The City of Houston Awards $13.3 Million in Grants to Arts and Culture Nonprofit Organizations and Individual Artists

The City of Houston Awards $13.3 Million in Grants to Arts and Culture Nonprofit Organizations and Individual Artists


Support for Artists and Creative Individuals – Sandra de la Rosa Jimenez
The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) is awarding $13,323,343 in grants to 72 individuals and 156 arts and culture nonprofit organizations and fiscally sponsored projects offering public exhibitions, presentations and performances in 2024.The funds are awarded via the Support for OrganizationsFestival and Support for Artists and Creative Individuals grant programs, which support individuals, nonprofit organizations and fiscally sponsored projects with annual arts and cultural programming that is available to Houston residents and visitors. These competitive grant programs are managed and administered annually by the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) and are funded by a portion of the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT). More information about HOT funding is available here.

“We began implementing the City’s Arts & Cultural Plan at the beginning of my tenure and MOCA has dedicated itself to increasing access, transparency and equity to the City’s grants system over the last eight years,” stated Mayor Sylvester Turner.  “That hard work was evident in the first equity indicators report where arts grants received a 96-equity score highlighting more opportunity across the city.  As we continue to ensure that Houston’s diversity remains its strength, we must continue building an inclusive creative ecosystem where creatives and entities thrive. I am proud to have this as part of my legacy in serving Houston and its people.”

The competitive grants programs begin with an annual improvement process in January of each year. All aspects of the competitions are updated based on community input and City of Houston goals. 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.

Support for Organizations- The Garden Theater
All applications received by the published deadline are reviewed through a two-step process. First, applications are reviewed by HAA staff for objective eligibility criteria. For example, the applicant must be based in the City of Houston and must offer publicly accessible programs during the duration of the grant period. Second, all eligible applications are scored by panelists, who are experts in the arts and vetted through the HAA Grants Committee of the Board of Directors. Each year, HAA assembles approximately 130 panelists, depending on the number of applications that must be read and scored. Panelists, like grantees, cannot be employees or board members of HAA, nor their family. Panelists must remove themselves from scoring if they have a financial or other meaningful conflict of interest with any particular application. The competition process is reviewed in full by the Grants Committee of the Board of HAA, voted on and then advanced to the Board of HAA for its review and vote. Once Board review is complete, the results are sent to the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs as a packet of recommended grantees for the City’s approval.

This year, Mayor Turner has approved a change to the formula for grant amounts. The BIPOC boost formula is a permanent part of the larger grants competitions’ formulas for funding, including the grants programs Support for Organizations (SO), Support for Artists and Creative Individuals (SACI), and Festival Grants (FG). This portion of the granting provides an additional boost to organizations and individuals selected through the community-based panel adjudication process used in all grant programs. The formula applies to those applicants who meet BIPOC qualification criteria for their grant program and who have been scored for funding by peer panels. More specifically, successful applicants already awarded through the panel process will benefit from a 45% boost, capped at $20,000, applied to their budget-specific estimated eligible award. The organizational qualification requires organizational applicants meet at least three of five criteria. BIPOC qualification requires individual applicants to self-identify as BIPOC. In its inaugural year, the Mayor has allocated an additional $800,000 to the grants programs to support the new formulas.

Support for Artists and Creative Individuals – Theresa Chapman
About the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA)
The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs guides the City’s cultural investments with policies and initiatives that expand access to arts and cultural programs in the community, attract visitors and leverage private investment. Learn more at and follow us on Facebook & Instagram @HoustonMOCA.