The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on Greater Harris County’s arts and culture nonprofit organizations that play a key role in making our region a vibrant place to live, work, play and visit.  

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 600+ arts and culture nonprofits in the Houston/Harris County region generated around $1.12 billion in annual economic activity and employed around 30,000 people. The industry attracts more than 10 million people a year to 22,000 artist events. 

Even in the wake of vaccines and boosters, this industry continues to struggle to survive in the wake of the pandemic. The Houston Arts Alliance found that arts organizations estimate losses of $75 million from ticket sales, entry fees, etc., $6 million from cancelled programs, and $10 million in donations. 

With shows cancelled and art exhibits closed, arts organizations and individual artists are in distress. More than a quarter of all Houston artists have lost 100% of their income due to COVID-19.

The number of unemployment insurance claims per week from the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry grew by more than 700% between the first and last weeks of March 2020— a consequence of shutdowns and social distancing measures. While claims from the arts and culture industry comprise a small percentage of total unemployment claims, the impact on the region is significant.

Museums and creative industry venues were mandated to shutter from mid-March to May 2020 when COVID-19 emerged, which for many also included cancelling visiting speakers and events. The tension between the state and the county regarding re-opening dates and methods created extreme uncertainty and caused further instability in the industry.  

Further, initial federal economic relief did not account for the particular challenges faced by organizations in the creative industries, making it difficult for many to benefit from certain types of funding.

The challenges faced by area artists and cultural organizations are exacerbated for those in Greater Harris County (i.e., unincorporated areas and small municipalities in Harris County, but outside the city of Houston’s corporate limits).  Other than the benefits of the federal Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) there are no local support funds from the county or the City of Houston to help organizations in these areas mitigate losses and stabilize operations. 

Harris County Cultural Arts Coalition (HCCAC) views the arts and culture as a means to improve quality of life, establish a sense of community, expand local economies, and drive economic growth. 

HCCAC was formed to advocate for funding to mitigate the negative financial impact of the pandemic for organizations in Greater Harris County. HCCAC is the first and only organization specifically focused on providing programs and services in support of a vibrant arts eco-system and industry in Greater Harris County.

 HCCAC is a member-based organization that advocates for and supports the creative industry in Greater Harris County. We also serve as a platform to address concerns, share best practices, collaborate on strategies for increasing cultural tourism in Greater Harris County, and to provide opportunities for creative programming and engagement for residents.  

Additionally, HCCAC serves as a granting agency for the arts and culture industry in Greater Harris County.  To this end, we strive to be a strong, multi-faceted coalition with priorities that include community place-making, providing venues for organizations and artists, advocating for cultural funding, enhancing arts education, and positioning communities in Greater Harris County as cultural tourism destinations. 

The arts and culture in Greater Harris County represent a multi-billion dollar industry that supports thousands of jobs, improves quality of life and fosters a stronger sense of belonging and connectedness amongst residents.  HCCAC seeks ARP funding to ensure that the more than 2 million  residents in Greater Harris County have the opportunity to benefit from a thriving arts industry and ecosystem like those in the city of Houston do.


  1. To stabilize the arts and culture industry in Greater Harris County
  2. expand access to arts and culture programming in Greater Harris County.
  3. To increase arts and cultural tourism throughout Greater Harris County.



HCCAC’s vision is that Greater Harris County will have a vibrant, dynamic, arts and culture ecosystem that positions the region as one of the state’s leading cultural tourism economies.      

Our Mission

  1. To stabilize the arts and culture industry in Greater Harris County
  2. expand access to arts and culture programming in Greater Harris County.
  3. To increase arts and cultural tourism throughout Greater Harris County.