Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) and Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) today announced the start of a planning process for a regional arts preparedness and recovery system

Galveston Historical Foundation

Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) and Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) today announced the start of a planning process for a regional arts preparedness and recovery system. With input from the larger arts and culture community and with grants from Houston Endowment, HAA and GHF will create coordinated programs to help arts and cultural organizations and individual artists in the ten-county region prepare for the next sudden or historic disruption. When the effort is successful, the work may also serve as a model for other arts preparedness planning efforts statewide and nationally.

After both Hurricanes Ike and Harvey, the arts and cultural organizations and individual artists comprising the region’s largely non-profit sector suffered losses and faced challenges to recover as never before. Hurricane Harvey especially highlighted the lack of a coordinated response and recovery system in place for arts organizations.

“There is a critical need to develop a model network for communication and education that would enhance all emergency planning, response, and recovery,” said Dwayne Jones, Executive Director of Galveston Historical Foundation and a longtime leader in cultural response and recovery for the region.

According to national research, Houston’s cultural economy is valued at $1.1. billion. It’s estimated that there are more than 1,000 arts and cultural organizations in the region and that culture supports 26,000 full-time jobs and generates $801.6 million in household income locally.

“It is crucial for our community to prepare for future disasters in order to minimize damage to Houston’s robust cultural economy,” said John Abodeely, CEO of Houston Arts Alliance. “Given its scale, creating resilience is an economic imperative, as well as a moral one.”

This new collectively led and community-driven planning process—with input from a robust Advisory Committee composed of artists, arts managers, and public officials—will seek to understand how the region is vulnerable and what must be done to assure its long-term security. This deep dive into the region’s creative sector will include large and small institutions, artists, philanthropists, public sector officials, leaders of cultural districts, and others. The resulting plan for resilience will ensure Houston is ready to act on behalf of the entire region’s incredible diversity.

“We hope that members of the arts sector will be able to draw on one another’s lessons learned from both Harvey and Ike to strengthen the resilience of the entire arts ecosystem,” said Long Chu, program officer at Houston Endowment, which will remain engaged throughout the planning process.

Additionally, the project will collect contact information from arts and cultural organizations throughout the region. Information collected will be stored in a database for program managers to send detailed communications before, during, and after disasters to the region’s creative economy. Pre-disaster recommendations as well as resources for post-disaster needs will be part of a larger regional communications plan, all intended to keep organizations connected to the resources and information needed in crucial times. Individual assistance, as well as regional meetings will result in a more resilient arts and cultural community in the region.


For more information on the Greater Houston-Galveston Arts and Cultural Response and Recovery Program, contact John Abodeely at 713-527-9330 or info@haatx.com or contact program manager Bekah Guedry at 409- 765-3403 or bekah.guedry@galvestonhistory.org.


Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) is a local arts and culture agency that enhances the quality of life in Houston by advancing the arts, the working lives of artists, and the operations of cultural nonprofits. HAA helps artists and arts organizations create bold work; collect and disseminate data about the arts; connect communities to creative experiences; and incubate innovation. The Houston Arts Alliance executes special projects to meet the needs of the arts community, as needs arise. HAA also runs two primary programs: Grants + Capacity Building and Civic Art + Design, which includes the City of Houston’s public art and arts grants initiatives. Currently, HAA is executingdisaster resilience trainings for artists and nonprofits with support from Performing Arts Readiness project, Rebuild Texas, Southwest Airlines, and several Houston philanthropists. Visit them online at www.houstonartsalliance.com.


GHF was formed as the Galveston Historical Society in 1871 and merged with a new organization created in 1954 as a non-profit entity devoted to historic preservation and history in Galveston County. Over the last sixty years, GHF has expanded its mission to encompass community redevelopment, historic preservation advocacy, maritime preservation, coastal resiliency and stewardship of historic properties. GHF embraces a broader vision of history and architecture that encompasses advancements in environmental and natural sciences and their intersection with historic buildings and coastal life and conceives of history as an engaging story of individual lives and experiences on Galveston Island from the 19th century to the present day. They can be found online atwww.galvestonhistory.org.

For more information, please contact Will Wright, Galveston Historical Foundation’s Chief Creative Officer at 409- 765-3404 or will.wright@galvestonhistory.org.