On Friday night, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Texas’s Gulf coast, wreaking havoc on Houston and the surrounding area over the ensuing days, which have seen record rainfall and deadly flooding. The storm’s toll on property and human life cannot be fully understood yet, nor can its long-lasting impact on the city’s economic and cultural life.
Most of the city’s museums and nonprofit art spaces — including Project Row Houses, the Menil Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Contemporary Arts Museum, the Blaffer Art Museum, and the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft — reported weathering the storm with little to no damage thus far. However, the Theater District’s performance spaces have all taken on water, according to Culture Map Houston. Some spaces outside the city have been less fortunate, like the Rockport Center for the Arts, which suffered severe damage.
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Meanwhile, the impact on the city’s sizeable art community remains impossible to gauge. For instance, in New York in 2012, while many museums suffered little or no damage from Hurricane Sandy, the impact on artists and their studios — which are often located in more disaster-prone places and don’t benefit from hurricane preparedness protocols — was devastating. As many Houston artists prepare to spend the coming weeks and months drying out supplies, rescuing works, and clearing out flooded studios, local arts nonprofit Fresh Arts and the Texas Commission on the Arts have both compiled exhaustive lists of resources, emergency grants, information, and contact details for artists affected by Hurricane Harvey. Texas art blog Glasstire has helpfully centralized those and many other such resources in a blog post.
As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever.
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