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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.

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Winter Celebrations

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Photo: Pin Lim

Houston is a town where summer punishes and winter forgives. As a result, the winter months in Houston provide an extra opportunity to celebrate the season in special ways that express our diversity, our internationalism and our local heritage.

In response to this phenomena, Houston Arts Alliance’s Folklife + Traditional Arts program presented Winter Celebrations, a trio of installations, along with live performances and interactive events centered on the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Lunar New Year and the African-American trail riders who help kick off the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

These distinctive traditions share more than a season — they are all public, participatory, festive events involving parade-like processional activities, music and dance, and fancy garb or costume.

All events were free and open to the public at Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston (MATCH), 3400 Main Street.

Observing the Feast Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe

Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston (MATCH), 3400 Main Street
December 2 - 8, 2015
Opening reception: December 3, 2015

The Virgin of Guadalupe (Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe) is the single most significant Catholic holy personage associated strictly with the Americas. Appearing to the peasant Juan Diego on a hillside outside Mexico City almost 500 years ago, she asked as the “true Mother of God” that a church be built in her honor on that very site. The celebration of the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe is a powerful religious and cultural event in the Mexican and Mexican American Catholic community. She is the object of popular devotion but also a cultural symbol.
This exhibition explores the artistic and cultural traditions that surround it on all sides -- the music, dance, food, drink, special garments, altar building and storytelling. Every year on the Sunday closest to her feast day, the Guadalupana Association of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese organizes a procession as a sacred tribute to the Virgin of Guadalupe involving scores of devotional dance groups known as matachines, danzantes and chinelos.

As is often the case with folk arts such as these, aesthetic traditions are embedded in community and cultural practice. Their beauty resides in the resourcefulness and collectivity they express and in the time invested to demonstrate devotion to the Virgin. They are seen as gifts to her in return for the gifts she has shared with all humankind. 

Bank of America was the lead presenting sponsor for the entire Winter Celebrations series and the free Family Day held on January 18, 2016. Additional support was provided by Sara and Bill Morgan, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Houston Endowment.

Exploring Lunar New Year

Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston (MATCH), 3400 Main Street
Wednesday - Tuesday, January 13 - 19, 2016
Opening reception: January 14, 2016

The Lunar New Year celebration that is most popular in Houston is grounded in the Chinese calendar and is observed by the many nationalities with strong cultural ties to China. In Houston that is mostly the Chinese and Vietnamese communities. Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the single most festive and important holiday in these communities and its commemoration involves weeks of preparation. Customs vary from community to community and in Houston they come together in new ways but the entire event heralds new beginnings and signals relief from the travails of the old year.


Crowds assemble at temples and community events to enjoy performances of the lion and dragon dances, fireworks and offerings. These activities are common in Southeast Asian communities in Houston and worldwide and represent happiness and auspiciousness in general. However, they are especially associated with bringing in the new year by chasing out bad omens from the past and clearing the way for new beginnings.

Each year is demarcated by its special Chinese zodiac sign. In the midst of this, families gather to experience the clamor of bells, the commotion of congregants, the whisper of prayer, the smell and smoke of incense in the air. Displays are mounted in homes, businesses and religious institutions throughout the city in a spirit of renewal and regeneration. Elaborate arrangements of fruit and other items such as candles, incense, bamboo and flowers are placed as offerings and signs of respect to ancestors and deities. Their artful arrangement signifies abundance, esteem and generosity.


Bank of America was the lead presenting sponsor for the entire Winter Celebrations series and the free Family Day held on January 18, 2016. Additional support was provided by Sara and Bill Morgan, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Houston Endowment. Special thanks to the Chinese Community Center.

Honoring Houston’s African-American Trail Riders

Wednesday - Tuesday, February 10 - 16, 2016
Opening reception: February 11, 2016

The Texas Gulf Coast is home to a rich, black cowboying tradition. The counties that surround Harris —especially Waller, Fort Bend, Brazoria and those further south along the Coastal Bend — are still home to a thriving ranch community. African-American cowboys helped build that culture and economy, and it is this legacy that spurred the creation of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s black trail ride associations. 

All of the trail ride associations come out in greatest force, perhaps, in the days leading up to the Rodeo. And while the Rodeo is usually the one event where most Houstonians see the trail riders, these clubs and associations are active year round. Some of their events draw thousands of people. Camping, riding, socializing, celebrating with music and food create bonds among family and friends that are usually forged for life and over generations.  

Ranching, rodeoing and trail riding are cousins. Rodeos are often staged at trail ride events, and riders support them with enthusiastic attendance. Like all rodeos, African-American ones draw on and honor the tasks and techniques central to ranching practice, and ranching families involved in all of these have been central to passing on these traditions.

The primary focus of the exhibition Honoring Houston’s African-American Trail Riders was the Southwestern Trial Ride. This group begins its ride, as most groups do, by hosting a huge celebration, frequently featuring zydeco, hip hop or country music. Over the last 20 years, the music and its lyrics have begun to consciously embrace the trail riding ethos, lending a signature sound to the black trail tradition.

Bank of America was the lead presenting sponsor for the entire Winter Celebrations series and the free Family Day held on January 18, 2016. Additional support was provided by Sara and Bill Morgan, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Houston Endowment. Special thanks to the 

July 16
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