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Houston Arts Alliance Late with Grant Announcements


Konstantin Dimopoulos’s temporary public art installation The Blue Trees, a project of HAA’s civic art program.

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.


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11 Responses

  1. perplexed

    T I M E L I N E S T I M E L I N E S T I M E L I N E S T I M E L I N E S

    HAA individual artist grant
    apply dec 6, 2013
    panel review on jan 27 or feb 6, 2014
    grant committee approval march 2014
    grant period may 1, 2014 – april 30, 2015
    board approval and original notification april 2014
    * actual notification mid-july

    HAA arts marketing grant
    apply feb 17, 2014
    grant period july 1, 2014-may 30, 2015
    original notification june 2014
    * actual notification mid-july

    HAA general operating support grant
    apply march 21, 2014
    panel review april 28, 2014
    grant period july 1, 2013-june 30, 2015
    original notification june 2014
    * actual notification ???

    HAA’s board already approved these grants. what’s goin’ on? give us a number for chrissake. how are grantees supposed to spend money they don’t know is coming?

  2. In June, Houston Arts Alliance notified grant applicants that notification would be sent in July after the HAA Board meeting in late June. To date, the recipients of the Individual Artist, Arts Marketing, Arts Project and Arts Project-Outreach grants have been notified and have received contracts. Fortunately, recipients of the General Operating Support and General Operating Support-Expansion grants will be receiving notification by the end of the week.

  3. cryptology101

    How did HAA notify grant applicants in June? Carrier pigeon? Sky writer? Was it embedded in the text of those sculptures off Allen Pkwy? Did anyone get this notification?

    On June 25, applicants got a survey (sent to the email address included in grant applications) asking for their email addresses. (huh?) That’d be right around when people started asking about why notification dates had changed on the website w/o notice. That survey said, “FY14 and FY15 NEW Grant Award Notifications will be communicated in the upcoming weeks.” That was 4 weeks ago today, and the board meeting had already happened. Or was happening that week. Why not just own it?

  4. really?

    Cyrpto, I know for a fact I didn’t receive notification about the delay for IAG, I only knew because I checked the website.

    IAG applicants only received notification last Wednesday, and arts marketing only got results Thursday. I think the timeline (even if it was on time) is ridiculous.
    What sense does it make to apply for a grant for a project you’d be expected to have already secured venues/support for, to then only hear back about it nearly a year later?

  5. dhstout

    The problem is larger than grants. HAA is contracted through the city. If you want this issue resolved contact your city council member.

    Also note the rate of employee “resignation” under its current leadership.

  6. This is absurd

    No notification here either. And true, dhstout.

    I don’t know anyone who has positive things to say about the way grants are handled at HAA, but people are terrified to speak out. May this pave the way.

  7. Mark Magnevato

    Apparently you are still afraid to speak out, “This is absurd”. No doubt, however, that the grants dept. is a wreck over there.

  8. Tired of waiting patiently

    Thank you Glasstire for this public outing of an ongoing problem at HAA. At least we know through the comments here that an announcement should be forthcoming “by the end of the week.” Poor management and poor communication all-around.

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