Fresh Arts Executive Director Marci Dallas admits she had no idea what Harvey had in store for Houston, let alone the city’s arts community, but to her recovery is a certainty because, well, #TexasArtistsStrong.
So, Dallas says the organization will turn its previously scheduled September 9 event at Spring Street Studios – the last of a summer series at Sawyer Yards – into a "#TexasArtistsStrong" disaster relief exhibition and fundraiser, with proceeds going directly into an immediate relief fund. The goal, she adds, is to get the money out to artists in need as quickly as possible to rebuild studios, preserve work, buy supplies and continue creating art.
“[The idea] really came from the community who said we want to figure out a way to help, which is one of the great stories that I think so many people around the country are seeing about Houston this week,” says Dallas. “That happened in the arts community too. The arts community was saying, ‘How can we help each other, what can we do – those of us who weren’t affected – how we can help?’”
Though Houstonians can help by enjoying light bites, drinks and an artists’ talk at 3 p.m. Saturday, the arts community isn’t stopping here. Dallas points to all the artists of Sawyer Yards donating 10 percent of sales during Second Saturday to different relief charities; Lawndale opening its doors to artists in need of a place to store their work; and the Emergency Resources for Artists spreadsheet, with everything from information on emergency funding to volunteer opportunities (which she credits to Fresh Arts’ Angela Carranza, Galveston Arts Center’s Dennis Nance and their many colleagues) as examples of the ways the arts community is coming together to help.
“With the small arts organizations, who sometimes are struggling financially, a disaster like this is the kind of thing that can put somebody out of business,” says Dallas. “A lot of the small organizations are run by artists, so most of the small organizations that we work with are a musician who also runs a chamber group or something like that. They’re both an artist and also an arts administrator."
Dallas says they have just started hearing from those who have been directly affected within the past few days, but they are actively compiling a list of artists, from Corpus Christi and Rockport to Galveston and Houston, who need support.
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“All of the information is still coming in about how many artists were affected and what their needs are,” she says. “We’re still in the middle of that, and I think we still haven’t heard from quite a few people who have been affected because they’re busy dealing with [immediate needs].”
Though information is only now coming in, Dallas says the network of service organizations, the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and many other arts institutions are already working together to find ways to address the ongoing needs of the arts community. She adds that she is “so inspired” and “blown away” by the efforts that have already been made.
“I have no doubt that we will all recover from this and we’ll be an even tighter unit than we were before.”
“#TexasArtistsStrong” shows from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, September 9 at Spring Street Studios, 1824 Spring. The call to artists is open until Wednesday, September 6. For information, call 713-868-1839 or visit fresharts.org. Free.