Longtime Houston arts group leaps forward with new artist relief fund
As Houston takes a collective sigh of relief after dodging one disaster, a beloved local arts organization is mobilizing to help with another major crisis. Society for the Performing Arts has announced Arts Forward, a $1.5 million Relief & Response fund aimed at helping those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund will help the organization weather the pandemic crisis and remain ready to present performances when it’s the right time to return to the theater, according to a press release. Arts Forward will also help SPA advance community initiatives and implement initial stages of the 2020 SPA Strategic Plan.
Fundraising has already surpassed the $600,000 mark, according to SPA. Those interested in contributing to the fund can donate here.
Due to the pandemic, SPA cancelled or postponed more than 45 performances and more than 90 education and community engagement programs. The arts group reports that its projected gross revenue losses exceed $3.5 million for the 2020-21 season, with additional revenue losses expected beyond the coming year.
Meanwhile, with live performances on hold, SPA has launched the SPA Houston Artist Commissioning Project. Six virtual commission winners will be chosen on September 14, to receive $800 awards for new digital work to be premiered this fall. Additionally, $5,000 awards for live performance pieces will be announced in January; those works will be premiered in summer 2021.
Widely recognized as one of Houston’s most longstanding and culturally relevant arts organizations, SPA has recently hosted cherished icons such as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra.