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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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July 1, 2015

HOUSTON, TX (July 1, 2015) — Experts in the field of Local Arts Agencies (LAA/LAAs) from across the country will join Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) for a round-table discussion entitled A National Conversation: How Local Arts Communities Organize on Tuesday, July 14, from 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. in the Founders Club at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby Street. Moderated by HAA President + CEO Jonathon Glus, the conversation will focus on how other American cities organize themselves through the arts, the form and function of their LAA models, and trends across the country.

The distinguished experts participating in the round-table conversation are Michael Killoren, Director of Local Arts Agencies & Challenge America for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA); Olga Garay-English, arts consultant and former Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; Jody Ulich, Convention & Cultural Services Director, City of Sacramento and previous President of Fort Worth Arts Council; and Matthew J. Nielson, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Cultural Planning and Operations Division for the City of Chicago.

The afternoon will kick off with the round-table discussion at 2:30 p.m. followed by a reception at 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are strongly recommended. For more information, visit

America’s cities organize themselves in a variety of ways to support and advance the arts, culture and creative sectors. Often called the arts ecosystem, the local field may include nonprofit arts/cultural organizations, individual artists, cultural tourism programs, preservation conservancies, community and educational institutions, advocacy organizations, arts education initiatives, professional associations such as art dealers and artist unions and various forms of discipline-specific service organizations. These systems grow organically, and often in tandem with LAAs. These cultural intermediaries, LAAs, are created in various structures and have varying roles in their respective cities, shaped to the needs of their community.

“Every community organizes itself through the arts in a unique, organic fashion,” stated Glus. “Each city is different. We look forward to hearing from these national experts on trends in local arts agencies and the role they play in their communities.”

“I am honored to bring a national perspective to this conversation, and I applaud Houston for having this dialogue,” said Killoren. “Local arts agencies are like snowflakes: no two are alike.”

As defined by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Local Arts Agencies “provide a wide range of programs and services to help support and enable arts and culture at the local level. LAAs are intermediaries, serving artists and arts organizations, local residents, visitors and other partners.  No two LAAs are alike ─ whether they serve a single village or town, a large city, county, or a multi-county region. Some LAAs are departments of local government, others are nonprofit organizations, and still others are hybrids of the two.” The NEA goes on to describe characteristics of LAAs, explaining that “LAAs may present and/or produce arts programming, commission and manage public art, administer grant programs, provide technical assistance to artists and arts organizations, and guide cultural planning efforts. Still others may own, manage, and/or operate cultural facilities and be actively engaged in community development, and partner with entities in tourism, social services, public education, housing, economic development, and public safety. All strive to enhance the quality of life in their communities by working to increase public access to the arts.”

Americans for the Arts presents a similar description of LAAs, noting that “there are more than 5,000 LAAs in the U.S.: 75% are private nonprofit organizations; 25% are agencies of city or county government. LAA budgets range from all-volunteer to over $150 million.”

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» Press Release

A National Conversation: How Local Arts Communities Organize