The Show must go on 6 Photos that show the revival of Houston’s art scene after Hurricane Harvey

Story by Heather Brand / Photographs by Eric W. Pohl

Harvey struck when Houston’s world-class arts scene was gearing up for a new season, devastating venues and upending plans. But creativity and courage go hand in hand: “This city came together in a way I’ve never seen,” says Eileen J. Morris, artistic director of the Ensemble Theatre.

Jennie Ash

The executive director of Art League Houston was scrambling as rain streamed through the ceilings and pooled on the gallery floor: The annual Texas Artist of the Year exhibition, honoring contemporary artist Trenton Doyle Hancock, was a week away. To Ash’s relief, she found a new home for the show at Rice University’s Moody Center for the Arts. “It’s times like these that bring out the best in people,” she says.

The Houston Symphony

Displaced by flood damage for seven weeks, the orchestra relocated to Rice University’s Stude Concert Hall, where it performed six concerts for free to the public. More than two dozen of the symphony’s musicians, some with damaged homes of their own, also brought their instruments to perform at area shelters.


615 Louisiana St., Houston



Upcoming Events

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: June 15–17

Classical Mystery Tour: A Tribute to the Beatles: July 6

The Ensemble Theatre

A quick-acting maintenance worker and his mop were enough to minimize damage from water seeping into a seating area and dressing rooms. With a professional cleaning, the theater made its season debut with a complimentary performance of Sassy Mamas, just one week behind schedule.

3535 Main St., Houston



Upcoming Events

Sistas the Musical: June 28–July 29

art league houston

Less than three months after Hurricane Harvey, the Art League held its first exhibition under a newly repaired roof. One of Houston’s oldest nonprofit art organizations, it is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and continues to serve as an incubator and showcase for the city’s artists.

1953 Montrose Blvd., Houston



Upcoming Events

COMPLEX 3 by Austin artist Seth Orion Schwaiger and works by Delita Martin and Luisa Duarte (June 8–July 21).

james black

“Watching the entire city come to a standstill was heartbreaking,” says the interim artistic director of the Alley Theatre, which sustained $22.8 million in damage. Staff members still found time to entertain children displaced by the storm: “They knew they had to jump in and help. It’s the empathy of artists—it’s the core of who we all are—to help and serve others.”


615 Texas Ave., Houston.



Upcoming Events

The Cake: June 1–July 1

Holmes and Watson: June 22–July 22

eiLEEn j. morris

“People wanted us to keep going,” says the artistic director of the Ensemble Theatre, whose company actors gave variety-show performances and an impromptu staging of Brer Rabbit for storm survivors who’d found shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center. “It was an opportunity for art to have an impact and change lives,” Morris says.


Eric W. Pohl

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