Winter Street Studios fire update: Houston donates $250K to Emergency Relief Fund for artists

Pop-up art show and fundraiser held for artists who were affected by the fire at Winter Street Studios

HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner and the city of Houston announced a $250,000 donation to the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) Emergency Relief Fund for artists who were affected by the December fire at Winter Street Studios.

“Born out of this tragedy is the knowledge that Houstonians are always there for each other,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “We are here for the affected artists and think of them in these trying times. With our help, we hope the artists are soon able to get back into their creative spaces and resume their contribution to the creative economy.”

The fire destroyed several studios and damaged countless artwork, equipment, and personal belongings. More than 70 studios were severely damaged by fire, costing 100 artists their livelihoods.

The Houston Arts Alliance said it received 64 applications from Winter Street artists reporting more than $2.5 million in damages.

“We are beyond thankful to Mayor Turner, known to our community as the Arts Mayor, for this historic gift,” says HAA board chair, Michele Leal Farah. “The Houston Arts Alliance established the Disaster Services Program just after Harvey because the community demanded a more secure future from disasters. Houston should be proud of this program. It is the only one of its kind in the nation, and it is supported by private donations from the community it serves. Artists and cultural institutions are a critical part of our City’s economy and community. Today, I am glad it is here to help the artists of Winter Street.”

The donation comes weeks after a pop-up art show and fundraiser was held to support artists who were affected. The event featured hundreds of artworks, food trucks, and a band.

For more information on the HAA Emergency Relief Fund, conservation support and to donate, visit


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