As Texas has had to shut down in the past two months due to the novel coronavirus, many of those in its iconic arts and culture industries have taken a big economic hit. Cinemas, venues, theaters, and bookshops have generally been closed, huge annual festivals have been canceled, and the vast majority of film and theater productions have been halted. There are countless important causes to support right now, but this #GivingTuesday, fundraisers for artists and cultural institutions should be on your list. After all this is over, we want our favorites to still be around.
#GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving set up to support those affected by COVID-19. Today, communities and nonprofits statewide are taking part. You can explore databases for the regions surrounding Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, and anywhere else to find cultural organizations in need. Or consider our curated list of causes below.
San Antonio nonprofits who missed out on funding opportunities due to the loss of Fiesta
Since Fiesta was tentatively postponed until November, groups in San Antonio have been feeling the blow. The Rey Feo scholarship, a project of League of United Latin American Citizens, relies on Fiesta to raise tens of thousands of dollars for scholarships for first-generation students. Beyond Fiesta, culturally significant nonprofits outside San Antonio have likely been affected by the economic crisis—check your local database for more.
Filmmakers and cinemas in Austin and elsewhere
In response to the cancellation of SXSW in March, relief funds for filmmakers and musicians have popped up, including the Creative Industry Relief Fund in Fort Worth and I Lost My Gig for SXSW workers. Until film festivals can return to the state, consider donating to specific projects, like ZCreative Media’s docuseries Water Touches All, which is investigating how Kinder Morgan is pushing through construction on the Permian Highway Pipeline in the Hill Country.
Funds for musicians’ and creative workers’ health and safety
In Austin, the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians provides access to affordable health care for Austin performers, and there are also relief funds for artists and freelancers in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin. The Houston Arab Community Mutual Aid Coalition has multiple ways to donate money, connect employers with job seekers, and provide in-person donations. And if you were planning to see Texas musicians at SXSW, you can now listen to your favorites on Bandcamp the first Friday of every month, when the platform is waiving its revenue shares on all sales of music and merch. (A list of artists who would have showcased at SXSW is here.)
Cultural centers across the state
The Esperanza Peace & Justice Center in San Antonio and Esquina Tango in Austin are asking for donations, while the Palestinian American Cultural Center in Houston, which had to cancel its large April festival, is also in need of support. North Texas’ oldest mosque, Masjid Al Islam, is fundraising for a new building. Texas Folklife needs backing for its work preserving folk and traditional arts. Check on your neighborhood cultural center and see if you can contribute.
Theater and dance organizations
Since no one can attend performances right now, theater and dance companies are losing all revenue from would-be ticket sales and classes. Community-transforming organizations like the Dallas Black Dance Theatre and the Texas Ballet Theater have come out publicly to express severe need. Children’s theater initiatives like Leap of Joy in Austin and the Magik Theatre in San Antonio are worthy causes, too. Texas Nonprofit Theatres, the statewide service organization for nonprofit theaters, is asking for financial help to keep promoting and advocating for theater arts.
Small presses, independent bookstores, and booksellers
Independent publishing and bookselling industries were already facing razor-thin margins and the threat of Amazon before a pandemic shuttered storefronts. Now small, independent Texas presses are welcoming book orders, but beloved El Paso publisher Cinco Puntos Press is directly asking for donations, as is Small Press Distributions, which distributes books by several Texas publishers. Book-oriented nonprofit Inside Books Project, which sends free books and educational materials to prisoners in Texas, is still operating. Put money in the hands of your local booksellers and bookstores by donating to BINC and shopping at Bookshop instead of Amazon.
Subscribe to your city’s daily newspaper, many of which have been significantly affected by the loss of advertising revenue and have had to furlough staff. Journalists at the Houston Chronicle, the Austin American-Statesman, the Dallas Morning News, the San Antonio Express-News, and many others are working hard to bring you vital information about how coronavirus is affecting your community. You can also donate to nonprofit media like your local NPR station—and of course, you can become a member of the Texas Observer.
Here are 10 other ways you can help your fellow Texans.
We will continue to update this list as new funds emerge. Please email [email protected] if there are any we missed.
Read more from the Observer:
Mi Barrio No Se Vende: San Antonio is planning to demolish its oldest and largest public housing project, threatening the future of a deeply historic neighborhood—one that anchors the city’s identity as the nation’s Mexican American capital.
From Jail to the Streets: One Texan’s Story During COVID-19: The homeless are 11 times more likely to be incarcerated than the rest of the population.
Texas Had a State Office That Could Have Investigated Racial Disparities in COVID-19 Cases. Lawmakers Defunded it Three Years Ago: While early reports elsewhere show African Americans disproportionately infected and dying from COVID-19, Texas’ data is incomplete.