What We Do
Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) is the city’s designated local arts and culture agency. We invest in Houston as a place to visit, live, work, honor, and create in. We do this by:
- providing grants to arts, culture, and community organizations and individual artists;
- commissioning, conserving and promoting public art and enlivening public spaces;
- highlighting and celebrating the region’s rich folklife and diverse cultural traditions through programming and documentation;
- helping arts and culture organizations develop business acumen;
- engaging neighborhoods and civic partners to advance equity in and access to arts and culture;
- furthering the arts and culture field through research and convenings;
- funding, in part, cultural tourism initiatives; and
- endeavoring to expand the overall creative economy.
Ultimately, HAA works to improve the quality of life for Houstonians and visitors alike, while promoting Houston as a premier arts and culture destination.
HAA is a nonprofit, public-private initiative whose primary partner is the City of Houston. Approximately 55% of HAA’s budget comes from Hotel Occupancy Tax and 30% from the City of Houston’s Percent for Art Program, which supports commissions of new civic art projects as well as conservation of existing artworks. The remaining 15% of HAA’s budget comes from private fundraising (grants/contributions/other revenue) for programs and special projects. HAA is committed to raising funds for only those projects and initiatives that the Arts Alliance is uniquely positioned to provide the community.
In broader terms, Houston Arts Alliance is defined as a Local Arts Agency (LAA) as well as a governmental component unit. Read below for the definition of each.
LOCAL ARTS AGENCIES
As defined by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Local Arts Agencies “provide a wide range of programs and services to help support and enable arts and culture at the local level. LAAs are intermediaries, serving artists and arts organizations, local residents, visitors and other partners. No two LAAs are alike ─ whether they serve a single village or town, a large city, county, or a multi-county region. Some LAAs are departments of local government, others are nonprofit organizations, and still others are hybrids of the two.” The NEA goes on to describe characteristics of LAAs, explaining that “LAAs may present and/or produce arts programming, commission and manage public art, administer grant programs, provide technical assistance to artists and arts organizations, and guide cultural planning efforts. Still others may own, manage, and/or operate cultural facilities and be actively engaged in community development, and partner with entities in tourism, social services, public education, housing, economic development, and public safety. All strive to enhance the quality of life in their communities by working to increase public access to the arts.”
Americans for the Arts presents a similar description of LAAs, noting that “there are more than 5,000 LAAs in the U.S.: 75% are private nonprofit organizations; 25% are agencies of city or county government. LAA budgets range from all-volunteer to over $150 million.”
GOVERNMENTAL COMPONENT UNIT
A governmental component unit is a legally separate organization for which the elected officials of the primary government are financially accountable. In addition, component units can be other organizations for which the nature and significance of their relationship with a primary government are such that exclusion would cause the reporting entity’s financial statements to be misleading due to close relations and financial integration with the primary government.