Oct 21, 2022 - Things to Do

A tour of the new sustainability murals in downtown

Data: Houston Downtown Management District; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

New murals are exciting, so Axios Houston is featuring all the new "Big Art. Bigger Change." project's new sustainability-inspired murals in downtown.

Why it matters: Houston is trying to be more resilient against climate change, and this artwork is one way to draw more attention to the issue and spark more conversations about it.

  • Plus: Art adds color and life to otherwise dull spaces.
Photo of a mural showing human-like animals.
The new mural on the Cotton Exchange Building at 202 Travis St. Photo: Shafaq Patel/Axios

"Sharing the World," by Houston artist Ana Marietta, portrays animals with human features to represent a fantastical world where we all live harmoniously and help each other thrive.

What they're saying: "We come from different backgrounds but with the same purpose, to rise and grow individually and as a community," Marietta said in a statement.

Details: The mural on the Cotton Exchange Building was inspired by the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 17 of revitalizing global partnerships for sustainable development.

Photo of a falcon mural
The falcon mural on the Hilton Americas Hotel at 1600 Lamar St. Photo: Shafaq Patel/Axios

The disappearing falcon depicted in South African artist Sonny Sundancer's mural draws attention to how the northern aplomado falcon in South Texas has been endangered since the 1980s.

What they're saying: Sundancer tells Axios that he wants to raise awareness of climate change by highlighting the direct impact on endangered animals, which is largely caused by human actions.

The bike mural on the side of the Scanlan building at 405 Main St. Photo: Shafaq Patel/Axios
The bike mural on the side of the Scanlan building at 405 Main St. Photo: Shafaq Patel/Axios

"Social Equity," by German artist Case Maclaim, was inspired by a young boy named Houston riding his bike.

Details: The mural, focused on the United Nations' goal of reducing inequalities, aims to highlight what can be achieved when race, disability and gender identity do not predict the outcome of or limit people's choices.

Between the lines: The bike is a symbol of affordable access to mobility and freedom to discover the city, according to Street Art for Mankind, the organization that curated the walkable mural collection.

Photo a mural of a girl on a horse.
New mural on the Sam Houston Hotel at 1117 Prairie St. Photo: Shafaq Patel/Axios

The freedom horse mural by Copenhagen-based artist Victor Ash is inspired by human rights issues.

Details: The mural on the Sam Houston Hotel is meant to raise awareness about trafficking of children, according to the artist.

Photo of a mural with two human figures and nature.
The mural on the Four Seasons Hotel at 1115 Austin St. Photo: Shafaq Patel/Axios

"Loving Houston," by Houston artist Emily Ding, depicts two human figures, with one filled in with iconic Houston landscape features like bayous, bluebonnets, a mockingbird and an oak tree.

Details: The mural on the Four Seasons Hotel was inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development goal of protecting and restoring life on land.

Photo of a mural of a Latina scientist.
The mural on the Republic Building at 1018 Preston St. Photo: Shafaq Patel/Axios

"La Shamana," by Spanish artist Lula Goce, depicts a Latina scientist on the Republic Building.

What they're saying: Goce said the mural is a tribute to the women throughout history who have used their knowledge of nature for medicinal uses.

  • She said in an Instagram post that healers and spirit guides laid the foundation for modern medicine and science.

Details: "La Shamana" highlights Houston's medical and innovation sectors as the city, with its innovation hub near Midtown, is trying to become an established center for startups, particularly in life sciences and biotech.

Photo of a 3d mural with animals
The animals in the mural at the corner of Fannin and Dallas streets look 3D. Photo: Shafaq Patel/Axios

"Hope for a Greener Future," by Mexican artist Carlos Alberto GH, is inspired by Houston's efforts toward clean energy.

Details: Alberto GH painted iconic Houston animals, like the endangered Houston toad, along with figures for renewable energy to show how symbiotic humans could be with nature.

  • From the corner of Fannin and Dallas streets, the figures look 3D — a technique Alberto GH worked on when he lived in the Mexican jungle and studied nature for four years.

What they're saying: "When we have clean energy like solar, wind, we are working with the earth," Alberto GH tells Axios.

Photo of someone painting a mural of a girls face.
Mural by Cristian Blanxer and Bimbo Adenugba. Photo: @superkant

Artists Cristian Blanxer and Bimbo Adenugba are still completing their mural at 406 Caroline St.

What's next: Street Art for Mankind will be back in November with one more mural to complete its promised nine murals in downtown — but it may do more.

  • The last mural will be on the Franklin Garage and will center on education.
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