Responding to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the arts in Houston, the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) is adding $25,000 of restricted capital to programs supporting artists and others affected by the multiple closings and cancellations due to the coronavirus. The Houston Arts Alliance, who also hosts Houston’s Let Creativity Happen! grants, will be the hub for the Greater Houston Area Arts Relief Fund. To make a tax deductible contribution to the new program, please go here.
Recognizing the contributions of artists to cultural nonprofits and for-profit businesses alike (although mostly functioning as commissioned and freelance contract workers) theMayor Turner acknowledges how vulnerable art workers are in the current crisis: “Artists and the cultural community are deeply woven into the fabric of Houston — they give our city its soul. They were among the first to cancel events and gatherings to help protect residents from COVID-19, and many have stepped forward in response to the crisis with virtual programs to promote critical social distancing and by making protective masks.”
“Artists and arts workers are uniquely able to help Houston by providing entertainment, respite, and a kind of therapy,” says Debbie McNulty, Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs Director. “The city needs their creativity now more than ever, and they need our help. HAA’s new disaster resilience program gives us a much-needed way to organize local fundraising and leverage our existing grant making system for this part of our response.”
The fund brings together MOCA and a dozen other Houston arts organizations, including Dance Source Houston; East End Cultural District; 5th Ward Cultural Arts District; Fresh Arts/Arts District Houston; Galveston Historical Foundation; Houston Arts Alliance; Houston First Corporation; Houston Museum District; Mid-America Arts Alliance’s Engage Houston; Midtown Cultural District; Theater District Houston; and University of Houston, the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts.
MOCA grants, which are funded through a portion of the Hotel Occupancy Tax that is dedicated to the arts, are part of other initiatives and resources from the city. The COVID-19 related resources can be found here, and artist opportunities such as commissions for the new Alief Community Center, and more information on the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, can be found here.