Cultural Affairs Office

Press and Communications

City of Houston Extends Arts Contract to Aid Nonprofit Groups in Hurricane Recovery

Mayor's Office of Cultural AffairsFebruary 9, 2018 -- With a unanimous vote Wednesday, Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council approved a one-year extension for the City’s Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) funding to aid arts and cultural groups recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

The action came with the annual business plan approval as part of the services contract for the support, advancement, and promotion of the arts utilizing Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) revenue. The measure provides a level of certainty to the nonprofit cultural sector that is in deep recovery from the physical and financial damage caused by Hurricane Harvey with early estimates of $112 million. As part of the agreement, the arts contractors will join in disaster coordination planning with the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

The four contractors - Houston Arts Alliance, the Houston Museum District Association, Miller Theatre Advisory Board and Theater District Improvement – represent hundreds of artists, organizations and programs delivered to the community. Last year, HOT-funded groups generated admittance of more than 16.5 million and over sixty percent was free for residents and visitors to enjoy.

“In the days during and after the storm, the arts community rushed to help in shelters and hosted fund-raising concerts and events, despite being affected themselves in many cases,” said Debbie McNulty, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “We need this sector to come back stronger than ever for the benefit of our residents and visitors and this week’s vote acknowledges the value of the cultural community to our city.”

Arts and culture offerings provide benefits to residents and improve quality of life through lifelong learning, student success, social and civic engagement, as well as significant economic benefits and jobs. In greater Houston, the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $1.2 billion industry—one that supports 25,817 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $119.3 million in local and state government revenue—and pumps vital revenue into restaurants, hotels, retail stores, parking garages and other local businesses.

The Texas Tax Code recognizes the arts as a means to promote tourism and the convention and hotel industry. The Code caps the amount of Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) municipalities can utilize for the arts at 19.3 percent of HOT revenues and the City of Houston has consistently utilized the maximum allowed under the cap.

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