Thursday, August 31, 2017

Help After Harvey

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey ... that ol' so-and-so ... arts organizations are struggling to clean up. And some are still hunkered down and hoping for the best.

One organization that is in clean up mode, is Houston Grand Opera. With their offices closed and their website down, HGO turned to Facebook to release the following statement:


Our great city and region are continuing to suffer from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and we know that we are facing a long recovery together. Following is an update on the Wortham Theater Center, whose two theaters, the Brown and Cullen, are home to Houston Grand Opera.

The Wortham had water penetration into the front of house areas at a low level due to high water; that water has now receded and left residual dirt. In the back of house, water surged over the storm defense and some water went onto the Brown Theater stage. This was at a low level but has resulted in damage to the surface of the stage. The Cullen Theater stage has little water damage and the dressing room corridor had water, but also at a low level. The basement of the building is completely full of flood water. We want to thank Houston First, Theater District Inc. engineers, and Andy Frank Security for their great work in protecting the building from even worse damage. The Theater District garage is completely flooded and will undoubtedly be closed for some time for repairs and cleanup.

Fortunately, HGO staff members had the foresight to move valuable instruments and many costumes, including those for our opening productions of La traviata and Julius Caesar, to higher floors in advance of the storm.

Houston Grand Opera will be out of our offices until after Labor Day. Our website remains down. We will provide another update on Thursday afternoon, August 31. Meanwhile, we are deeply grateful to the artists and other colleagues from around the country and the world who have sent their support. That means so much to us all.

Houston Grand Opera will recover and deliver a fantastic season to our patrons, giving them the art they need to heal from this calamity. And the only future water we want coming across our stage is that of the Rhine!

As if we needed further proof as to why national arts organizations are so important... the National Endowment for the Arts has committed to helping out organizations such as Houston Grand Opera. Because the show must go on...
The National Endowment for the Arts expresses its deepest concern and most heartfelt sympathies for the millions of people in Texas and Louisiana affected by Hurricane Harvey. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who are confronted by this disaster. We are working to coordinate support for arts organizations in the regions designated a disaster area by FEMA, and we stand ready to support the recovery of the arts and cultural communities in the devastated areas. In the past, the NEA has responded to national emergencies, including disaster relief in the wake of September 11th, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the devastating tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, and Tupelo, Mississippi. We are coordinating with the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Division of the Arts in the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development to assess the situation and those arts organizations hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey. As the current situation stabilizes, 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. - NEA Chairperson Jane Chu
How can you help? Here are some ideas and thoughts.

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