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.
Listed below are the ongoing projects for which the Cultural Affairs Office helps oversee: responsible.
Percent for Art Program
In 1999, the City of Houston established an ordinance mandating that 1.75% of qualified Capital Improvement Project monies be set aside for civic art. The City contracts with the Houston Arts Alliance to manage our civic art program including the conservation of existing pieces in the City's collection.
Historic Preservation Initiatives
The Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs works on a variety of historic preservation initiatives including strengthening the historic preservation ordinance, creating tax incentives for preservation, and developing outreach materials.
Historic District Residential Properties Available for Sale
Want to live in one of Houston's Historic Districts? To find homes for sale in and learn more about the City designated Historic Districts please click on the Houston Association of Realtors' link http://www.har.com/houston-historic-districts/default.cfm
Houston Archeological and Historical Commission
The Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission (HAHC), a 13-member board, makes recommendations to City Council on historic properties. The Board reviews requests for Historic District designations, City Landmark and Protected City Landmark sites, archaeological sites. The Board also issues Certificates of Appropriateness. The website of the HAHC has a wealth of information on Houston's history complete with video tours of historic areas. Go to www.HoustonPreservation.org.
Houston Oral History Project
The Houston Oral History project is capturing for future generations, the unique perspective of Houston's history from interesting and famous eyewitnesses to our city's history. Go to www.houstonoralhistory.org.
Hotel Tax Provides Lucrative Backing For Arts
Houston Chronicle Editorial
November 4, 2011
Houstonians have seen plenty of evidence recently that our local arts, in all their manifestations, are not only a magnificent boon to our quality of life, but also a mighty economic engine in their own right.
A few examples: Just a few weeks ago, Houston Grand Opera, whose HGOco educational and community arm works in several local neighborhoods, was the recipient of a $250,000 grant as one of the nation's great examples of an arts organization that directly affects local economic development.
On another front, the annual International Quilt Festival is back at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Second in size only to the annual Offshore Technology Conference, the 10-day quilt festival and its accompanying trade show are expected to generate more than $50 million in direct spending, said Greg Ortale, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, as reported by the Chronicle's Molly Glentzer.
Among numerous other offerings, the King Tut exhibition is keeping the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston's doors open seven days a week for the next several months, and the convention center was host to not one, but two, first-class fine arts festivals, the Houston Fine Arts Fair and Texas Contemporary, in the past couple of months.
But there is one area where arts and commerce converge that gets far less exposure than grants and exhibitions. And it's one that Ortale and the convention and visitors bureau are currently bringing to Houston's attention. This past week, they launched a local awareness campaign to highlight the little-known, but hugely significant, fact that 19.3 percent of the hotel tax, which constitutes 7 percent of the cost of a room, goes to support the arts in Houston.
Minnette Boesel, Mayor Annise Parker's assistant for cultural affairs, told the Chronicle that for fiscal year 2011, the local arts' share of that tax was $11 million. Almost 40 percent of that went to the Houston Arts Alliance, for grants and programs for about 250 organizations and individuals, with the rest going to the Theater District and Museum District associations and theMiller Theatre Advisory Board.
That's an impressive chunk of change. But as Ortale told the Chronicle, "Our biggest problem has been a lack of awareness. People remember the Houston of 20, 30 years ago. They don't know this Houston - vibrant and green and leading the country in clean energy consumption … All sorts of good things are happening, and that's why we need our ambassadors out there helping us spread the word."
That shouldn't be too difficult - hotels and the arts are a natural mix, and "Check in. Support the arts" is a visually beautiful and whimsical campaign, featuring local artists in local hotels.
Check them out on the bureau's website and in Playbill and Houston magazine. And remember, all of us, individuals and corporations alike, have out-of-town friends, relatives and business contacts. Ask them to check in, often. It's a great deal for all of us.
Contact the Cultural Affairs Office
Mayor's Assistant for Cultural Affairs
901 Bagby, 4th Floor
Houston, TX 77002
Arts & Economy, and Giving
Links below open in a new window.
- The Creative Economy of Houston (.pdf)
- Arts & Economic Prosperity in the Greater Houston Area: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts & Culture Organizations & Their Audiences
- Power2Give; A New Way of Giving to Arts & Culture Organizations
- Houston Arts Alliance
Public Art in Houston