[T]here is one area where arts and commerce converge that gets far less exposure than grants and exhibitions. And it’s one that Ortale and the convention and visitors bureau are currently bringing to Houston’s attention. This past week, they launched a local awareness campaign to highlight the little-known, but hugely significant, fact that 19.3 percent of the hotel tax, which constitutes 7 percent of the cost of a room, goes to support the arts in Houston.
Minnette Boesel, Mayor Annise Parker’s assistant for cultural affairs, told the Chronicle that for fiscal year 2011, the local arts’ share of that tax was $11 million. Almost 40 percent of that went to the Houston Arts Alliance, for grants and programs for about 250 organizations and individuals, with the rest going to the Theater District and Museum District associations and the Miller Theatre Advisory Board.
That’s an impressive chunk of change. But as Ortale told the Chronicle, “Our biggest problem has been a lack of awareness. People remember the Houston of 20, 30 years ago. They don’t know this Houston – vibrant and green and leading the country in clean energy consumption