From art cars to trail rides: NEA grant to Houston Arts Alliance celebrates a city on the move

Jul. 21, 2013Culture Map - Houston

The Houston Arts Alliance has received a major grant from The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for a project that celebrates Houston’s fascination with all forms of transportation.

The $200,000 grant, the highest level of funding from the NEA, is part of a national program to support projects that “help transform communities into lively, beautiful and sustainable places with the arts at their core.”

Houston Arts Alliance’s Transported & Renewed project focuses on “this city’s obsession with movement and keeping things moving,” Pat Jasper, Houston Art Alliance’s director of folk life and traditional arts, tells CultureMap.

It will explore such modes of transportation as tugs, ships, railroads, bicycles, art cars, trail rides and lower riders to dragon boats, SLABS, food trucks and more, with art projects around Houston. The timing will coincide with the centennial of the Port of Houston and the new METRO East End Light Rail, which will be the epicenter for the three-month project in 2014.

“This project will use the arts to showcase the significance, the uniqueness and the hidden treasures that are part of this city,”  Jasper said. “It is a bold mix of community based and contemporary art projects.”

The NEA gave out 59 Our Town grants totaling $4.725 million to organizations spread across 34 states.
The grant will be used to create a calendar for the project and commission works from artist and art organizations. Among them will be a project from artist Luke Savisky and the Aurora Picture Show. In 2010, Savisky created “Media Archeology: Texas,” featuring projections from a live feed of audience members at the site of several silos approximately 40 feet high each.