Houston Young People for the Arts is raising awareness of the vibrant Houston arts scene and hopes to cultivate a richer understanding of the arts in a city that is proud of its diversity.
HYPA is a committee of the Houston Downtown Alliance that focuses on finding ways to make the arts more accessible to Houstonians.
“HYPA really has been a journey for me,” co-founder Heather Pray said. “I started it when I knew nothing about the Houston arts scene and very little about art, for that matter.”
Pray and her friend Kathleen Galvan formed HYPA in 2005 after graduating from the University of Texas and moving back to Houston.
“We noticed that our friends were going to the bars instead of the theater,” Pray said, “and that would not bode well for the future of the arts scene.”
HYPA’s first event took two days to put together and Pray hosted it at her parents’ house. The evening consisted of friends, snacks, wine and a promotional video about a dance company; all for a suggested donation of $5.
“We survived that night, and decided it was something we wanted to continue to do,” Pray said.
And so they did.
Since that night, HYPA has worked with a number of organizations to put on events such as Culture Collision, the Dec. Culinary Arts Event and the organization’s annual party.
This year’s party, “I Dream of Maharani”, was held on Feb. 6 and spotlighted artists from Houston’s Indian community.
“We create events for all levels of art lovers,” Pray said.
HYPA sends out a newsletter twice a week highlighting upcoming events that are inexpensive or unique to Houston.
“I would like HYPA to ultimately be a reputable source for young art patrons,” Pray said. “We have also started supporting community outreach programs that reach Houston school children.”
Pray said HYPA is continuing to grow and solidify its legacy in Houston.
“I cannot express the importance of supporting those that support us, and they have been amazing partners,” Pray said. “I think any art experience is a good experience. I just want to see Houston keep creating.”