SEATTLE-- They're five old, crumbling houses, their beauty long faded, but they're now undergoing a renaissance on Seattle'sCapitol Hill.

I don't know how to explain it, mused one bypasser.

It's...ummm...really interesting, quipped another.

Walk through the front doors of the homes located in the 700 block of Bellevue Avenue East, and you step into a Willy Wonka-like wonderland of artistic expression. Each vacant house is a blank canvas for 13 local artists. One home is entirely wrapped in a plastic cocoon and plastered with a huge bar code. Another houses a living room illuminated with variations of Venus. Still anotheris home to a giant wolf head that appearsthrough the floorboards as a moondescends through the ceiling.

It's experimental and I like that, said artist Allan Packer. Seattle has a history of that. With a space like this the sky is the limit.

The houses are on loan to exhibit sponsor MadArt Seattle. The owners will soon have them torn down and replaced with a new development.

The unexpected art experience is what we're going for here, says MadArt founderAlison Milliman. These artists have made a number of really clever pieces of art.

Clever, like a house wallpapered and carpeted with t-shirts, babyclothes and even underwear. Another exhibit involves two of the houses being ties together with massive lengths of red straps -- the kind movers use to tie down furniture. The taut straps run through the walls, down staircases and into another house across the drive way. There is still one renter staying in that house. Shane Jorgensen said along with looking like a combination spider web and laser show, the artwork serves a practical purpose.

I think it makes this place prettyearthquake proof, he said.

The exhibit runs through August 7. For times and more information visit