Cultural Affairs Office

Press and Communications

Mayor Awards Annual Scholarships to Young Artists

Young Artists Scholarships Press Conference

April 30, 2019 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner today awarded a total of $13,000 in donated scholarships to six students for creating outstanding art.

The annual Mayor's Arts Scholarship competition is open to juniors and seniors in public school districts and public charter schools in the Houston region. Ninety eight students from 11 schools districts competed this year.

The funding comes from donations to the Greater Houston Community Fund.

“Quality arts education can provide young artists/students with the skills for a viable and successful career path forward,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The Greater Houston area alone supports over 25,000 full-time jobs in the arts and culture sector and these are jobs that students who participate in this program are more competitive for now because they have learned graphic design, sculpting, photography or any other just as valuable skill through their art classes.”

A display with all the submissions to the Mayor’s Art Scholarship can be seen on the skybridge between the George R. Brown Convention Center and Hilton Americas downtown until May 13th, with the winning works showcased at Houston City Hall.

The winners are:

12th Grade
First Place
Sonali Puri
Hidden Jewels of Houston

Second Place
Tien Dinh
City of Color

Third Place
Tam-Hien Vuong
Common Time

11th Grade
First Place
Thu Ha
A Walk Down Home

Second Place
Alexis Martinez
She Holds Her Faith in Her Hands

Third Place
Jazmine Bell
The Struggle of a Strong Woman

An expert panel of volunteer jurors scored all submissions and reviewed accompanying essays.

Jurors included Rebecca Hopp (Theatre Under the Stars), Jeffrey McGee (San Jacinto College), Jan Rattia (Houston Center for Photography), Deanna Santiago (MECA - Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts), Irene Shum (The Menil Museum), and Christine West (Houston First Corporation).

The Mayor's Art Scholarship competition fosters collaboration among Houston area high school fine arts departments and recognizes excellence in student art, which expresses cultural identities and features life in Houston area neighborhoods.

The program is a partnership of the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs and Houston Arts Partners and supported by the Greater Houston Community Foundation. Young Audiences is the managing partner and fiscal agent for the Houston Arts Partners, which includes arts organizations, public school districts and institutions of higher education that reach thousands of students annually through opportunities to participate in the arts.

To become a Mayor’s Art Scholarship sponsor, contact Cultural Affairs at 832-393-1099 or

The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs develops policies and initiatives that expand access to arts and cultural programs in the community, attract visitors and leverage private investment. Learn more at and follow us on Facebook & Instagram. Find fun stuff on Houston’s Cultural Events Calendar.