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.
Cast members, After the Storm, produced by Houston Grand Opera. Photos: Lynn Lane
CONTRIBUTOR: Pat Jasper, Director of Folklife + Civic Engagement
Who would have known? Who would have predicted? Yes, Houston is the biggest urban area straddling Hurricane Alley. Yes, we are just 50 miles inland from Galveston, site of the most significant natural disaster to occur in the U.S. ever. Yes, there was Carla and Allison and Katrina and Rita and Ike. Yes, the Memorial Day floods of 2015 were less than a year in the haunting past. But who would have known that the tribute program STORM SONGS & STORIES and its big sister opera After the Storm would coincide so immediately with the onslaught of yet another set of devastating storms in Houston?
Much to our disbelief, that was the case on May 4, 2016, upstairs at Rudyard’s British Pub at STORM SONGS & STORIES — a program organized by the HAA Folklife + Traditional Arts program and Houston Grand Opera — where it seemed like almost everybody sitting in the crowded bar had a story, a storm story. Different storms were remembered, and various genres utilized; there were sweet and scary and funny and stunning songs and stories and poems and spoken word pieces. In all, we had a lineup of some 20 or so presenters, and the program stretched past 10:30 p.m. There was even a storm of gong sounds, reminding us of the ineffable character of high wind and harrowing rain.
STORM SONGS & STORIES was livestreamed by Houston Public Media and recorded by the Folklife Program. Covered by Houston Public Media’s Amy Bishop, a feature about the evening ran on Houston Matters the next week and circulated statewide through The Texas Standard.
The whole thing reminds us of how fragile the world we live in is, and how, sometimes, only the arts can address this, quite often in a story or a song.