Cultural Affairs Office

Press and Communications

City of Houston Donates $250,000 to Emergency Relief Fund for Winter Street Artists

February 16, 2023 -- Today, The Mayor announced a $250,000 donation from the City of Houston to the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) Emergency Relief Fund for artists affected by the December fire at Winter Street Studios. The press conference took place inside the burned-out studios at Sawyer Yards in Houston's Arts District.

Speakers included Houston The Mayor, Council Member Karla Cisneros, Houston Arts Alliance Board Chair Michele Leal Farah, Winter Street Studios artists and fire victims Gerardo Parra Jr. and Holly Nowak, and Executive Director of Fresh Arts and Arts District Lead Angela Carranza.

“Born out of this tragedy is the knowledge that Houstonians are always there for each other,” says The Mayor. “We are here for the affected artists and think of them in these trying times. With our help, we hope the artists are soon able to get back into their creative spaces and resume their contribution to the creative economy.”  The Mayor also issued a challenge for fellow Houstonians to come together and match the City’s contribution.

Winter Street Artists Press Conference

The Houston Arts Alliance received 64 applications from Winter Street artists reporting more than $2.5 million in damages, so the arts community is beyond grateful for the donation.

“We are beyond thankful to The Mayor, known to our community as the Arts Mayor, for this historic gift.” says HAA Board Chair, Michele Leal Farah. “The Houston Arts Alliance established the Disaster Services program just after Harvey because the community demanded a more secure future from disasters. Houston should be proud of this program. It is the only one of its kind in the nation, and it is supported by private donations from the community it serves. Artists and cultural institutions are a critical part of our City’s economy and community. Today, I am glad it is here to help the artists of Winter Street.”

For more information on the HAA Emergency Relief Fund, conservation support and to donate, visit For more information on today's event click here.