Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs working to help artists during economic crisis

Artists in the Greater Houston area are encouraged to submit their artwork

The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs (MOCA) is soliciting artist qualifications for artworks to become part of the City Art Collection at the new Alief Community Center.

This project is the first of several opportunities expected to be announced over the coming weeks to accelerate art projects in response to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 emergency. In a previous message, MOCA urged the creative sector to take immediate steps to secure federal aid. 

“Health and safety are everyone’s top concern, followed by economic turmoil,” said Debbie McNulty, Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs director. “We initiated this call for artists, and are advancing other projects, to deploy funds restricted for this purpose as quickly as we can. Artists and fabricators are small businesses and hiring them to create new artwork is one way to help our community.”

The design for the new Alief Community Center combines three City of Houston departments under one roof, creating a civic center at the heart of a redeveloped 38-acre active urban sports park. A new paradigm for providing City services, the 70,000 SQ.FT., three-story building is the first-of-its-kind, designed to leverage synergies between the Houston Health, Parks, and Library Departments for the benefit of residents with special focus on community engagement, identity, and overall wellbeing. The facility will be built on the site of the current community center, located at 11903 Bellaire Blvd.

“I want the cultural community to know that your sacrifices are working to help save lives,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We need you to keep going, to keep creating AND to keep social distancing. We also need you to be part of the economic recovery. This project embodies that spirit with a resilient design for the building and landscape. Both will connect neighbors with learning and service opportunities to strengthen individuals in the community.”

Three separate permanent works of art will be commissioned with a budget up to $262,633 for each artwork. The deadline for submission of qualifications is Monday, May 11, 2020, at 11:59 pm CST. For details, go to

The Houston Arts Alliance is managing the selection process. The selected artists must be able and willing to sign a contract with Houston Arts Alliance for the commission.

The City of Houston Civic Art Program is funding the artwork. In 1999, the City of Houston established an ordinance mandating that 1.75% of qualified Capital Improvement Project dollars be set aside for civic art.

For more information about COVID-19 related emergency financial help or the City’s Civic Art Program, go to or follow the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs on Facebook and Instagram @HoustonMOCA.