Cultural Affairs Office

Press and Communications

Mayor Announces New Grants for Artists Pushing the Boundaries at the Grassroots Level

February 15, 2018 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner announces the first grants by Let Creativity Happen!, which supports innovative ideas that redefine artistic boundaries and can provide new ways for Houstonians to experience art.

“Houston is full of creativity and it is with great pleasure I congratulate these artists,” stated Mayor Sylvester Turner. “In addition to this new 'express' grant-making approach, I have confidence in the Houston Arts Alliance under new leader John Abodeely as it provides support, service and expertise to the arts and cultural sector throughout the City.

”HAA administers the program on behalf of the City of Houston with the goal of improving Houstonians’ quality of life and promoting cultural tourism.  Let Creativity Happen! is part of more responsive grants program stemming from a two year-long evaluation called for by the City of Houston’s Arts and Cultural Plan.

“About 38% of our applicants are new to Houston Arts Alliance,” said Abodeely. “Our intention is to increase the accessibility and competitiveness of our grants programs to diversify those we support. Now we know we’re on the right track. Talented artists and arts organizations live and work in every corner of the city, and we want to make sure we’re giving each and every one of them an opportunity to create.”

Proposed projects are evaluated through a competitive open application process by HAA staff and community volunteer, Grace Rodriguez, co-founder of Station Houston, Houston’s hub for tech innovation and entrepreneurship.
Let Creativity Happen! express grant recipients are:

Richard Ford, whose "That Fateful Park Bench” will be an immersive and “mobile” comic opera for performance on stage or on a park bench anywhere in the City of Houston.

Las Girls Collective, whose z'Screen-Dance” is a weekend-long intensive video dance workshop exploring site-responsive experimentation through the interdisciplinary process of mixing dance and film together in Houston.

Phillip Pyle, II, whose “Artists Eat” is a web series features Houston artists filmed in Houston restaurant and hosted by Glasstire.

Dinolion, whose “Merel & Tony Immersive Production” is an immersive dance, theater and concert performance in a to-be-determined location that invites an adventurous audience to engage in the stories revealed.

Colby Deal, whose “Beautiful, Still” is a portrait series of the people of Third Ward. The images will be presented in multiple locations within the community as well as a curated show during FotoFest Biennial at Alabama Song Gallery.
Britt Thomas and Ashlynn Ivy , whose “Lullabies for Loss” is a collaboration between artist Thomas, and singer/musician Ivy. This project is intended to relay the emotional impact of pregnancy loss in all communities.

Keeley Steenson, whose “This Could Be Your Public Art- The Discovery Tour” is an interactive community art tour highlighting public spaces within the neighborhood of Spring Branch as potential sites for public art.

For more information on the Let Creativity Happen! Express Grant program offered four times a year, visit The next deadline is Monday, March 5, 2018 at 5:30 pm. Applicants are welcome to apply for Let Creativity Happen! Express Grants at every deadline and also apply for any other HAA grant program during the year.

Funding for this grant program and others is provided by the City of Houston utilizing Hotel Occupancy Taxes (HOT). For more information on the City’s cultural programs, go to or follow the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs on Facebook @HoustonMOCA.