Fund Provides Response to Increasing Demand for Emergency Living Assistance for Local Artists
Today, the Greater Houston Area Arts Relief Fund received its largest gift to date since its creation in early April. The Houston Endowment pledged $100,000 to provide financial support to artists and other arts professionals who have lost basic needs security due to COVID-19.
To meet the increasing needs for living assistance from the artist community, the Greater Houston Area Arts Relief Fund serves as a vital method of deploying first responder resources such as food, medical needs and rent. As the federal support gradually begins to arrive and artists are still unable to qualify for unemployment, the needs continue to soar. The Houston Endowment gift provides significant giving momentum that will afford provisions for many artists, but not all.
The grant from the Houston Endowment reflects its on-going commitment to support and sustain Houston’s arts community. “This is about giving a much-needed lifeline to Houston artists that serve as the lifeblood of this vibrant, ever-evolving city. We encourage others to join us in this critical charge during this unprecedented time,” said Ann Stern, President and CEO of Houston Endowment.
“Many artists and arts professionals are falling through the cracks right now. Until we can connect them to longer-lasting support systems, this fund will help them feed their families, stay safe in their homes, and stay healthy.” said Leigh Smith, Chair of the Board of the Houston Arts Alliance.
The Alliance, which manages the city’s arts contracts, is partnering on the project with the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, Dance Source Houston, East End Cultural District, 5th Ward Cultural Arts District, Fresh Arts/Arts District Houston, Galveston Historical Foundation, Houston First Corporation, Houston Museum District, Mid-America Arts Alliance’s Engage Houston, Midtown Cultural District, Theater District Houston and the University of Houston’s Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts.
The Houston Endowment has deployed parallel efforts for COVID-19 relief including a lead gift of $1 million to the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund and creating a challenge grant to encourage giving. The challenge grant contributes another $1 for every $4 given, up to an additional $1 million. The Houston Endowment also provided capacity-building support to the resource, findchildcarenow.org. The site is intended to ease the burden for Houston’s essential workers who are required to work, but struggle to find childcare.