Opinion: Houston arts community needs a more sustainable funding model

Posted on: May 4, 2021

“At a time when there is a desperate need for creative expression, the livelihood of artists has never been more tenuous,” write Liyen Chong, Shayna Schlosberg, and Jaison Oliver in an editorial in Thursday’s (4/29) Houston Chronicle. “This is especially true for artists in Houston…. Public funding for the arts in Houston largely comes from a percentage of Hotel Occupancy Taxes (HOT).… HOT tax funding is insufficient to support our arts community. Now, in order to prioritize everyone’s health and safety, Houston’s cultural economy has come to a freeze…. The city … has thus far provided $5 million in CARES aid for artists and arts organizations, but it’s nowhere near enough…. Artists and cultural workers in Houston have come together to organize under the new collective, Arts Accountability Houston (AAH) … to hold our local government accountable to provide short-term relief and long-term change. We have a unique window of opportunity to fundamentally change our city, and we need your help to [ensure that] local artists get an equitable share of the stimulus funds coming on May 10 so that Houston’s arts and culture ecosystem doesn’t just survive the final stretch of this pandemic, but emerges stronger and more resilient.”