In 1966, Society for the Performing Arts (SPA), a crown jewel in Houston’s art community, was born of Houston’s need to fill Jones Hall with performances.
Before his death in the mid 1950s, Houston philanthropist and businessman Jesse H. Jones set the wheels in motion to fill Houston’s need for a first class performance hall, establishing the generous Houston Endowment. Armed with the Endowment, Jones’ nephew, John T. Jones, Jr., turned his uncle’s magnificent dream into a reality. Jones Hall opened with much fanfare and a week-long cultural celebration in October 1966.
From its inception, the spectacular new opera hall was built to house the Houston Symphony and Houston Grand Opera. However, John T. Jones, Jr. realized that even with a full symphony and opera schedule there would be many nights when Jones Hall would be available for other performances.
Hence, Society for the Performing Arts was founded to ensure that Jones Hall would be filled with audiences all year long.
In its first season, SPA presented the likes of Carol Channing in Hello Dolly. Over the years, SPA has presented more than 1000 performances of the world’s finest music, dance, and theater events, including the Houston premieres of some of the finest artists of our time. SPA was also the presenter of Broadway musicals for 26 years.
Today, SPA is the largest nonprofit presenting organization of its kind in the entire Southwest. SPA continues to present internationally acclaimed artists from the entire performing arts spectrum, traditional to avant-garde alike, from large orchestras and dance companies to recitalists and solo performers.