Business View Civil and Municipal | Volume 9, Issue 1

11 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL VOLUME 3, ISSUE 1 CITY OF HOUSTON AWARDS $9.5 MILLION IN GRANTS TO ARTS AND CULTURE NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS T he City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA), in partnership with the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA), is awarding $9,998,343.77 in grants to 87 individuals and 151 arts and culture nonprofit organizations. The funding is part of a strategic and compassionate response to the impact of the pandemic on the City’s arts and culture and will sponsor projects offering public exhibitions, presentations, and performances in 2022. The City, in partnership with HAA, is leveraging 2021 grant funding by supporting new grantees and 2020 grantees. “Houston is an international arts and culture city, and our continuous investment in the arts builds a strong foundation for the future,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The awards will strengthen Houston’s creative economy, which includes artisans, artists, musicians, creative workers, festivals, and organizations that reflect the diversity and inclusivity of our City.” The funds were awarded via the Support for Organizations, Festival and Support for Artists and Creative Individuals grant programs, which supports individuals, nonprofit organizations and fiscally sponsored projects with annual arts and cultural programming that is available to Houston residents and visitors. These competitive grant programs are managed and administered annually by the HAA and are funded by a portion of the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT). The competitive grants programs include an annual improvement process that begins in January of each year. All aspects of the competitions are updated based on community input and the City’s goals. During the summer, the staff of HAA launches each competition through social media and newsletter publicity, and then conducts several public workshops about the process of creating a competitive application. Competitions are open to the public for two or more months, during which the HAA staff takes meetings and phone calls upon request and answers email questions from potential applicants. All applications received by the published deadline are reviewed through a two-step process. First, applications are reviewed by HAA staff for objective eligibility criteria. For example, the applicant must be based in the City of Houston and must offer publicly accessible programs during the time the grant will be active. Second, all eligible applications are read and scored by panelists, who are experts in the arts and community vetted through the HAA Grants Committee of the Board of Director. Each year, HAA assembles between 50 and 120 panelists, depending on the number Houston is an international arts and culture city, and our continuous investment in the arts builds a strong foundation for the future OPENING L INES