The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) in collaboration with the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) has awarded a total of $9,998,343.77 in grants to 87 individuals and 151 arts and cultural nonprofits.
MOCA and HAA are supporting new grantees and also extending contracts for 2020 projects whose funding was affected by the decline in Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) revenue that year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent suspension of travel and shut downs of non-essential businesses. Along with extending 2020 grantee contracts, the funding institutions are providing flexibility and encouraging grantees to adjust the scale, scope, and format of programming from their original proposals.
These funds are administered through three specific HAA grant programs. The Support for Organizations (SO) grant provides operating funds for organizations offering arts and cultural programs for the public. SO includes three funding tiers to support emerging and established organizations. Some of this year’s awardees include, among others, Art League Houston; Artists for Artists; the Asia Society Texas Center; BOX 13 ArtSpace; the Houston Center for Photography; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Project Row Houses; and Glasstire.
The Festival grants provide funds for arts festivals or art-based components of cultural festivals. Festival grant awardees include the Indian Film Festival of Houston; the Houston International LGBTQ Film Festival; the Houston Latino Film Festival; the Texan-French Alliance for the Arts; and Warriors in Art. Finally, the Support for Artists and Creative Individuals (SACI) grants provide up to $15,000 to individuals working in any artistic discipline to create and showcase new work or to complete in-progress projects.
All three of these grant programs are funded through the HOT revenue, which is generated through hotel bookings. A portion of this revenue is earmarked to support arts and cultural tourism with over a third of the earnings going to support organizations with expenses over $10 million, and another third of earnings supporting organizations with expenses under $10 million and individual artists and creatives.