Big Art. Bigger Change. premiered this past weekend in downtown Houston. Curated by Street Art for Mankind (SAM), a nonprofit that funds large mural projects in an attempt to encourage social change, the exhibit includes works by nine artists at different locations around the city center. Three local artists — Emily Ding, Ana Marietta, and Bimbo Adenugba — are featured alongside an international cohort that includes Belin (Spain), Case MaClaim (Germany), Lula Goce (Spain), Cristian Blanxer (Spain), Sonny Sundancer (South Africa), Victor Ash (France), and Carlos Alberto GH (Mexico). Last year, Ding was selected to create a mural on the facade of Artspace111 in Fort Worth.
The project is the result of a collaborative effort between the Houston Downtown Management District, SAM, and Central Houston Inc. The entire exhibit is contained within a mile stretch of the city that runs east from Sundancer’s mural on the Hilton Americas Hotel at 1600 Lamar to Belin’s piece on the Franklin Garage at 805 Franklin. According to a report from Axios, the murals are expected to be up for at least one year. The report from Axios also includes a map of the exhibit.
Meanwhile, self-guided walking tours are available via a free app, called Behind the Wall, which was developed by SAM. The app can be downloaded from the Houston Downtown Management District website. QR codes at each mural site also link to Behind the Wall.
Sustainability is the prevailing theme of Big Art. Bigger Change. Artists were asked to respond to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals put forth by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Those goals include the elimination of poverty, the facilitation of quality education, gender equality, clean water, and zero hunger. As reported in multiple outlets, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis conceived of the exhibition after being moved by Dragon76’s mural on Crawford Street, which was another SAM initiative, part of World Food Program USA’s Zero Hunger Campaign.
In a post to his Instagram, project artist Victor Ash said his “charity mural” was “specially made to raise awareness about trafficking of children.” According to their mission statement, child labor and trafficking is a primary and original concern of SAM. For more information, about the project, visit downtownhouston.org.