Houston's Mayor Sylvester Turner attending grand opening of Trae tha Truth's Howdy Ice Cream franchise. Photo courtesy Twitter @SylvesterTurner.

The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) has awarded $40,000 in grants to four individuals and nonprofit organizations whose work furthers cultural tourism and resilience in the city.

The funds were awarded through “City’s Initiative,” a competitive grant program that is administered by the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) and funded by a portion of the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax.

The program opens four times a year and offers grants via three categories: neighborhood cultural destinations, conference tourism, and resilience awareness.

“I am thrilled to see these artistic activations that highlight Houston neighborhoods as cultural destinations and promote resilience awareness,” said MOCA Director Necole S. Irvin. “I congratulate all award recipients as they embark on their projects and thank them for their dedication to the arts and cultural vitality of Houston.”

Individuals and nonprofit organizations interested in applying for the next cycle of the “City’s Initiative” grant program may do so online by July 30, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. CDT.

The following projects are receiving support:
Trae Day
Trae Day is a weekend of free activities for the community, hosted and led by artist and philanthropist Trae the Truth. Event activities range from cultural, comedic and artistic performances to health screenings, and school supply drives for underserved children. Trae Day 2021 will occur at the AVENA Stadium on July 24.

Da Camera Society of Texas

Da Camera presents concerts that are a diverse mix of chamber music, jazz, interdisciplinary and new works that create transformative musical experiences. The organization will host live performances, virtual programs, and free concerts in Wortham Center, several Stop, Look & Listen concerts at the Menil and numerous pop-up concerts in the community.

Community Music Center of Houston
The Community Music Center of Houston aims to preserve Black music traditions, especially those to which the community is seldom exposed and are being lost. The center’s Conrad Johnson Orchestra will host a concert tribute to the late Nelson Mills III, showcasing some of the 50 original big band jazz tunes that he composed.  The concert will take place at Emancipation Park in the Third Ward Cultural District.

Miriam Patrick
In an effort to support the mental state of Houston, artist Miriam Patrick will present community events at Bisong Gallery, Third Ward Chess Park, and iAm Collective that promote art as a cathartic option to deal with drastic events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and major natural disasters. The series will culminate with a film screening that documents interviews and perspectives of the collective experiences shared.

In 2021, the “City’s Initiative” grant program has awarded a total of nearly $110,000 to 11 grantees. To see upcoming events from previous or the latest 2021 grantees, visit the frequently updated Cultural Events Calendar.