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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

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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Dialogues

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.

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Research

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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News

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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Thursday, October 5, 2017
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How We Award Grants


Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) provides grants annually to more than 220 arts and cultural organizations, community non-profits and individual artists through a competitive grant allocation process. The majority of funding for HAA grants comes from the City of Houston’s Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) funds, of which a portion (19.3%) is allocated for the arts, per a City of Houston ordinance. Of that 19.3%, 39.5% is allocated to HAA for grants, programs and program support. Texas law stipulates that HAA grantees must be based in the City of Houston, and that these funds must be used only for projects and events that enhance and promote Houston as a cultural destination. For details on how current HOT distributions are made for the Houston area, click here.

HAA also receives funding from the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) which is sub-granted to organizations that offer programming primarily taking place outside the City of Houston but within Harris County.

HAA awards grant funds using a competitive process based on nationally recognized best practices. At the heart of this process are peer review panels. Applications for these grants are reviewed by external panelists, composed of artists, arts administrators, finance experts, business professionals, community volunteers and others, selected for their expertise, objectivity, and diversity. Panels often include field experts from outside of Houston to ensure objectivity, and include panelists from Houston so that applications are considered within the context of the Houston community. 

Panelists evaluate applications utilizing criteria included in guidelines. Following the panel process, panel recommendations are reviewed by the HAA Grants Committee and Executive Committee. The work of the Grants Committee is to ensure that the panel process has been followed appropriately and that panel recommendations comply with the agency’s grantmaking policies and procedures. Executive Committee approves recommendations for overall compliance on behalf of the Board of Directors. 

 


GRANT CATEGORIES

Grant funds are offered annually in the funding categories as shown below. Please refer to full guidelines posted on the Houston Arts Alliance website for complete eligibility requirements.

 

Grant for Organizations:
General Operating Support/Expansion (GOS/E): This category of funding is available to organizations with a core mission to foster arts and culture in Houston and have successfully completed two project grant cycles or a combination of project grants and city initiative grants.

  • General Operating Support grants are for organizations with year-round programming.
  • ​General Operating Support Expansion grants are for multicultural arts organizations with year-round programing. 

Funding for general operating expenses is vital to the long-term fiscal stability of arts organizations, making the GOS/E grant program an important investment in the arts by HAA on behalf of the City of Houston. 

For more information, click here

 

Arts Project Grant (APG): This category of funding supports organizations in the production of arts and cultural programming that serves to establish a cultural environment that attracts visitors to the City of Houston. Awards might include visual arts exhibitions, performing arts presentations, artists’ residencies, lecture/demonstrations, festivals and other public programs that make Houston an attractive cultural environment for tourists and residents. 

For more information, click here.

 

Arts Project Grants/ Outreach (APG-O): This category of funding is an extension of the APG program and funds district-specific projects, awarding grants to organizations and individual artists with projects in City of Houston Council Districts A, B, E, and F. Currently, this is a three-year pilot program initiated in FY2013 and will conclude in FY16 for these districts. New districts may be identified for FY17.

For more information, click here.

 

Touring & Neighborhood Arts Program (TNAP): This opportunity is funded by the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) and periodically matched by HAA with non-HOT funds at the discretion of the HAA board of directors. This funding helps underwrite projects such as performances, workshops and outreach activities in locations not only in Houston but throughout Harris County. Awards are primarily small matching grants. Currently, this is the only HAA grant opportunity that supports art activities outside Houston’s city limits.

For more information, click here.

 

City’s Initiative (CI):  Of the 19.3% HOT monies identified for the arts, 2.5% is directed per City ordinance to the City’s Initiative category. HAA manages the application process on behalf of the Office of the Mayor. All applications are reviewed directly by the Grants Committee which makes direct recommendations to the Office of the Mayor. That office retains the final decision.  

For more information, click here.

 

Arts Marketing Grant (AMG): This funding opportunity is open to current General Operating Support and General Operating Support Expansion grantees only. Awards fund special marketing initiatives that enhance the grantee’s ability to attract audiences and tourists to Houston.

For more information, click here.

 

Grants for Individual Artists:
Individual Artist Grants (IAG): 
 This category of funding is available to both established and emerging artists for the creation and presentation of new work. 

For more information, click here.

APPLYING FOR GRANTS

The Houston Arts Alliance provides a minimum of thirty days for applicants to complete and submit applications. Technical difficulties and other unforeseen challenges can occur during the application timeline, and so we encourage applicants to begin and complete their applications as soon as possible.  Applications are due at the posted date/time. For some grant categories, it is mandatory to attend a grant application workshop in advance.

PEER PANEL REVIEW PROCESS

Panels are typically composed of three to five members, based on the number of applications to review. Panelists may be asked to participate on the same panel for one to three years, as needed. 

 

Panelists rate organizational applications on the basis of four general criteria:

  • Artistic/cultural merit of the organization’s programming
  • Administrative ability
  • Favorable impact on cultural tourism
  • Audience development and community outreach efforts

 

Panelist rate applying Individual Artists on the basis of three general criteria:

  • Artistic merit, originality and innovativeness of applicant’s work
  • Favorable impact on cultural tourism
  • Feasibility of the project and reasonableness of proposed expenses

 

Panelists are required to recuse themselves from review and discussion of any application in which they have a conflict of interest, which is identified prior to panel review. HAA defines conflict of interest as follows:

  • Professional Conflict: panelist has a direct or indirect financial interest in or is employed by an organization applying to Houston Arts Alliance for funding and being reviewed by the panel on which the panelist serves.
  • Fiduciary Conflict: panelist serves as an officer, director or trustee of an organization applying to Houston Arts Alliance for funding and being reviewed by the panel on which the panelist serves.
  • Personal or Antagonistic: any other situation(s) with an appearance of impropriety if the panelist were involved with the allocation of funds to an organization applying to Houston Arts Alliance for funding and being reviewed by the panel on which the panelist serves.

 

Panel meetings are closed to the public to ensure an environment where panel discussion is honest and beneficial to the process, for both HAA as well as the applicant. However, for General Operating/Expansion and Arts Project Grant review panels, the applicant is invited to attend a portion of the panel review.  The applicant will be notified not less than one week prior to the date and time of the panel.

 

After a panel meeting is complete, the name and professional affiliation of all panelists may be made available by request, and an applicant may request written comments from panel deliberation. In addition, HAA Grants staff encourages applicants to meet with staff to review panel comments and scoring in preparation for subsequent application. 

AWARD ALLOCATIONS

The amount of HOT funding available for grants varies each year based on the amount of hotel occupancy tax (HOT) monies received. 

 

For General Operating Support and General Operating Support Expansion grants, the amount an organization is eligible to receive is based on the panel score of its application and the size of its operating budget – specifically the revenue figures from the 990 report. All other grant programs involve grant awards that have award amounts as specified in the guidelines for each grant category.

 

The award process which includes the careful review of applications by a peer review panel assures that Houston Arts Alliance’s competitive grants process is fair, equitable and measurable. HAA also educates applicants about the eligible uses of HOT funds and requires detailed reporting from grantees to ensure these funds are employed to promote the increase of tourism by making Houston a destination for the arts.

GRANT RECONSIDERATION PROCESS

Houston Arts Alliance is committed to awarding grants in a fair and equitable manner. If there is evidence that a panel acted in an unfair manner, an applicant may submit a request for reconsideration. The request for reconsideration must demonstrate that:

  1. Houston Arts Alliance failed to follow published application and review procedures and such failure impacted the panel’s decision;
  2. The panel acted in an unfair manner; or
  3. The panel’s decision was based on insufficient information through no fault of the applicant.

 

​All reconsideration requests must be submitted by emailing grants@haatx.com no later than 30 days after notification of award. The Grants Committee of the HAA Board of Directors will review the request and determine which requests may merit a personal meeting with the committee. After reviewing the request(s), the committee forwards its recommendations to Houston Arts Alliance Executive Committee and/or Board of Directors for final approval. No additional supplementary materials may be submitted during the reconsideration process. Reconsideration is rare and must be clearly documented for consideration. 

July 16
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