National Endowment for the Humanities Pledges $1 Million to Arts Organizations Hurt by Hurricane Harvey

The National Endowment for the Arts is also mobilizing funds.

The Rockport Center for the Arts as seen after Hurricane Harvey. Courtesy of the Rockport Center for the Arts.
The Rockport Center for the Arts as seen after Hurricane Harvey. Courtesy of the Rockport Center for the Arts.

The National Endowment for the Humanities announced plans to award $1 million in emergency grants to libraries, museums, colleges, universities, and other cultural and historical hit by Hurricane Harvey, which has devastated parts of Texas and Louisiana with record-breaking rainfall and flooding.

“NEH has designated these funds to support the people in Texas and Louisiana in their efforts to protect the historic materials that document their invaluable contributions to American culture,” said Jon Peede, acting NEH chairman, in a statement. “We are proud to partner with Humanities Texas and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and their dedicated staffs in a coordinated federal-state response.”

The emergency fund includes $200,000 for the humanities councils of both states, which will be allotted to needy institutions based on local needs. The NEH will also provide funding for the Texas Cultural Emergency Response Alliance and the Heritage Emergency National Task Force to conduct outreach and assess damage.

A US Border Patrol agent searches for survivors in the wake of Hurricane Harvey near Rockport, Texas, August 27, 2017. Courtesy of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

A US Border Patrol agent searches for survivors in the wake of Hurricane Harvey near Rockport, Texas, August 27, 2017. Courtesy of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“We at Humanities Texas deeply appreciate NEH’s strong support of our state’s educational and cultural institutions that have been devastated by the hurricane,” said executive director Michael Gillette in the agency’s statement. “We will work with the affected communities to ensure that NEH’s funding goes as far as possible.”

The rest of the $1 million will be distributed to cultural institutions in FEMA-designated disaster areas in grants of as much as $30,000. Applications for this emergency relief will be accepted between September 8 and December 31, 2017, at neh.gov. Current recipients of NEH grants affected by the storm are also eligible to apply for additional funds.

The National Endowment for the Arts also released a statement from chairman Jane Chu in response to the storm, on August 29, noting that “the National Endowment for the Arts is prepared to direct additional funds to these state arts agencies for re-granting to affected organizations, as we have done in the past.”

“The NEA will work very closely with the state arts agencies in the affected states as those agencies are deeply connected to the local arts organizations and are best positioned to gather and share information with us,” added an NEA spokesperson in an email to artnet News. “As the current situation stabilizes and we get a clearer assessment of the damage, we will direct funds to these state arts agencies for re-granting to affected organizations. It’s too soon to provide actual numbers.”

Both government agencies had been in danger of being eliminated by President Donald Trump. The NEA has provided significant assistance to arts organization in the wake of disasters such as September 11th and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Many of Houston’s biggest museums weathered the storm without serious issue, but Harvey did leave some institutions, such as the the Rockport Center for the Arts, near Corpus Christie, Texas, in need of serious repairs.


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