From stimulating sculptures to contemporary drawings, Houston’s eclectic art scene is an ever-growing visual diary of life in the Bayou City. This month, two new exciting murals have graced the downtown area, transforming flat surfaces into prolific kaleidoscopes of color.
There’s no denying that Covid-19’s dreary presence paired with February’s historic winter freeze amplified Houston’s food insecurity problem. Though organizations and institutions across the city have rallied together to assist those in need in the last year, this dilemma has plagued Houston’s growing community for years.
New York-based street artist Dragon76 chose this as his theme for Zero Hunger, a new five-story mural that was unveiled on the side of Hampton Inn Downtown, earlier this month. With a gorgeous earthy palette and messages of “Food Justice” and “Hope,” Dragon76 has brought calls to action to life across an urban canvas of 13,000 square feet.
Curated by Street Art for Mankind (SAM), this six-mural series dedicated to combating the country’s rising hunger crisis is a continuation of the 2020 “Zero Hunger” mural created in the Big Apple to commemorate the United Nation’s 75th anniversary. In addition to Houston, SAM partnered with the World Food Program USA and Kellogg Company to install this message on buildings in New Orleans; Oakland, California; Washington D.C.; Detroit; and Battle Creek, Michigan.
“It creates a huge statement to support the work of the UN @worldfoodprogramme, advocate for the 169 million people who face food insecurity around the world and remind people that hunger also exists in the United States, especially among the African American communities,” the organization said in an Instagram post.
San Francisco-based artist and Ink Dwell studio co-founder Jane Kim is no stranger to exploring the wonders of nature with a single brush stroke, and her new nod to Houston's birdlife is a splendid example of her craft.
Aptly titled Confluence, Kim’s 223-foot-long mural will span the wall along the Bayou Greenway trail at the convergence of White Oak and Buffalo bayous. The design highlights the 12-month cycle of Houston’s migratory birds. Six species in both their spring breeding and non-breeding plumage are represented in the center of the mural, flanked by three additional avian species that winter in Houston to the right and three more that arrive with the spring to the left. A map of Houston’s bayous serves as the backdrop to bring movement and energy to the work.
“The bayous define our city, bringing wildlife and nature to our own backyards,” Beth White, president and CEO of the Houston Parks Board, said in a release. “We hope that this mural will be a focal point for trail users and encourage Houstonians to learn more about the waterways that make Houston unique.”
This intriguing ode to the city’s migratory birdlife, which should delight trail bikers and hikers as well as students from the nearby University of Houston-Downtown campus, is expected to take four to six weeks to complete.