Newly formed Houston Music Foundation offers relief to out-of-work musicians

Live music acts such as Houston-based band The Tontons have been wiped off venue schedules amid the coronavirus outbreak. Local musicians are now eligible to apply for monetary support from the newly formed Houston Music Foundation. (Courtesy Mark C. Austin)
Live music acts such as Houston-based band The Tontons have been wiped off venue schedules amid the coronavirus outbreak. Local musicians are now eligible to apply for monetary support from the newly formed Houston Music Foundation. (Courtesy Mark C. Austin)

Live music acts such as Houston-based band The Tontons have been wiped off venue schedules amid the coronavirus outbreak. Local musicians are now eligible to apply for monetary support from the newly formed Houston Music Foundation. (Courtesy Mark C. Austin)

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Husband and wife Mark C. Austin and Rachel Austin formed the Houston Music Foundation to help artists survive the collapse of local live music opportunities. (Courtesy Pooneh Ghana)
Musicians in Harris County who have lost work because of the coronavirus outbreak have a new venue for support: the Houston Music Foundation.

Created by talent buyer Mark C. Austin and his wife, Rachel Austin, the foundation is partnering with the nonprofit Artists for Artists and could start issuing grants as early as this week, according to a news release. The fund has an initial goal to raise $500,000 from the community, enabling it to support as many as 1,000 artists.

“Watching the pandemic unfold – we both felt helpless," Mark C. Austin said in the release. "The music industry is very close. We’re family, and we want to do what family does – take care of each other.”





To be eligible, applicants must reside in Harris County, be 18 or older, and have experienced a loss of work from the outbreak. If selected, musicians will be able to receive a one-time $500 grant.

Donations are being accepted through Artists 4 Artists at www.artists4artists.org/musician-fund.

As of April 7, the first day of the fund, $7,000 had been raised.


The foundation has plans to expand to include other gig workers, creatives and performance venue staff while also adding nearby counties of residence.

Musicians and other gig workers are also eligible for unemployment assistance under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Recovery Act.
By Matt Dulin
Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.


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