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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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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.  As most of our funding comes from the City of Houston Hotel Occupancy Tax, grants are awarded for the encouragement, improvement, and application of arts and culture to promote Houston as a cultural destination. Grants are available for all artistic disciplines, including music, theater, dance, visual arts, cinema, literary arts, folk arts, and contemporary photography plus cultural centers, heritage associations, and festivals.

The majority of our grants are specific to 501(c)3 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, although small grants are available to other nonprofits that present or produce arts programs or events in our service area consistent with the promotion and enhancement of Houston and Harris County as a cultural destination.

In addition, HAA invests in capacity building for arts organizations that aspire to grow, providing knowledge and organizational development through best practices and mentorship. The Capacity Building Initiative is entirely funded through private donations.

HAA also provides grants to individual artists seeking support for the development and presentation of new artistic works, which in turn advances Houston's reputation as a vibrant creative hub and a destination for cultural tourism. HAA is one of the few arts agencies in the nation that still provides support to individual artists.

Applications for these grants are reviewed by external peer review panels, comprised of inclusive groups of artists, arts administrators, finance professionals, business people, community volunteers and others, selected for their expertise and objectivity and reflective of the diversity of our community.


HAA utilizes a distribution formula to determine its grantmaking budget. Since our inception in 2006, the following formula has been used to distribute our allotment of HOT funds:

  • 81% - General Operating Support/Expansion Grants
  • 7% - Capacity Building (Accelerator + Sustainability Grants)
  • 5% - Individual Artist Grants
  • 5% - Arts Project Grants
  • 2% - Incubator Grants

Although the actual amount of funds awarded each year varies based on fiscal year HOT revenues, this formula remains consistent.

In fiscal years where HOT funds are higher than projected, funds may be directed to optional grant categories (such as Arts Marketing Grants). In fiscal years where HOT funds are less than projected, the actual amount for General Operating Support/Expansion Grants is proportionately reduced to reflect the decrease in HOT funds. In cases of an unanticipated reduction in HOT funds, a grant category may be temporarily suspended until revenues increase.



Lauren Anderson
​Susanne Burkeholder
Kaye DeWalt
Fatima Mawji
Erin McClarty
Judy Nyquist
Louise Upshaw-McClenny, Chair
Christine West

July 16
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