HOUSTON (AUGUST 25, 2020) – Responding the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Society for the Performing Arts has launched Arts Forward, a $1.5 million Relief & Response fund.
The fund will provide relief from the damages of the pandemic, helping SPA weather the pandemic crisis and remain ready to present performances when it’s the right time to return to the theater. Arts Forward will also help SPA drive its mission forward, ad- vancing community initiatives and implementing initial stages of the 2020 SPA Strate- gic Plan.
Due to the exceptional leadership of our Board Chair, Willie Chaing, and the generous support of many on our board, the Relief & Response fund is off to remarkable start— Arts Forward has already passed the $600k mark.
The performing arts industry has been devastated and Society for the Performing Arts is no exception. SPA cancelled or postponed more than 45 performances and over 90 Edu- cation and Community Engagement programs. Projected gross revenue losses exceed $3.5 million for the 2020-21 Season, with additional revenue losses expected beyond the coming year. With national and international performing arts tours at a standstill, tradi- tional revenue streams have been reduced or eliminated, as has the experience of live performance for our audiences and supporters.
Arts Forward will go far to mend these damages and strengthen SPA for years to come.
Although the 2020-21 Season was not announced, individual performances will be an- nounced as able. SPA looks forward to the return of a full season of shows and events, and full theaters. Regular updates regarding current and future programming can be found at our website, spahouston.org, and on social media @spahouston.
With live performances on hold, SPA has shifted its focus to supporting the local arts community by launching the SPA Houston Artist Commissioning Project. Six virtual commission winners will be chosen on September 14, 2020 to receive $800 awards for new digital work to be premiered this fall. $5,000 awards for live performance pieces will be announced this January, those works to be premiered in summer 2021. By the August 25 deadline for virtual awards, SPA had received 36 applications form local art- ists and arts groups.
SPA recognizes that the time for change and action, to help Houston’s performing arts survive, is now. Leveraging our many partnerships, and a mission for amplifying artists’ voices, new initiatives supported by Arts Forward will address the cultural needs of our region.
Society for the Performing Arts is one of Houston’s longstanding and most culturally rel- evant arts organizations—the local home for some of the most remarkable performing artists of our time, from around the world. With everyone’s help, that will continue. From 20-year subscribers, to those who saw Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Or- chestra last September, or the many who looked forward to experiencing Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for the first time in April, we ask you to make a tax-deductible gift to Arts Forward today—to sustain SPA now and into the future.
In the words of Alvin Ailey’s Artistic Director, Robert Battle, attending an Ailey perfor- mance is like “taking a seat to see something that represents the best of humanity.” That’s what SPA presents. And we look forward to seeing audiences take those seats again soon.
Gifts can be made at spahouston.org/donate