The National Endowment for the Humanities has announced that it will award up to $1 million in emergency funds to help restore operations at libraries, museums, colleges, universities, and other cultural organizations in the areas of Texas and Louisiana that have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.
“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 acting chairman of the NEH Jon Parrish Peede. “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 federal agency will grant both state humanities councils with roughly $250,000, to be distributed according to their needs. It will also provide support for the Texas Cultural Emergency Response Alliance and the Heritage Emergency Task Force, and beginning September 8, any cultural institution in FEMA-designated disaster areas will be able to apply directly to the NEH for grants of up to $30,000.
In Houston’s theater district, nearly every major theater and performing arts venue is waterlogged. While many of Texas’s major arts museums were spared by the storm, the Rockport Center for the Arts (RCA), suffered severe damage after Harvey barreled through the region on Friday, August 25. RCA executive director Luis Purón released a statement that said the museum “sustained serious external damage.” The building’s front porch was ripped off by the hurricane’s 130-mile-per-hour winds and the roof has been compromised, leaving the front of the building exposed. “We won’t know about internal damage until we are able to re-enter and inspect the building,” he said. “The timeline for that is uncertain . . . Rockport has a strong and generous heart, great will, and unbridled determination. United, we can restore our community in a responsible way.”