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BANF Houston Cultural Treasures

Learn more about the Houston Cultural Treasures and the 2023 selected organizations.


Houston Cultural Treasures

BANF will invest $5 million over two years (2024-25) in eleven organizations with both technical support and unrestricted cash funding.


Houston Cultural Treasures invests in the arts organizations that have anchored our communities of color and shaped Houston’s dynamic and diverse culture that we benefit from today. We honor their survival, persistence, and resilience.


The Houston arts community has celebrated its ability to collaborate and connect. We celebrate that connectedness as a Houston strength and are building a two-year learning cohort of BIPOC organizations and their leadership as an essential part of the experience. To be a Houston Cultural Treasure is to commit to strengthening the Houston BIPOC arts ecosystem. BANF’s vision is an ecosystem that empowers BIPOC artists, organizations, and communities in the Greater Houston Area with transformative opportunities to dream, connect, collaborate, and create.

BANF Grantee: Community Artists Collective

The Houston Cultural Treasures initiative is part of a larger national initiative from the Ford Foundation created to acknowledge and honor the diversity of artistic expression and excellence across the nation.

Meet the 2023 Houston Cultural Treasures

Arte Publico Press

Founded in 1979, Arte Público Press is the United States’ premier and most extensive Latino publisher. Each year, APP publishes over twenty-five books for readers of all ages. The press also actively hosts and coordinates literary, educational, and cultural events in schools, museums, universities, and community centers across the nation.

Buffalo Soldiers National

The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum serves as a historical guardian of the journey African American servicepeople from the Revolutionary era to the western frontier and even into space. The museum is a pivotal hub and educational foundation for audiences including young learners, educators, scholars, artists, performers, military veterans and their families, and individuals committed to lifelong learning.

Community Artists’ Collective

Since 1984, the Community Artists’ Collective has diligently pursued a two-fold mission. First the Collective champions the integration of emerging African American artists into the worldwide art market. Second, it is dedicated to increasing the accessibility of arts education for individuals of all ages in the greater Houston area. 

Community Music Center of

Established in 1979 within the hallowed halls of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church by the visionary duo of Ron Scales and Patricia Johnson, initially under the name ‘Society for the Preservation of Spirituals (SPS),’ the Community Music Center of Houston has honed its mission to provide enriching experiences for individuals to immerse themselves in the beauty and cultural significance of Black music traditions. Their diverse  programming encompasses captivating performances, thought-provoking exhibitions, and insightful oral histories.


Houston Museum of African
American Culture

 The Houston Museum of African American Culture is dedicated to the comprehensive collection, preservation, exploration, interpretation, and presentation of the material and intellectual heritage of Africans and African Americans, with a primary focus on the vibrant tapestry of Houston, Texas, the broader southwestern region, and the far-reaching African Diaspora. They serve as a cultural gateway, uniting people to exchange and intertwine narratives that honor and expand the African American legacy.


Indo-American Association

Founded in 1993, the Indo-American Association is amongst the longest-serving organizations in North America focused on preserving Indian performing arts. Its vision is to create a culturally vibrant community by weaving entertainment, education, and creativity through arts and culture of the Indian heritage while collaborating with and supporting other communities of color.


Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts

Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts (MECA) is a community-rooted organization dedicated to nurturing the holistic growth of marginalized and underserved families. They offer a diverse range of arts and cultural initiatives, fostering academic excellence, providing essential support services, and actively engaging in community building efforts.


Nia Cultural Center

The Nia Cultural Center is dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of the rich historical tapestry of Galveston’s African American communities. Since 1996,Nia has shepherded much of Galveston’s Black history and culture with public events, Summer Freedom School, Juneteenth events, living history plays, art exhibits, concerts, workshops, and public forums.


Nuestra Palabra

Nuestra Palabra was founded in 1998 by Tony Diaz, as Houston’s first reading series for Latino writers to share their work in English, Spanish, and Spanglish. Today, beyond organizing programs, Nuestra Palabra is a national leader in cultivating Community Cultural Capital through Latino literary arts and culture.

SHAPE Community Center

SHAPE aims to enhance the quality of life for people of African descent, extending its benefits to all individuals. Their focus is rooted in the principles of Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work & Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith, aiming to foster a more enriched and harmonious existence for everyone.


Silambam Houston

Silambam stands as the foremost Indian classical arts organization in Houston, dedicated to fostering a deeper appreciation and comprehension of India’s rich artistic traditions, transcending cultural boundaries.


BANF Houston Cultural Treasures Announcement

Houston Cultural Treasures are organizations whose mission and leadership are:

  • Committed to strengthening the Greater Houston BIPOC arts ecosystem
  • BIPOC Founded 501c3 organizations incorporated before 2008 and have a history of the creation, presentation, and production of BIPOC arts and culture.
  • Committed to network-building through participation in a two-year learning cohort
  • Aligned with BANF’s cohort model values: openness to transformational opportunities; process-based experimentation; collaboration; and shared learning.

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