In the past two weeks, employees of the Houston Grand Opera have pivoted their focus to creating over 3000 face masks to help local healthcare workers stay safe. The Wortham Center like many Downtown Houston businesses have shut down to the public but there is plenty of work taking place as the healthcare workers at St. Joseph’s Medical Center have received donated facemasks created by the Houston Grand Opera costume shop designers.
Houston Grand Opera Managing Director Perryn Leech explained, “It’s a fantastic group effort of people who have skills who just want to help. I’m so honored and proud of our costume shop.”
Leech went on to say, “The arts is a huge business for Houston. You know 17,000 employees. If you don’t think the arts are important, then you shouldn’t be watching Netflix, you shouldn’t be watching HBO.”
Perhaps inspired by the Houston Grand Opera’s efforts and designers all over the world, additional local performing arts companies, like the Alley Theatre and Theatre Under the Stars, have joined in on putting their sewing skills to good use.
Leech said finally, “Houstonians proved it after Harvey and they’re proving it again and again. We look out for each other. If it’s mine, it’s yours. We’re going to help you, we’re going to help bring each other back up.”
Head of Costumes for the Houston Grand Opera, Norma Cortez who has been with the organization for 20 years, was featured on LIVE Kelly and Ryan during their ‘Helping Heroes’ segment. Cortez explained, “We felt that we needed to help somehow and we have the skills so we were wanting to do something for our community and the HGO was able to give us materials and fabric to make this happen.”
She went on to say that, “Twelve people from our costume shop [are] doing this. They’re volunteering their labor and they are happy to be able to help somehow.”
Materials are beginning to run scarce especially elastic but Cortez said that they are able to “get it little by little.”
In collaboration with Methodist Hospital, stage manager Meg Edwards helps distribute the masks to St. Josephs and the Women’s Center.
If you would like more information or want to offer your services visit: https://www.houstongrandopera.org/