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Musicians and Music Venues Economic Relief Program

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council approved $3 million for the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs Musicians and Venues Economic Relief Program.  Funded through the Federal CARES ACT, the program will provide immediate and short-term assistance to the Houston music sector impacted economically due to COVID-19.

Applications have closed. Applicants will be notified of their status the week of December 7.

Online Application Portal closed Wednesday, November 25 at 5:00 p.m. CST

Maximum Grant Award 

For Musicians: $5,000 

For Music Venues with an operating budget of up to $2 million: $50,000

For Music Venues with an operating budget of over $2 million: $100,000

Applications are NOT processed on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Program Objective

The goal is to be a resource that Houston musicians and for-profit and nonprofit music venues economically impacted by COVID-19 may leverage to sustain their operations during and after the pandemic.

Applicant Eligibility

Review Process and Criteria

The application includes a set of need-based assessment criterial. Each question is scored and staff will review application for eligibility and completeness.

Emphasis will be given to: 

Note: M-AAA strives to ensure that artists across all genre of music, of every race, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability status, and socioeconomic class have access to funding. The demographic survey is optional, but these factors are included in the rating scale so we ask that applicants provide as much information as possible.

The applications will be ranked by objective scores and funding will be applied until funding runs out.

Incomplete applications or applications not meeting all criteria will not be considered for funding. Applicants will not have an opportunity to resubmit missing information. All applicants will be notified of their application status at the same time.

Contracting and Payment

Application available: Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Application deadline: Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. CST

Grant Status Notification: the week of December 7, 2020

Payments to be distributed by USPS the week of December 14, 2020

*Please note: Houston CARES funding decisions are discretionary and are not subject to appeal. Given the expedited nature of the application and review, M-AAA will not provide comments on draft materials or feedback for funded or declined applications.

Grant recipients must comply with the Federal policies and legal requirements, statues, and regulations as stated in M-AAA’s Assurance of Compliance. Grant recipients are required to make accommodations for constituents with disabilities upon request. 

Grant recipients are considered all professional performers and related or supporting professional personnel at no less than the prevailing minimum rates of compensation. 

Grant awards are considered income. Grant recipients are responsible for all tax obligations under federal, state, and local laws. 

How to Apply

Applicants must submit an online application through M-AAA’s application portal by 5:00 p.m. CST, Wednesday, November 25, 2020. Download the Grant Guidelines, including the Application Checklists: For Venues and For Musicians. Any additional questions may be directed to

Below, please find two informational webinars to walk both musicians and music venues through their application processes. 

Webinar for Musicians

Webinar for Music Venues

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Grants made possible by the City of Houston and the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs

For more information about COVID-19 related emergency financial help or the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, visit You can also follow MOCA on Facebook and Instagram @HoustonMOCA. 

#HoustonCARESAboutMusic   #HoustonMOCAcares

These grants are administered by Mid-America Arts Alliance

Mid-America Arts Alliance strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond. We believe in more art for more people.