When Rice Management Company—a Greentown Houston Founding Partner and developer of Ion District—presented the idea of installing a mural on the east exterior wall of Greentown Houston, the Greentown team was excited. We saw it as an amazing opportunity to embrace Houston’s deep connection to the arts while sparking interest in climatetech and climate action for neighbors and passersby. Saying yes to a mural was easy; selecting just one artist from the slate of talented applicants was the hard part.
The amazing Piper Faust Public Art led a public call for applicants that yielded several incredible submissions. Each submission had its own interesting take on climate action, and though it was a difficult selection process, we ultimately could not say no to the inimitable and impassioned pitch from artist and educator Hannah Bull.
“We were smitten with Hannah’s vibrant design and message,” says Marsha Dorsey-Outlaw, a member of the Ion Art Advisory Council who sat on the mural decision committee. “It will adorn the landscape of historic Third Ward for years with an indelible and enthusiastic commitment of inclusion, and our community anxiously welcomes a relationship that arms our students, residents, and visitors with tools, as we learn and act to arrest climate change together.”
Hannah’s vision for the mural was a narrative that would illustrate the urgency and benefits of climatetech. Hannah explains: “The timeline starts on the left with the initial problem of climate change, with a planted ‘green’ idea seed for climate change resolution, which proliferates ‘collaboration,’ symbolized by the honeycomb. The honeycomb ‘collaboration’ flows into the ‘floral drip’ fruition of solutions that materialize into a lab tech workspace for creation of tools and machine vessels to aid in climatetech solutions. From the lab tech workspace comes the climatetech inventions, such as electric bikes, battery storage, electric cars, and hydropower. This further leads into a beautiful green cityscape of efficient recycling, wind power, solar power, and more, making Houston a clean, green, solutions-oriented, and earth-conscious city.”
Hannah was drawn to the project due to her own interest in combating climate change. “I have been doing years of research on rewilding, trying to imagine what that would look like on a grand scale and how one could apply that in a cityscape,” she says. “As an artist, I create a lot of work that speaks to climate change and environmentalism, but I want to take a huge leap forward and make functional art that physically fights climate change.”
Hannah spent three weeks working day and night to complete the mural. Greentown and Rice Management Company are delighted with the final product.
“Ion District continues to bring creative minds together to push the boundaries of innovation,” says Bryson Grover, Investment Manager, Real Estate Development, Rice Management Company. “The unveiling of this mural at Greentown Labs will reflect an Ion District goal of incorporating art in many forms to stimulate creative thinking and bold action; two key ingredients for innovation.”
Hannah would love to see the mural inspire Houstonians to get more involved in the fight against climate change. “I hope they are inspired to make tiny adjustments or even big adjustments in their lives to fight climate change and promote sustainability,” she says. “There are many small and large solutions such as starting a garden, carpooling, riding your bike, purchasing thrifted or sustainable clothing, eating less meat, living in an Earthship, making art from trash, and so many other things. My big hope is that we come together as a community and turn sustainability practices into community events and parties. Why not make saving the planet fun and sustainable?”
“We now hope that when people pass Greentown Labs and see the mural, titled “Powering the Future Through Climatetech,” they get a sense of who we are and what our mission represents,” says Juliana Garaizar, Greentown Houston’s Head of Incubator and VP of Innovation.
We hope you will swing by Greentown to see Hannah’s mural up close and personal. Until then, you can watch the installation process below:
A massive thank you to Rice Management Company, Hannah Bull, the Ion District, the Ion Art Advisory Council, Piper Faust, musical artist Bee Honey, and videographer Lee Bond for their time and commitment to beautifying the innovation district through art.
About Rice Management Company
Rice Management Company (RMC) is responsible for the stewardship of Rice University’s endowment. The endowment plays a vital role for Rice. The distributions generated provide approximately 40% of the University’s operating revenues, which makes it the single largest revenue source to the operating budget. The RMC team brings decades of investment management expertise across diversified industries and financial specialties. Through disciplined research and due diligence, we assess and pursue investment strategies that are aligned with the long-term risk/reward profile of the endowment. For more information, please visit investments.rice.edu
About Ion District
The Ion District is an intentionally accessible, walkable and integrated urban community. It spans 12 city blocks (16 acres) in Houston’s Midtown, where people, ideas, and businesses thrive. Initiated by Rice University, the Ion District energizes a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive future. At actively programmed events and spontaneous everyday moments, the Ion District invites residents, startups, corporate, academic, and civic leaders to unite, explore, and create opportunity together. For more information, visit https://iondistrict.com.
About Greentown Labs
Greentown Labs is a community of climate action pioneers working to design a more sustainable world. As the largest climatetech startup incubator in North America, Greentown Labs brings together startups, corporates, investors, policymakers, and many others with a focus on scaling climate solutions. Driven by the mission of providing startups the resources, knowledge, connections, and equipment they need to thrive, Greentown Labs offers lab space, shared office space, a machine shop, an electronics lab, software and business resources, and a large network of corporate customers, investors, and more. With its headquarters in Somerville, Mass. and a recently opened incubator in Houston, TX, Greentown Labs is home to more than 200 startups and has supported more than 450 startups since the incubator’s founding in 2011. These startups have collectively created more than 8,400 jobs and have raised more than $2.2 billion in funding. For more information, please visit www.greentownlabs.com or Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.