09:35 AM

Bayou Theater receives grant, stays in the limelight despite closures

University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Director of Theater and Cultural Arts Eric Despard has been finding new ways to turn the difficulties caused by COVID-19-related closures into ways to ensure the show will go on. UH-Clear Lake’s Bayou Theater has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, one to support the theater’s staff, and another, awarded through the Texas Commission on the Arts, to afford the opportunity to bring a previously canceled performance to the virtual stage.

“In July, the Bayou Theater received a $50,000 CARES Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts,” Despard said. “Of the 3100 eligible applications there were 855 total grants awarded, and 44 were awarded in Texas. Only seven were awarded in Houston, and we were fortunate to be one of them.”

The NEA is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes and strengthens the creative capacity of communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts appreciation. “The grant enables us to continue supporting our staff throughout the closure due to the pandemic,” Despard said.

Additionally, Texas Commission on the Arts awarded funds to the Bayou Theater to provide artistic contracts. “The Apollo Chamber Players’ May performance was canceled, and these funds allow us to bring them back to perform a virtual concert, to take place Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. via Zoom,” he said.

“They’ll present a virtual program featuring newly commissioned music by Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning composers Libby Larsen and Jennifer Hidgon, and vanguard African-American composer Florence Price. This program also features new choreography created and danced by artists from the Houston Ballet, digitally paired with Apollo's multicultural commissions.”

Despard said that plans continue to be made for the 2020-2021 Bayou Theater season and that more information would be coming soon.

To attend the Apollo Chamber Players’ Zoom concert, register online and receive the Zoom link.