The Houston Arts Foundation (HAF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was organized in 1965 as the Houston Municipal Art Foundation, closely allied with the Houston Municipal Art Commission (MAC). The MAC was created under an ordinance by Houston Mayor Louie Welch to review art commissioned by or donated to the city of Houston. The MAC was comprised of volunteer mayoral appointees who met monthly.
In 1993, the City and the Houston Municipal Art Commission began conserving Houston’s public art. The Municipal Art Foundation held the funds received from private-sector donations, from City grants, from the MAC’s Adopt-A-Monument program, and from the required 10% contribution by private donors to the City’s art collection for conservation and maintenance of the donated piece. Those funds were historically used to augment various grants and Civic Art Program funds to maintain and conserve City-owned public art.
When a 2006 City ordinance disbanded the Municipal Art Commission, the Foundation was reorganized into the Houston Arts Foundation, with the continuing goal of preserving Houston’s public artworks. Former MAC board members made up the board of the reorganized foundation. The current Board of Directors for 2018 consists of eight board members, four Emeritus board members, and four Ex-Officio board members.
Historical information for the Houston Municipal Art Commission, the Municipal Art Conservation Office (MACO), the Houston Municipal Art Foundation, and the Houston Arts Foundation is archived at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center in the Julia Ideson Building of the Houston Public Library.