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Cultural Affairs Office

Mayor Annise D. Parker is committed to the growth and development of the Houston arts community and the preservation of Houston's historic buildings and districts. The Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs serves as the Mayor's and City's representative to the Houston Arts Alliance, a nonprofit organization created by the City to coordinate the Civic Art Program and Arts Grant Program. The Office of Cultural Affairs serves as the liaison to arts, historic preservation and neighborhood organizations and works with several Redevelopment Authorities, Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones and other entities on neighborhood conservation issues and projects. The office works on special projects in Parks and Libraries and coordinates art exhibitions in City Hall and the City Hall Annex.

Fall of the Berlin Wall 25th Anniversary Concert (Monday, Nov. 3)

On Monday, November 3, 2014, the Houston-Leipzig (Germany) Sister City Association and the Houston Symphony will welcome the world renowned Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra to kick-off their United States concert tour at Jones Hall in Houston. The concert, conducted by Riccardo Chailly, is held to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Former President George H. W. Bush and former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III are serving as Honorary Chairs of the concert, having served in critical roles leading up to the events in 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell and ultimately paving the way for Germany's reunification in 1990.  More ...

July 30, 2014 -- Mayor Annise Parker has selected philanthropist Philamena Baird and Project Row House Founder Rick Lowe to serve as co-chairs of the effort to create a new cultural plan for Houston.

“I want to thank Rick and Philamena for agreeing to give their valuable time and take this on,” said Mayor Parker.  “Houston has changed dramatically since the last cultural plan in 1994.  We are more diverse economically and ethnically.  The number of arts and cultural organizations has grown, and our artist community has become one of the most exciting in the country.  It’s time for a new plan that will position Houston as a leader and destination for arts and culture.”

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2014 Inauguration Poem

Like the Lantana

You thrive in the heat. You emerge from flat cement, grow above your obstacles, stand vibrant.

With fruits as rich and dark as oil, you call to the songbirds. Call down the butterflies with blooms combining all your colors.

You flourish in unexpected places, catch my eye and make me smile. The clouds can’t dim you; the storms don’t tear you down.

Like the lantana, you burst through the borders, outshining others with your strength and simple beauty. I call it a favorite flower; I call you beloved home.

Poem by Qwendolyn Zepeda, Houston Poet Laureate, read at the 2014 Inauguration of Mayor Annise D. Parker, City Controller Ronald C. Green and City Coucilmembers.

Report: Arts and Culture Contribute More to U.S. Economy Than Tourism

Marketplace Online
December 13, 2013
Written by: Dan Gorenstein

For the first time the federal government has tallied up the arts and culture contribution to the nation’s economy. It turns out that sector, movies, painting, publishing, cable and more, was worth half a trillion dollars — 3 percent to the gross domestic product in 2011. That’s more than the travel and tourism industry.

“Here you have for the first time, comprehensive empirical evidence from the point of view of economists that the arts play a substantial role in the nation’s economy,” says Sunil Iyengar who runs the Office of Research and Analysis for the National Endowment for the Arts.

In an instant, writers, app designers, publishers and painters just got a bunch of “street cred.” Nearly two million people work in the arts and culture industry which exported about $40 billion in goods and services in 2011. Some economists say ideas, innovation, and creativity are essential to growing the United States economy.

University of Minnesota culture economist Ann Markusen says putting a dollar value to the sector could lead to policies that promote it. “The recognition of the significance of art skills, is going to really be a big boost for artists and also for encouraging young people to go into the arts,” she says.

Who knows, maybe that whole starving artist thing will finally be on its way out.

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