have character, but they're also affordable. That's not a common combination.

Carmona and his wife, Chelsea, considered moving to Austin, Texas at one point.

"Austin is a very cool place, very hip. But man, it's expensive," he said.

He said some artists were living with four to six people in one apartment to make ends meet. But Peoria is a place where an artist can afford to be an artist, and live comfortably.

"It has a lot of the a lot of the things that cities like that do have, and there's big markets all around us. So it's easy to travel to them. But it really is a hidden gem here. It's a good supporter of the arts. And it's very diverse," he said.

Carmona is joining up with fellow Moss Avenue artists and transplants Bob Doucette, Rick Blanco, and Miguel Rocha for the upcoming ArtHAUS event on April 22-23. The artists are opening up their homes for tours, and displaying their artwork.

"Things just aren't made the way they were. You know, everything's made by hand in our houses," he said. "They're very, very unique. They all have their own styles. And really, the artwork that's going to be on display is world class; we all have artwork all over the world."

Tickets and more information can be found at the ArtHAUS website.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.