Houston Arts

MOCA Awards $95K in Grants to Support Cultural Tourism

Projects range from a site-specific sculpture to a queer cinema series to a DJ Screw tribute program.

By Amarie Gipson February 8, 2022

Houston's Fifth Ward neighborhood is the site of two projects recognized by the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs' Cities Initiative grant program. 

After the economic wreckage of the covid-19 pandemic, Houston is leading the state in local arts support. Dozens of small organizations like Fresh Arts and Arts Connect Houston are providing resources to help introduce the financial stability needed for artists, collectives and institutions to survive.

MOCA recently announced that 12 local artists and five nonprofits received a total of $95,000 in funding through both the Let Creativity Happen and Cities Initiative grant programs. Administered by the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA), the award selection process was juried by a community of local arts advocates. Awardees were chosen based on projects that will create authentic cultural experiences for locals and tourists. Projects range from a site-specific sculpture to a queer cinema series to a DJ Screw tribute program.

Now, more than ever Houston’s seven arts districts (which includes Third and Fifth wards) have been a top priority for local government. Through the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA), Houston’s diverse cultural identity is being preserved for visitors, as well as present and future Houstonians. 

Here is a snapshot of some of our favorite grant recipients:  

Flower Man

Visual artist and designer Phillip Pyle is creating an 18-foot monument in tribute to Cleveland “Flower Man” Turner, a former Third Ward resident and neighborhood icon. 


Flamarts “Get Out and Dance Houston!” is combatting the rise in pandemic-induced inactivity and obesity through a mobile dance program slated from March-July 2022. 

Montrose Movie Rodeo

Paul “Trey” Ferguson is organizing a monthly film series entitled “Montrose Movie Rodeo” that will showcase queer films with an aim to connect and empower Houston’s LGBTQIA+ community. 

Hiram Clarke Ballet

“Rising Ballerinas: A New Generation” is a new public ballet workshop in Hiram Clarke by the Rising Stars Academy Of Dance and Performing Arts taking place on June 8 at the Townwood Community Center. Young dancers age 8 and up are invited to participate in interactive sessions and get mentorship from Houston’s upcoming ballerinas. 

DJ Screw

In celebration DJ Screw’s imprint on Houston rap culture, the Screwed Up HQ Non-Profit’s second annual SCREW WEEK (South Celebrating Robert Earl Week) will take place in July 2022 with panels and tribute performances, a freestyle contest, and more.

More information on the next cycle of grants is available through the HAA’s website.

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