Cultural Affairs Office

Press and Communications

Mayor Turner Announces Annual Awards to Artists and Creative Community

May 3, 2018 -- Mayor Turner announced the first 26 winners of the newly launched grant program Support for Artists and Creative Individuals. Artists and creative individuals in a impressive array of disciplines will receive awards up to $15,000, totaling $379,645.

“This new grant opportunity redefines the definition of what a traditional artist is and can be," stated Mayor Sylvester Turner. "The creative economy forms an integral part of Houston's vibrant business industry and creative individuals who work in everything from photography, music, video and more are what help keep our city prosperous."

Support for Artists and Creative Individuals program was designed to advance the careers of Houston artists, strengthen the local creative economy, promote Houston as an arts and cultural destination and invest in one of the city’s valuable cultural assets -- its creative community.

“We heard loud and clear the need to redesign and update the City’s arts granting program to be more responsive and relevant to the Houston we live in today,” said Debbie McNulty, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “We are fully committed to putting our stated values into action and the grants team has been conscientious and thorough in gathering community input, working with us on changes and doing the painstaking follow-through with stakeholders.”

Applications were accepted from all artistic disciplines. And in a new move for Houston Arts Alliance, the nonprofit agency that manages the grant program, applicants were invited to name their own creative discipline.  Forty-six percent of the grant recipients were first time applicants for City funded grants.

Congratulations to all the award recipients! Thank you for your dedication and contribution to Houston’s dynamic arts and culture landscape.

Below is the list of grant recipients. Details on the funded projects can be found at

  • Regina Agu, Multidisciplinary
  • Karim Al-Zand, Music
  • John Beasant, Choreography
  • Joseph Cohen, Multidisciplinary
  • Henry Darragh (aka Doc Loc), Music – Rap/Jazz
  • Lina Dib, Multidisciplinary and Immersive Arts
  • Francesca Fuchs, Painting
  • Arthur Gottschalk, Music
  • Katy Heinlein, Sculpture
  • Robert Hodge, Mixed Media Paintings
  • Felicia Johnson, Multimedia
  • Justin Kouri, Video
  • Richard Lavenda, Music
  • Daniel Levin, Film
  • Kimberly Meyer, Creative Writing
  • Katrina Moorhead, Visual Art
  • Yue Nakayama, Media Art/Film
  • Marc Newsome, Filmmaker
  • John Pluecker, Literary Arts
  • Troy Scheid, Theatre, Visual Arts, Socially Engaged Arts
  • Carrie Schneider, Participatory
  • Jon Schwartz, Video Short
  • Alexander Squier, Sculpture/Installation
  • Felipe Steinberg, Visual Artist
  • Britt Thomas, Visual Art & Music
  • Prince Varughese Thomas, Photography, Video, Drawing, Installation

Applications were evaluated by a diverse group of local and regional artists and creative professionals, including: Eepi Chaad, owner of E Squared Pi Design, resident artist for the City’s pilot Resident Artist Program (RAP);   Emily Peacock, photographer and visual media artist, Javier Sánchez Martínez, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Curatorial Fellow at Blaffer Art Museum, Hadia Mawlawi, arts administrator, research associate for National Association for Latino Arts & Culture (NALAC) and board member at the Arab American Cultural & Community Center (ACC),  Kyle Olson, department chair, associate professor at the Department of Visual Arts, Texas Lutheran University, Charles Santos, executive director of Texas International Theatrical Arts Society (TITAS) in Dallas, Casey Arguelles, artist, writer and contributing editor at Arts+Culture Magazine, Jacey Little, artistic director of Horse Head Theatre Co, Jason Leal, filmmaker, Emanuel “Outspoken” Bean, performance poet, writer, and resident artist for the City’s pilot Resident Artist Program (RAP); and Alan Austin, musician, soloist, and orchestral player, and general and artistic director of the Immanuel and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival.

Funding for the grant program is provided by the City of Houston utilizing Hotel Occupancy Taxes (HOT) dedicated to the arts.

To learn more about the City’s cultural programs visit, and follow the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs on Facebook @HoustonMOCA.