a sweet tune

City of Houston rocks out major support for struggling musicians and venues

City of Houston rocks out major support for local musicians and venues

White Oak Music Hall exterior
Venues such as White Oak Music Hall in The Heights are eligible for aid under the new program. Photo by Eric Sandler

The music industry has been pummeled by the pandemic, so much so, that in August, two pieces of legislation were introduced to Congress to assist the flailing industry, as CultureMap previously reported.

With that in mind, Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston City Council have announced a new relief program today for local musicians and music venues that have been impacted by COVID-19.

The City of Houston's Musicians and Music Venues Economic Relief Program is being funded with $3 million of the city's allocated CARES Act 2020 funds, according to a press release.

Area musicians will be eligible for up to $5,000 in relief funding. Music venues will be eligible for up to $50,000 or $100,000, depending on budget size. The program was initiated by the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) as a resource for Houston musicians and for-profit and non-profit music venues to sustain their operations during the pandemic.

Applications for the program are currently being accepted and must be completed online by 5 pm on Wednesday, November 25, according to the city. To qualify, applicants: 

  • Must be a live music venue whose principal place of business is located within the City of Houston's city limits.
  • Must be a musician whose principal residence is located within the City of Houston's city limits.
  • Must provide evidence of how business revenue has significantly decreased because of government restrictions or other challenges due to COVID-19.
  • Must be in good standing with City requirements (e.g., property taxes, personal property, grounds for debarment, etc.). In addition to these requirements, a weighted scoring matrix will be used to ensure the equitable distribution of grant funds. Applications will be ranked by objective scores, and funding will be applied until the program runs out of funding.

MOCA has tapped Mid-America Arts Alliance (MAAA), a non-profit 501(c)(3) regional arts organization, to administer the program. MAAA will host the following information sessions for applicants:

Zoom Info Webinar: Tuesday, November 10, at 10 am for venue applications.
Zoom Info Webinar: Tuesday, November 10, at 3 pm for artist applications.

Zoom Meeting Information

  • Meeting link here
  • Meeting ID: 834 2787 5439
  • Passcode: 322197
  • Dial by your location
  • +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
  • Meeting ID: 834 2787 5439
  • Passcode: 322197

“As a city, we have provided rental assistance and supported small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Turner, in a statement. “Now, we will focus on Houston's musicians. Music venues, and iconic performance spaces are a big part of our city and an important segment of Houston's cultural life.”

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