IN 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced cultural institutions and organizations into the digital realm. Many struggled with this unexpected shift, but over a year later, virtual engagement have now become a permanent consideration for arts workers, educators and professionals around the globe.
Last Thursday, the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) announced the winners of the competitive 2021, “Let Creativity Happen” grant. The program supports projects that use technology to engage audiences and amplify the voices of creative voices in the city. "The grants will provide a new opportunity for innovation that will open Houston's vibrant arts and cultural community to a global audience,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The city will continue investing in the creative economy and the artists that are integral to its growth.”
Administered by the Houston Arts Alliance and funded in part by the city’s Hotel’s Occupancy Tax, the grants totaled $30,000 and were distributed across 12 nonprofit organizations and individuals. Each awardee was selected for their dedication to breaking access barriers and increasing experimentation in virtual spaces.
This round’s grantees included:
- Lindsay Gary’s “A Guide to Black Houston,” a resource guide that highlights the overlooked and undervalued sites built and sustained by Black Houstonians. The guide will launch virtually in February 2022 in honor of Black History Month.
- Silambam Houston's “Storytime With Silambam,” a video project aiming to increase appreciation and knowledge of Indian artistic and cultural traditions through a series of short videos that tell stories from Indian mythology and folklore.
- “Outdoor Duos,” a weekly live stream event by Jahrel Picken that spotlights artists in Houston’s music scene that will run through the end of October.
Creatives interested in city funding should apply for the 2022 grant cycle scheduled to launch on September 10.
For more information on the grantees, visit here.