Cultural Affairs Office

Press and Communications

Houston Wins $100,000 National Creative Placemaking Grant for Fifth Ward Initiative

May 10, 2018 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner celebrates the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation’s (FWCRC) receipt of a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant.

The Our Town grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful and resilient places with the arts at their core. This competitive grant program allows cities to endorse a maximum of two applications and Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation is one of 60 projects selected nationwide.

“The historic Fifth Ward is rich in culture and the catalytic community development organization Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation (FWCRC) is dedicated to fostering comprehensive revitalization,” Mayor Turner said. “This award provides critical support for the continued community driven renaissance of another creative Houston neighborhood.”

“The variety and quality of these Our Town projects speak to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as FWCRC in Houston, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”

In June of last year, Mayor Turner invited proposals for the national creative placemaking grant. The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs received numerous exciting ideas responding to the priorities of the City’s Arts and Cultural Plan and its vision for fostering an environment in which art and culture flourish for the sharing and benefit of all residents and visitors.

“We find great value in the goal to sustain and celebrate the 5th Ward,” said Kathy Flanagan Payton, President and CEO of FWCRC. “This grant supports an inclusive planning process to further enhance the Lyons Avenue Renaissance, a comprehensive mix of public and private development and investments. We look forward to partnering with and the Community Artist Collective and neighborhood born and internationally renowned artist Mel Chin toward the creation of Houston’s sixth cultural district.”

The City of Houston and the Fifth Ward continue to embrace the expanding role culture plays in communities. The City will provide a $20,000 grant in combination with the $100,000 NEA grant. The footprint for the planning process is the 1.2 miles (22 blocks) between the Deluxe Theater and the St. Elizabeth Hospital.

Community engagement is an essential part of not just the planning but also the implementation and long-term sustainability of this project to ensure that the cultural offerings resonate with and serve to improve opportunities for the Fifth Wards’ community members, artists, businesses and visitors.

We congratulate FWCRC and the Fifth Ward community. Houston continues to highlight why we are Houston Strong. Funding for the City’s 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.

Fifth Ward Mural

The Fruits of the Fifth Ward mural at the corner of Lyons Avenue and Schwartz Street created by Reginald Adams with students from Phyllis Wheatley High School in 2006 with support from the History Channel. The Fruits of the Fifth Ward depicts portraits of 21 people who lived in and had an impact on the community. Mural portraits include Senator Barbara Jordan and Representative Mickey Leland, boxer George Foreman and blues musician Lightnin’ Hopkins.