Late last year, the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) awarded more than $13 million in grants to 72 individuals and 156 arts and culture nonprofit organizations offering public exhibitions, presentations and performances in 2024.

The funds were awarded via the Support for Organizations, Festival and Support for Artists and Creative Individuals grant programs. These competitive grant programs—designed to support creative art made available to Houston residents and visitors—are managed and administered annually by the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) and funded by a portion of the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT).

In recent years, the competitive grants programs have begun with an annual improvement process in January. Aspects of the competitions are updated based on community input and City of Houston goals and the updated competition process is then launched each summer. HAA publicly launches each competition through various media channels like social media and a digital newsletter and then conducts several public workshops about the process and how to create a competitive application. Competitions are open to the public for a minimum of one month, during which HAA staff takes meetings and phone calls upon request and answers email questions from potential applicants.

In addition to these major grants, MOCA also awarded $132,500 in grants to 14 individuals and nonprofit organizations whose work furthers cultural tourism and resilience across the city. Those funds were awarded through the City’s Initiative, a competitive grant program again administered by HAA and funded through HOT that offers grants in three categories: neighborhood cultural destinations, conference tourism, and disaster resilience awareness. A third set of grants totaling $99,750 to 40 individuals and nonprofits aim to amplify artistic creativity and innovation through the Let Creativity Happen! Program.

Image: Theresa Chapman, recipient of Support for Artists and Creative Individuals grant 

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