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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.


Ongoing Projects


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

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

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


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.

To view original article, go to

Contact the Cultural Affairs Office


Minnette Boesel
Mayor's Assistant for Cultural Affairs
901 Bagby, 4th Floor
Houston, TX 77002
PHONE: 832.393.1097




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Arts Logos and LinksProjects in Progress

Mayor Parker Selects Leaders for Cultural Plan Process


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.

Public Art in Houston


Public Art in Houston


Public Art in Houston