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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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Tuesday, February 20, 2018
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Wednesday, February 21, 2018
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Tuesday, March 27, 2018
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Director of Civic Art + Design

Sara Kellner
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Sara Kellner is an art professional with over 25 years of experience. A native of Buffalo, New York and Houston resident since 1999, Kellner originally moved to Houston to lead DiverseWorks Artspace as Executive Director. Prior to the post she served as Visual Arts Director for Buffalo’s Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, an alternative space co-founded by artists such as Cindy Sherman and Robert Longo. She has curated and co-curated over 80 exhibitions, many of which traveled nationally, including William Pope.L:eracism, Cecilia Vicuna’s solo exhibition cloud-net, and Contemporary Erotic Drawing.

Kellner has served Houston Arts Alliance (HAA), the city’s designated local arts agency, as Director of Civic Art + Design since 2015. There she supervises the department’s administration of the City of Houston’s Civic Art Program by way of permanent commissions, temporary art projects, and conservation of the City of Houston Art Collection. Recent projects include two major commissions, for Houston First Corporation, at the George R. Brown Convention Center: Ed Wilson’s Soaring in the Clouds and Wings Over Water by Joe O’Connell and Creative Machines. She also worked with Southwest Airlines and the Houston Airport System to develop seven commissioned works—as well as the acquisition of several pieces by Houston-area artists—for William P. Hobby Airport.

Prior to HAA, between 2006 and 2015, Kellner ran a successful fundraising and public art project development consultancy in service of Houston-area artists and organizations. She managed the Art in Transit program for METRO’s Houston Light Rail Expansion and worked with 22 artists and artist teams to develop works of station-integrated art. Kellner additionally procured a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to develop a long-term conservation plan for The Orange Show, a national historic site in Houston.

Kellner served as the Board President of the National Association of Artists Organizations (NAAO), during the NEA Four Supreme Court trial, at the height of the culture wars. She participated in the first year of The Co-Generate, a series of national Rockefeller Foundation-sponsored meetings, to foster the leadership of artists and arts professionals under the age of 30. Kellner currently serves as an advisory board member for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Film Department; an ex officio board member of the Houston Arts Foundation; and a member of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership Public Art Committee. She participated in the Getty Leadership Institute, National Arts Marketing Project advanced training, and has served on such funding panels as National Endowment for the Arts and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

Kellner holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design.



Alex Irrera
Civic Art + Design Collection Coordinator / 713.527.9330 x 103

Mat Kubo
Civic Art + Design Project Manager / 713.527.9330 x 120

July 16
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