Cultural Affairs Office

Press and Communications

New Grants Fulfill City Arts & Cultural Plan’s Commitment to Supporting Local Artists

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January 25, 2019 -- The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) announced today the next milestone in the fulfillment of its Arts & Cultural Plan with grants totaling $1,631,698 to 109 artists and 32 arts and cultural nonprofits for public exhibitions, performances and festivals in 2019.

The grants, awarded through the Houston Arts Alliance, are funded through a portion of the city's Hotel Occupancy Tax that is dedicated to the arts as part of the city’s cultural priorities guided by MOCA.“The strength of Houston’s creative economy includes artisans, artists, creative workers and festivals of every kind that uplift and invite the sharing of cultural traditions,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.  “Our artists and festivals showcase Houston’s cultural diversity, and it is no surprise that Houston is recognized in numerous national rankings as a premier destination to visit.”

The grants are awarded via three new grant programs: Support for Artist and Creative Individuals, Let Creativity Happen and Festival. These new programs followed a year-long redesign of  grants offered through Houston Arts Alliance. The grant programs are meant to:

  • Increase opportunities and investment in individual artists and creatives
  • Encourage creative risk in the arts to spur innovation
  • Celebrate the City of Houston’s strength in diversity through arts and cultural festivals

“The City, in its redesign efforts, expanded outreach to increase awareness of these opportunities to align with our vision and values of inclusion and equity,” said Debbie McNulty, MOCA director.  “Through our non-profit arm Houston Arts Alliance, the City partnered with community-based nonprofit institutions and City Council members to host grant workshops touching every corner of the City, surpassing previous outreach resulting in a significant increase in applications and first-time award recipients.”

Selection panelists were Nic Allen, Rabéa Ballin, Jonathan Beitler, Byron Canady, Leslie Contreras Schwartz, Eric Dano, Laura Gutierrez, Harrison Guy, Emilie Harris, Vinod Hopson, Felicia Johnson, Mariam Khalili, Marian Luntz, Lavanya Rajagopalan, Emily Robinson, Grace Rodriguez, Kaneem Smith, Benito Vasquez, Christopher Vu and Jessica Wiggins. The City thanks each for their role in the grant process.

Houstonians and visitors can find a multitude of offerings produced by the grantees on the Cultural Events Calendar, which provides  programs details and more. Several activities are discounted or free.

Congratulations to all award recipients! Thank you for your dedication and contributions to the expansive arts and cultural landscape of Houston.

2019 Support for Artists and Creative Individuals

  • Abel Cisneros - Music
  • Amy Scott - photography
  • Andrew Benavides - Visual Director/Producer
  • Angela So - Creative writing
  • Anthony Barilla - Music
  • Antonio Diaz - Literature
  • Ariane Roesch - Literary Arts
  • BABA RUEROB - Theatre/Solo Performance/Performance Art/Music
  • Caroline Ryan - Painting
  • Ching-In Chen - Multidisciplinary
  • Celan Bouillet - Painting
  • Cuyler Ballenger - Visual Art / Documentary
  • Dana Kroos - Visual Art / Creative Writing
  • Daniel Levin - filmmaking
  • Daniela Riojas & Zachary Fabri - Performance
  • Darcy Rosenberger - Sculpture
  • Derek Beck - Filmmaker/Photographer
  • Elisabeth Mladenov - Visual Art
  • Elizabeth M. Webb and Rick Lowe - ceramics, sculpture, community-based practice
  • Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour, Jr. - Screenwriting
  • Ernesto Marenco - Mixed Media
  • Erran Booker - Film / Television Production
  • Faith Fossett - Performing Arts (Theatre, Music, Movement)
  • Felicia Johnson - Performance Art/Film
  • Felipe Lopez - Visual Art
  • Flash Gordon Parks - Musicologist/DJ/Filmmaker
  • Geoff Winningham - Photography
  • Gerado Rosales - Mixed media
  • Greg P. Audel - Storytelling - Acting
  • Gustavo Diaz - Visual art and sound
  • Hilary Gaber - Filmmaking
  • Isabelle Dom and Colleen Templeton - literary and graphic arts
  • Jack Gron - Sculpture-Metal
  • Jacqueline Levine - Jewelry
  • Jahrel Pickens - Music
  • Jamal Cyrus - Visual Arts
  • Jason Leal - Film/Video
  • Jeanette Degollado - Interdisciplinary Arts
  • Jessica Fuquay - Painting
  • Jessica Wilbanks - Creative Writing
  • Jewel Brown - Music
  • Jimmy Castillo - Visual Art
  • John Hull - Musical Artist
  • JooYoung Choi - Astro-Futurist Multi-Disciplinary Artist
  • Jose G. Figueroa - Video Documentary
  • Joseph Campana - Literary arts
  • Joseph Havel - Sculpture
  • Kalpana Subbarao - Dance (Kathak & Flamenco), Music (Indian classical and Spanish) and choreography
  • Kasey Short - Sculpture/FurnitureDesign
  • Keliy Anderson-Staley - Photography and Installation
  • Kris Vizm - Film/Video
  • Lance Childers - Short Film
  • Lance Flowers - Visual (Mixed Media)
  • Laura Lindenberger Wellen - Literary Arts
  • Lisa E. Harris - Interdisciplinary Art / Music
  • Lynn Birdwell - Theatre (Staged Reading)/Film
  • Maria Espersen - Visual Arts
  • Mark Castillo - Visual Art
  • Marti Corn - social engagement
  • Mary Jane Taegel - Playwright, lyricist
  • Matt Lammers & Chandler Yu - Musical theater
  • Max Syron - Public Sculpture
  • Meghan Hendley - Music, Visual Art
  • Miri Teresa - Visual Art; Literature
  • Moe Penders - Photography/Mixed Media
  • Natilee Harren - Performance Art, Music, and Art History
  • Nic Allen - Film
  • Nick Vaughan & Jake Margolin - Interdisciplinary/ Printmaking
  • Peter Gershon - writing/archiving
  • Priscilla T Graham - Visual Art/Photography and Cinematography
  • Rathna Kumar - Dance Theater
  • Raul Edwards - Music, dance, video
  • Rebecca French - Dance
  • Richard Carey Ford - Music
  • Robert Carter & Rachel Orosco - Music
  • Ronke Taylor - Dance
  • Ryan Hawk - Interdisciplinary
  • Sanjay Sharma - Sculpture
  • Sarah Welch & James Beard - Sequential Art
  • Shih-Hui Chen - Music Composition
  • Stacey Summers - Film
  • TAME, The Aspiring Me - interdisciplinary arts
  • Tami Moschioni (Merrick) & Nicola Parente - Sculpture - Multi Disciplinary
  • Tatiana Escallon - Painting
  • Theresa Escobedo - Multimedia / Photography
  • Thomas Tran - illustrator
  • Tina Hernandez - Visual Art
  • Torrence Atkinson - Filmmaking
  • Troy Stanley - Sculpture/installation
  • Willie Alston - Literary
  • Willow Curry - Creative Writing
  • Yul Dorn - Music
  • Zuqiang Peng - Film/ Visual Art

November 2018 Let Creativity Happen!

  • Art's Explanatory Comma - Podcasting/Story Telling
  • Eunsil Leem - Sculpture
  • EZ Kids Creativity Shell - Sewing/Textile Arts
  • Frame Dance - Dance and Music
  • Gbenga Ayeni - Painter
  • inFLUX Flute and Harp - Classical music
  • J. Del Fierro - Painter
  • Jesus Cantu Medel - Museum Studies
  • Jillian Conrad - Sculpture
  • Kongo N'Golo Capoeira Houston - Performance Art/Video
  • Latinx Art Writing Series - Writing
  • Laura Napier - Interdisciplinary - social practice and photography
  • Lovie Olivia - Interdisciplinary Artist
  • MUSIQA - Visual arts
  • Outspoken Bean - Spoken Word/Poetry
  • Preetika Rajgariah - Ceramics
  • Public Poetry - Poetry
  • The Pilot Dance Project - Modern Dance
  • Uwazi Zamani - Dance, Spoken Word, Visual Art, Music
  • VG Studio - Fabrication
  • Young Audiences, Inc. of Houston – Multidisciplinary

2019 Festival Grant

  • 11th Indian Film Festival of Houston Presented by Indian Film Festival of Houston, Inc.
  • 13th Annual Houston Palestine Film Festival Presented by Houston Palestine Film Festival
  • 2019 Art Car Parade Kid's Zone Presented by The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art
  • A Night of Philosophy and Ideas Presented by Texan-French Alliance for the Arts
  • Experimental Action 2019 Presented by Experimental Action
  • Fade To Black Play Festival 2019 Presented by Shabach Enterprise
  • Heights Kids' Day of Music Presented by Heights Kids' Music Festival
  • Houston AfriFEST Presented by Nigerian-American Multicultural Council
  • Houston Latino Film Festival Presented by Houston Latino Film Festival
  • Houston Ratha Jatra: Festival of Chariots Presented by Orissa Culture Center, Inc
  • Independence Heights Festival Presented by Independence Heights Redevelopment Council
  • International Literature Festival Houston- 2019 Presented by Casa Cultural de las Americas
  • Kite Festival Presented by Hermann Park Conservancy
  • Konark Festival 2019 Presented by Odissi Academy
  • Korean Festival Houston 2019 Presented by Korean American Society of Houston
  • Lyons Avenue Renaissance Festival Presented by Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corp
  • MADE Market (Making a Difference Everyday) Presented by Creativity Shell
  • Outta Space Presented by Sculpture Month Houston
  • Pinatafest Presented by East End Foundation
  • Primavera Latinx Presented by Main Street Projects
  • ReelAbilities Houston Film & Arts Festival Presented by Jewish Family Service
  • Rung ā Rung - Chai Presented by Indus Arts Council
  • Sabor Del Northside Presented by Avenue Community Development Corporation
  • The Fourth Annual Five-Minute Mile - Theatre on the Run Presented by Cone Man Running Productions
  • Trinity Jazz Festival Presented by Trinity Jazz Festival
  • Willow Waterhole Musicfest 2019 Presented by Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy Inc
  • Writefest Presented by Writespace

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