Mayor Turner Announces Festival Grant Awards

Mayor Sylvester Turner today announced the first awardees of the new grant program Festival Grant via the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA). Sixteen festivals with venues across Houston were selected for funding totaling $145,475.

“Houston is a welcoming city with festivals as diverse as our neighborhoods,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “More and more people are visiting this great city because of our people and the rich variety of our cultural life.”

The Festival Grant program was designed to support art festivals or art components of cultural festivals to celebrate Houston’s diversity and promote the City’s creative identity as a unique arts and culture destination.

Applications went through a multi-step review-approval process and panels were made up of a diverse group of local professionals, including: Judi Quesonova, Vice President of Client Services, Visit Houston; Jane Holman, Deputy Assistant Director, Mayor's Office of Special Events; Desmond Bertrand-Pitts, Executive Director, Buffalo Soldiers National Museum; Christine West, Cultural Programs Manager, Houston First Corporation and member of HAA’s Grants Committee and Louise Upshaw-McClenny who serves on the Houston Arts Alliance Board of Directors, representing the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston, and is currently Chair of HAA’s Grants Committee.

Congratulations to all the award recipients. Mayor Turner thanks all recipients for their dedication and contribution to Houston’s dynamic arts and culture landscape.

Festival Grant Graphic

Below is a list of festivals and organizations receiving grants:

  • 11th Houston Ratha Yatra (Festival of Chariots), July 14, 2018, presented by the Orissa Culture Center, this free event is aimed at bringing the spirit of universal brotherhood to City of Houston via the symbolic pulling of a magnificently decorated 22 ft. chariot followed by cultural events that include classical and folk dances and music from various parts of the world.
  • The 4th Annual Houston Black Heritage Music & Arts Festival, August 11 & 12, 2018, presented by the Foundation for Black Heritage and Culture, is an all-weekend cultural experience that promotes diversity and cultural sensitivity filled with performances, art, guest speakers, exhibits, poets, crafts people and world-renown musical entertainers. This year’s festival will take place inside the George R. Brown Convention Center.
  • The Texas Taco Music Fest IV, September 16, 2018, presented by Coalition of Hispanics for Excellence in Technology & Art (CHEITA), will present emerging Latino bands, visual artists, and roving performers including Mariachi, artists & designers, crafts persons and an international guest chef at Discovery Green. The Houston Latin American Orchestra, acclaimed vocalist Barbara Padilla and Mexico's Irma Infante will be performing.  A 2,500 year-old continuously practiced Aztec Concheras ritual will also be performed.
  • Frame x Frame Dance Film Fest, September 21-23, 2018, presented by Frame Dance, aims to bring dance filmmaking to Houston audiences while providing a platform for emerging and established filmmakers to share their work with the world, inspiring creativity and innovation. The festival will consist of three film series screenings and three pre/post-show discussions with the filmmakers and curators.
  • Meeting of Styles Houston, September 21-23, 2018, by Underground Planet Art Studio, LLC, is a three-day event in which 100+ artists from around the world will paint murals and graffiti-style productions in Northside Houston.
  • Mid-Autumn Dance Festival, September 22, 2018, by Dance of Asian America is a free open-to-public city-wide dance festival uniting unite the Houston dance community of all dance styles and cultural backgrounds.
  • Celebration of Dance, October 6, 2018, by Dance Houston is a festival featuring twelve local dance companies in one evening performing a variety of styles.
  • 40th Houston Italian Festival (Festa Italiana), October 11-14, 2018, organized by Italian Cultural & Community Center of Houston, will present arts and cultural events as diverse as Italy’s realities.
  • Peak Shift, October 13-December 1, 2018, is a 2018 iteration of the Sculpture Month Houston (SMH). This citywide biennial installation project will survey the sculptural medium from Texas and across its borders in over 40 venues across the City.
  • The Centennial Oktober Festival, October 13, 20 & 27, 2018, organized by Czech Cultural and Community Center presents a family friendly entertainment packed with live music, dance, and culture.
  • Korean Festival Houston, October 13, 2018, presented by Korean American Society of Houston is the largest Korean event in the city Houston that showcases both traditional and contemporary Korean arts, culture, and cuisine to attendees of all backgrounds.
  • Houston AfriFEST, October 27, 2018, is a family-friendly, open-air community event hosted by a number of partnering African organizations, led by the Nigerian-American Multicultural Council. This festival brings together over 10 African communities to share the richness of Africa's diverse cultures with fellow Houstonians and guests on the Houston Bapist University campus.
  • Dia de los Muertos Festival, October 27 & 28, 2018, organized by Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts (MECA) is a 2-day Festival offered free to the public, that supports and showcases Houston area visual and performing artists while attracting thousands of visitors from the Houston area, Texas and Mexico.
  • The Houston Via Colori® Street Painting Festival, November 17 & 18, 2018, is a two-day, annual art and music festival in downtown Houston. Entering its 13th year, Via Colori has grown into one of Houston’s signature arts events and remains the only street painting festival of its scale in the region. The festival is organized by The Center for Hearing and Speech.
  • Zine Fest Houston, 2018 November 17, 2018, is the City's only platform for emerging and established regional and national zine makers to exchange new work and create meaningful relationships that lead to productive collaboration. Annually, it attracts people from Austin, Baytown, Dallas, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio, and Seattle, as well as towns and suburbs in the Houston metro area and beyond.
  • Jewish CultureFest, December 2, 2018, organized by Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston is a community-wide celebration of local Jewish culture that highlights the diverse creative identity of Houston’s Jewish community and provides a space for Houstonians to celebrate the many facets of this culture at Levy Park.

The 2019 Festival Grant application opens Friday, August 24, 2018 with a deadline of Monday, September 24, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

For more information or to sign up for a workshop please visit the or contact the Grants staff at or 713-527-9330 x450.

Funding for the Festival grant program is provided by the City of Houston utilizing Hotel Occupancy Taxes.

To learn more about the City’s cultural programs visit, and follow the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs on Facebook and Instagram @HoustonMOCA.