For the second year running, the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) is late announcing grant awards. Although the grant period has already started, grantees (including Glasstire) do not know how much their award will be for the 2014-2015 grant cycle. Grantees were surprised when HAA, which had been scheduled to announce grant awards in June, pushed the announcement date to July on its website without warning.
There has been growing concern among Houston arts organizations about HAA’s administration of grants; specifically around late communications and opacity in the decision process. It is unclear how HAA arrives at award amounts. In addition, many arts organizations in Houston are concerned about the fundraising activities of HAA, which directly conflict with those of its grantees.
In January, leaders of Houston arts organizations voiced these concerns to the leadership of HAA at a closed-door meeting. Six months later, organizations that need to finalize budgets for the current fiscal year cannot do so because they don’t yet know the amount of their HAA award.
Diem Jones, the former head of grants at HAA, is no longer with the organization as of this summer; and Richard Graber, who was previously HAA’s Director of Programs + Services, took on the role of Director of Grants this week.
HAA is the non-profit corporation charged with administering Hotel Occupancy Tax-funded city grants to arts organizations and individual artists in Houston. It was created by former Mayor Bill White to combine administration of grants and public art into one entity.