January 11, 2023 -- Today, the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) announced that it is awarding $30,000 in grants to 12 individuals and nonprofit organizations who’ve imagined their work in the digital realm utilizing streaming services, virtual reality, and digital curation to deliver manifested live concerts, theatre performances, and literary concepts; all in online-only platforms.
“I congratulate all the grantees and wish them well on their projects,” says Mayor Sylvester Turner. “I am proud of the talent diversity our grantees have and their willingness to share their talents with Houstonians and the world.”
The funds are awarded through “Let Creativity Happen”, a competitive grant program that is administered by Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) and funded by a portion of the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT). The program ran four times in 2022 and offered grants for arts and cultural programming that used technology to connect audiences beyond the physical boundaries of space.
The digital focus of the grant program provides an opportunity for innovation that opens Houston's vibrant arts and cultural community to a global audience. Additionally, the online-only platforms breaks down accessibility barriers, increases interest among audiences, and invites experimentation on a large scale. More importantly, this digital focus facilitates the reimagination of these important cultural contributions beyond traditional structures.
“Let Creativity Happen” grantees will create the following work:
1. Well-Tempered Clavier 300th Anniversary Celebration
By ARS LYRICA HOUSTON
“Ars Lyrica Houston (ALH) requests funding for a public celebration on Sunday, January 15, 2023, for the completion of its Well-Tempered Clavier video recording project. The event will feature a live Zoom panel and the premiere of the complete Well-Tempered Clavier playlist, publicly available online, with a demonstration of the myriad of public resources available to the public through the project.”
2. Friends on Film (& other Creative Mischief)
By Friends of River Oaks Theatre
“The River Oaks Theater is reopening. With the help and partnership of community-based non-profit Friends of River Oaks Theatre, it will be able to operate as a cinema-centric Art House and community arts center. In addition to programming and marketing, Friends is also working on producing a virtual platform to present programs, panels, workshops, and monthly podcasts. The monthly podcast titled FRIENDS ON FILM, AND OTHER CREATIVE MISCHIEF will have program-related guests, arts program announcements, reviews, cinema History, interviews, and readings.”
3. Kidnapping the Muse
By Hispanic Alliance For Performing And Audiovisual Arts
“The project is based on 8 sessions of online webinars where participants will be trained in the basic technique of script writing and creating the structure of storytelling. Each session is 2 hours, starting with the creation of the character, timeline, analyzing and identifying each of the parts that make the structure of the script; establishing the differences between the literary script and the technical script and its particularities for the different practical fields and ending with the actantial diagram, and character relationship scheme.”
4. HBQ Goes BlueGrass
By Houston Brass Quintet Inc.
“HBQ Goes BlueGrass features a collaboration with Bluegrass band, the Laughing Lizards. This collaboration celebrates Appalachian roots with original arrangements like "Dueling Banjos" and "San Antonio Rose.” This three-part concert series, happening alongside rodeo season, will be hosted in spaces like Levy Park and Archway Gallery.”
5. Fly Byes
By Tami Moschioni
“Fly Byes” is a short film blending Tami Moschioni’s photomontages of cosmic train graffiti, and nature, with live performance clips from Houston’s Bayou City Jazz & Blues Scene in 2023. “Fly Byes” premieres at the Art Car Museum in October 2023 from 6 pm to 9 pm. It is followed by a dynamic, live blues music performance featuring John Del Toro Richardson. “Fly Byes” remains on display at the Art Car Museum on weekends through Fall 2023. Join us in celebrating and dancing to the moves of Train Graffiti Art and Texas Blues everyone can use! "Fly Byes" will be available on YouTube for viewing December 2023.”
6. Banco and Friends
By Darian Gernand
“Banco and Friends is an evening designed and led by a POC Queer woman to uplift female artists, DJs, and creatives. It is created to give them an opportunity to showcase their talents and messages behind their art during a packed showcase in downtown Houston. It calls out diverse sounds and systems to Houston from all over the country, and encourages growth and camaraderie among artists, while also building new communities of diverse people with an emphasis on mental health. Join us for a new format event including live performances and an artist panel reflecting on mental health and the creation of art.”
7. Piece for 50 Pianos
By Thomas Helton
“I'd like to present a concert for 50 Pianos at Houston Piano Company in the Heights. The piece will be written to allow members of the Houston community as well as non-piano playing musicians to participate.”
8. Book Arts of Houston
By Erica Lee
“Book Arts of Houston” uncovers and promotes the legacy of Houston artists working in the artist book medium. Opening February 2023, this exhibition will be the inaugural exhibition at The Printing Museum’s new facilities.”
9. Anthony Bob Original Composition & Performance
By Anthony Bob
“Anthony will compose an original piece of music to accompany the four-part arrangement by Claude Debussy entitled "Children's Corner." This work sets the tone of a dreamlike sequence that narrates memories of his childhood in Houston's Fifth Ward. This artistic pursuit will reconstruct memories that are characteristically rewritten in dreams, floating between real imagery in the form of a projected and displayed photo-based installation and synthetic memory in the form of music. The curated images will conjure evocative and fleeting thoughts and will take place at the Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) on January 12 at 6 p.m.”
10. CelloFest Houston
By Eunghee Cho
“The inaugural CelloFest Houston takes place February 5-6, 2023 at venues across University of Houston's Moores School of Music campus. CelloFest Houston brings together master cellists and young cellists from the Greater Houston area to collaborate in two concerts that celebrate the cello, its music, and musicians.”
11. How to finish an album with TAME, The Aspiring Me
By Andrew Davis
“How to finish an album with TAME, The Aspiring Me” is a site-specific week long open studio performance art series at vintage store, Options (subject to change), in which Houston based artist & musician, Andrew ‘TAME, The Aspiring Me’ Davis, brings guests into the process of completing a studio album. Open studio visits on January 8-15, 2023 from noon-4pm seek to engage guests by having them partake in the recording & editing process, while the evening programming engages through performance art. The community will be able to engage on site as well as virtually through the artist focused live-stream partner platform ECHIO."
12. Casket Ready
By Leigh Callaway
“Over the next 6 months, I want to build a series of editorial photographic works that show the dynamics economic equality, and fashionable greatness of the black community."
About the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA)
The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs guides the city’s cultural investments with policies and initiatives that expand access to arts and cultural programs in the community, attract visitors and leverage private investment. Learn more at www.houstontx.gov/culturalaffairs and follow us on Facebook & Instagram @HoustonMOCA.
About Houston Arts Alliance
Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) is a local arts and culture organization whose principal work is to implement the City of Houston’s vision, values, and goals for its arts grantmaking and civic art investments. HAA’s work is conducted through contracts with the City of Houston, overseen by the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. HAA also executes privately funded special projects to meet the needs of the arts community, such as disaster preparation, research on the state of the arts in Houston, and temporary public art projects that energize neighborhoods. In short, HAA helps artists and nonprofits be bold, productive, and strong. To learn more about HAA, visit www.houstonartsalliance.com and follow us on Facebook & Instagram @HoustonArtsAlliance.