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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As the designated, nonprofit local arts and culture agency, Houston Arts Alliance provides a public forum for arts and culture issues that our relevant to our community. Throughout the year, Houston Arts Alliance hosts conversations and panel discussions that are free and open to the public. HAA also periodically convenes the arts and culture field for special opportunities important to the sector.
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.
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!
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.
CONTRIBUTOR: Angel Quesada, Folklife + Civic Engagement Manager
In 2015 the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) Folklife + Traditional Arts program worked with Houston-based Folklore Films to capture the magic of Voices of the Spirit V. Over five years this special concert has presented the diverse, devotional music traditions of the region’s varied faith communities. This extraordinary collaboration not only documented the performances, but engaged the individual participants in describing the compelling role that “the spirit” plays in their lives and sacred practices. Interviews were conducted cooperatively in the homes or places of worship of each group. Teaming up with Folklore Films extended and expanded the work of the Folklife + Civic Engagement program by adding a huge dose of ethnographic poetry to the total project.
Folklore Films is an entity that has been working in and around the city to promote stories that enlighten and humanize through the paradigm of film. Often, traditional documentary film moves chronologically following the subject from point A to point B. Folklore Films approaches their subjects in an evocative and non-linear way, creating visual textures and placing the viewer inside the world of the subject. Marlon Hall, the artistic director of Folklore Films, likens the short and sweet renditions they create to visual poetry.
In addition to Hall, Folklore Films includes producer Danielle Fanfair and Shelly Travis. In a discussion of their work, the Folklore Films team says: "In a city whose commerce is driven by natural resources, many of which are not renewable, we have discovered that the last renewable resource is The Human Story. No other resource in the city adds value and values like a good story. Good stories inspire more good stories that inspire a healthy culture. This is the power of folklore."
Check out a snippet of the footage shot by artistic director Hall and edited by HAA’s own Angel Quesada. In these clips, we get an even more intimate sense of two of the groups involved in 2015’s Voices of the Spirit: Chinelos Familia Lopez and the gospel singing Cortez Family. In their own words, working with Folklore Films helped the Folklife program broaden its focus and communicate its process by going beyond the performance to share and understand these groups.