The City of Houston Awards Over $200K to Individuals and Nonprofits

by Jessica Fuentes January 4, 2024

The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) has announced its third round of recipients for the 2023 City’s Initiative and Let Creativity Happen! grants, totaling $232,250. This marks the third round of grants for 2023. Both granting programs are administered by the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) and funded by the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax.

A photograph of a small family looking at craft items at an event.

An event hosted by City’s Initiative grantee the Islamic Arts Society

The City’s Initiative (CI) grants funds programs in three areas, including projects that support neighborhood cultural destinations, projects that relate to conference tourism, and projects that raise awareness and preparedness for natural disasters. Additionally, each year MOCA awards a small number of grants for special community initiatives. For this round of CI grants, MOCA is awarding $132,500 to 14 individuals and nonprofit organizations in support of visual and performing arts projects.

Aime Rosales Figueredo has received a grant in support of the exhibition Fiebre, which will feature Cuban artists making works inspired by Puerto Rican singer Calma Carmona, who will perform at the opening reception. The exhibition will take place at the MATCH gallery from March 20 through March 31. The Society for Africans in the Diaspora (SAiD) will host ART + AFRICA, an exhibition and artist talk featuring four artists at the SAiD Institute in February. The Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) will use its grant to present Emerge!, a festival showcasing Houston’s emerging artists. The event will be presented in partnership with the Houston Cinema Arts Society and will take place on the campus of The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. 

Other awardees include the Alley Theatre, Colectiva Feminista Colibri, the Community Artists Collective, David Dietz, the Hispanic Alliance for Performing and Audiovisual Arts, the Islamic Arts Society, the Russian Cultural Center-Our Texas, Sheaman Austin, the South Asian Folk Arts Council, Virtual Arts for Humanity, and Megan Berti. Learn more about each of the grantees here.

A photograph of a person's hands resting on table with plates and glassware nearby.

A work by Let Creativity Happen! grantee Únies Gonzalez

The Let Creativity Happen! grant program supports individuals and nonprofit organizations developing and presenting creative and innovative projects in the City of Houston. For the final round of 2023, 40 grants have been awarded. 

In a press release, Mayor Sylvester Turner, who is now out of office but presided over this round of awards, said, “We launched this grant program in 2018 and the hundreds of bold bodies of work have brought joy to many. Houston creatives continue to showcase why our city is an art city and I hope that you will join me in supporting these offerings.”

Similar to the CI grants, Let Creativity Happen! grants are awarded to projects spanning a range of artistic disciplines, including visual art exhibitions, dance, theater, musical performances, and literary projects. Artist Davin Morrow has received funding in support of Out of the Strong Something Sweet, a fine art balloon sculpture exhibition which sheds light on the harmful effects of religious cults. George Brown will use his grant to bring to fruition Distrikt Magazine, a print publication highlighting the art and creativity of East Downtown Houston residents. Additionally, India House Houston and the Orange Show have each received funds to commission murals, and artist Únies Gonzalez will present an alternative photo installation at Stinson House, titled Leave the Kitchen Light On.

To see the full list of Let Creativity Happen! awardees and learn about their projects, click here.

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