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About Us

Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) is the local nonprofit arts and culture agency that enhances the city’s quality of life through advancing and investing in the arts and diverse cultural programming. The work of HAA encourages Houston’s development and shapes its global reputation by fostering tourism and supporting and promoting the city’s creative economy.

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Public Art

Creating public spaces for civic and cultural use requires artists, designers, architects, and the community to collaborate. By actively fostering these partnerships, both public and private, HAA’s Civic Art + Design program initiates, manages, and maintains public artworks throughout Houston. It serves a vital role as catalyst for change that generates a culturally relevant and rich environment for residents and visitors alike.

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Folklife + Civic Engagement

Houston Arts Alliance’s Folklife + Civic Engagement program identifies and honors the artistic and cultural traditions of the city’s tremendously diverse and various communities and works to address the needs of all residents through engagement, citizen-driven initiatives, and equitable community outcomes. The Folklife program has been in existence since 2010. The addition of Civic Engagement to its portfolio was enacted through an HAA bylaws change in 2016.

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Grants are a fundamental means of promoting excellence in the creative sector. On behalf of the City of Houston, HAA awards approximately 225 grants annually to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations and individual artists through a competitive grant allocation process.

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Capacity Building

Houston Arts Alliance provides voice and leadership through its support of arts organizations and individual artists with programs and services that help build and foster a vibrant and creative community—these programs and services help to ensure that the arts professionals’ creative contributions remain a vital part of community life across Houston and the region.

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Houston Arts Alliance continues to play an important role in arts and culture research projects, initiating and participating in studies that demonstrate the far-reaching impact of arts and culture on our economy and quality of life.

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Get Involved

Looking for a way to lend a hand? Investing in the arts and culture is an investment in the quality of life for all Houstonians. Join Houston Arts Alliance as a donor, member or volunteer!

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Houston Arts Alliance utilizes different vehicles to communicate with it diverse audiences, ranging from the city’s arts and culture community to residents to tourists. Find out more about HAA’s electronic newsletters and connect with us through social media. Our online Press Room provides resources for members of the media.

Thursday, September 28, 2017
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Saturday, December 2, 2017
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Monday, December 11, 2017
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Tuesday, December 12, 2017
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Tuesday, December 12, 2017
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Thursday, December 14, 2017
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Monday, December 18, 2017
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Wednesday, January 10, 2018
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The City of Houston has supported arts and culture through a range of programs, some dating back 50 years. But not until 2006 were they brought together under one roof as the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA), Houston’s designated, nonprofit, local arts and culture agency.

Four previously existing programs merged to form HAA. The Municipal Arts Commission (MAC) had been established in 1965. Made up of volunteers appointed by Houston’s mayor, it advised City Council on cultural matters, including permanent and temporary civic art. The Cultural Arts Council of Houston and Harris County (CACHH) came along in 1977 to assist city and county departments to implement periodic civic art programs and administer arts and culture grants funded through the City of Houston Hotel Occupancy Tax.

The Municipal Art Conservation Office (MACO), created in 1996, catalogued, conserved, maintained, and promoted the City’s art collection. CACHH also provided professional staff to the Civic Art Committee (CAC), another volunteer organization established in 1999 to develop an annual civic art program.

In 2005-2006, Mayor Bill White led the effort to consolidate these four programs into Houston Arts Alliance. In 2007, the HAA Board appointed by Mayor White hired Jonathon Glus, an experienced public arts administrator, as HAA’s first President and Chief Executive Officer, tasked with creating what amounted to a new organization.

A new staff was assembled and new policies and procedures set in place. Through its grants program, HAA remained committed to fostering the growth of arts and culture organizations of all sizes. HAA’s Capacity Building Initiative (CBI) continued to strengthen the management capabilities of arts and culture organizations so they may grow and deploy their resources effectively and responsibly.

The agency launched major new programs, including Civic Art + Design and Folklife + Traditional Arts (changed in 2016 to Folklife + Civic Engagement per the HAA bylaws). Civic Art + Design initiates, manages, and maintains public artworks—both temporary and permanent—throughout Houston. HAA has commissioned public artworks of extraordinary scale and impact throughout the city, including the George Bush Intercontinental/Houston and the William P. Hobby airports and along Buffalo Bayou.

The nationally recognized Folklife + Civic Engagement program documents and presents music, dance, crafts, storytelling, and other forms of oral expression that express the life of Houston’s culturally diverse neighborhoods, as well as promotes heightened neighborhood involvement in the artistic life of the city.

As part of its strategic plan, HAA attracts new product to increase tourism, such as its successful efforts in bringing international art fairs to Houston. 

As part of its mission to advance the arts and culture, HAA impacts policy-making through in-depth research studies. Every five years HAA releases the economic impact of nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences in Houston/Harris County as part of Americans for the Arts’ national Arts & Economic Prosperity studies.

In 2012, HAA published its first Creative Economy of Houston study, providing a comprehensive look at the creative sector’s impact on Houston’s economy. Three years later, HAA published the second creative economy report, stating “The Houston regional creative economy is a sleeping giant—a $26 billion industry that has grown by 18% since 2004 and employs nearly 180,000 highly skilled workers.”

Glus emphasizes that HAA “is an agency designed to work in partnership and in alliance. That’s tremendously rewarding because it means we work with academia, business leadership, government leadership, and tourism leadership and play a special role in enhancing the city and enhancing the arts,” he says. “It allows us to be in a position to help reimagine what our city can be like on a daily basis.”

July 16
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