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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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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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A Visual Poem


September 20, 2015

HOUSTON, TX (September 20, 2015) – Folklore Films and Houston Arts Alliance’s Folklife + Traditional Arts program will present the premiere of the short film Voices of the Spirit: A Visual Poem on Saturday, October 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Folklore Films Studio, 4118 Fannin Street. The evening will feature two screenings of the short film (at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.), punctuated by live music performed by the artists in the film with a reception and cross-pollination mixer.

This event is free and open to the public; space is limited, and RSVPs are required at

The subject of this film is the 2015 Voices of the Spirit V concert, presented by HAA’s Folklife + Traditional Arts program in partnership with Asia Society Texas Center. Produced annually, Voices shines a light on Houston’s diverse cultural landscape through the devotional music of the city’s faith communities. Held April 26 and 26, 2015, at Asia Society Texas Center, Voices of the Spirit V featured The Cortez Family singing a cappella gospel; Cantor Daniel Mutlu performing repertoire from the Golden Age of American Jewish religious music; Chandrakantha and David Courtney playing Hindustani songs; and a spectacular finale featuring the chinelos tradition of devotional dance by Chinelos de la familia Lopez with Banda Viento Morelense de los Hermanos Campos.

Although the Voices of the Spirit V concert is central to the film, Voices of the Spirit: A Visual Poem is neither a recap of the concert nor a documentary. Instead, it is a visual poem. “It moves from stanza to stanza rather than from chapter to chapter,” says filmmaker and Folklore Films artistic director Marlon Hall.

“We don’t just unearth the celebrity of the artists, but their humanity as well. The narrative is in their voice. The music is their music” continues Hall.  To create this visual poem, Hall, producer Danielle Fanfair and Technical Assistant Shelly Travis worked with the staff of the HAA Folklife program to interview each artist in a setting special to him/her or them. For instance, Cantor Mutlu was filmed in the sanctuary at Congregation Beth Israel. The Cortez family chose the church founded by their grandfather and still pastored by their uncle. The Courtneys and Senora Yasmirt Lopez invited them into their homes.

Parking is available in the Sear’s parking lot at Eagle and Fannin streets with the entrance through the glass doors on Fannin Street. For disabled access, contact Associate Producer Shelly Travis at 713.412.9886.

Voices of the Spirit V was made possible by the generosity of the National Endowment for the Arts and Houston Endowment. Folklore Films’ sponsors include HEB Family Foundation and Duke Leadership Education. 

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