Cultural Affairs Office

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Mayor Turner Announces Second Round Grant Recipients for Artists Who Are Bringing Innovative Projects to Houston

April 27, 2018 -- Mayor Turner announced eight awards in the second round of grants by Let Creativity Happen!, which supports innovative ideas that redefine artistic boundaries and can provide new ways for Houstonians to experience art.

Thirty-six applications were submitted for the second round and of those eight proposals were selected with awards totaling $19,500.

"Art is an essential part of the human essence and can take us to places we have never been. The City of Houston is committed to supporting art in our public spaces and I would like to personally congratulate the organizations and individuals who have been awarded," said Mayor Sylvester Turner. "I look forward to seeing your projects in person."

“Mayor Turner announced the first round of awards in February and as those projects are underway we are delighted to continue seeing new applicants and ideas in the second round of submissions, “ said Debbie McNulty, director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “Our financial support and public commitment to innovation are two of the many reasons that Houston was selected as the Phi Beta Kappa’s 2018 Arts & Sciences Cities of Distinction Award Winner.”

This round of grantees works range from interactive sculptures to an audio series. For two of the artists, this is their first time to ever receive funding through Houston Arts Alliance.

Let Creativity Happen! Express Grant Recipients are:

  • Thomas Helton- The “Lost Keys” project creates free night-time pop up concerts throughout the city giving audiences a unique opportunity to discover the work of local composers and interact with musicians in unconventional settings.
  • Falon Mihalic and Ross Wienert - Pulsed Light in Electric Air is a type of new media sculpture that combines climate responsive technology with site specific installation. It is an outdoor public artwork that celebrates Houston’s local climate and weather patterns to reveal the beauty in our atmospheric light, temperature, and humidity.
  • Nigerian-American Multicultural Council- Storytelling is an art form that highlights some of the African influences that are prevalent in Houston; however, Tales from the Homeland, based on the African art form of storytelling, will showcase the technological advances of Houston with animation.
  • Danny Asberry El- The Earthstars Children of Paradise Series features Moorish American, African, Native American, Hispanic and other cultural indicators to highlight and support animators, gamers and artists.
  • Marc Newsome- 3rd Ward Audio Anthropology project is an audio archive of internal and external atmospheric sounds recorded in various significant locations throughout Houston's 3rd Ward area during the scope of one calendar year. The project's purpose is to document the sounds of a changing area before it is completely transformed.
  • Jeanette Degollado - The Work of Others is an artistic exploration attempting to investigate and interpret histories of labor workers, businesses, worker demographics, and cultures embedded in the city’s infrastructure—to reveal hidden histories & preserve the city's memories by capturing stamps through rubbings of masonry work found on public buildings & streets.
  • Celestina Billington - Concurrency seeks to open a discussion on converging themes of sorrow, safety, and travel. The title is suggestive of both the traffic term and of the relevant English definition of the word, which is “a claim shared equally.” By focusing on Descansos from Houston, the artist seeks to resonate with a local audience and create a defined setting for the work: el calle.
  • Christopher Thomas - The Above All & Movement show is a photography show that highlights a Houston artist whose seen the world as a Cultural Diplomat through the discipline of Street Dance.

For more information on the Let Creativity Happen! Express Grant program offered four times a year, visit

The next deadline to apply is Monday, July 2, 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 are 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.