For the past two years, the arts groups of Conroe have received grants through the hotel occupancy tax fund. However, officials with arts groups said they now feel the state laws surrounding the use of the hotel tax are too restrictive for their use.

Several arts representatives asked City Council at the Sept. 24 meeting to approve the establishment of a program that would use general funds for grants for art organizations. Shannon Overby, the director of Visit Conroe, said arts organizations had to prove they used a certain number of hotel and motel beds to qualify for the funds, which was difficult to meet.

“Seldom were there big enough audiences to pull for the regular season to utilize those hotel/motel spaces,” she said.

Under the new plan, which was approved by council, the program will use $125,000 from the city’s general fund. A review committee of five members will review the applications and submit recommendations to council for final approval of grant awards in late October, officials said.

Council Member Raymond McDonald expressed his support for the arts, noting that they are among the "finest things our city has to offer."

The city is home to the Greater Conroe Arts Alliance, a nonprofit organization that promotes the arts and cultural organizations and events throughout the area. In the early months of the pandemic, the arts organizations took a big hit, shuttering shows and closing down storefronts.