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living mural creativity + innovation lab

a green mountain energy sun club sustainability project


With transformational support from the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club, Young Audiences of Houston will begin construction and programming at Young Women's College Preparatory Academy in Houston's Third Ward community on the organization's first Living Mural Creativity + Innovation Lab. This innovative project through our Arts + Environment initiative will provide YWCPA students with a year-long hands-on project focused on sustainable development, environmental stewardship, and community-building through the arts. 

The Living Mural Creativity + Innovation Lab includes:


  • An outdoor classroom outfitted with solar panels to power lights and outlets

  • Upcycling storage for recycled art materials

  • Compost system and worm farm 

  • Rainwater recycling to irrigate plant beds

  • Internal raised-bed gardens for plants that can be transformed into arts materials (plant-based dyes, pigments, natural textiles, etc.)

  • External raised-bed gardens for cultivating organic produce and native plant species

Over the next decade, the Living Mural Creativity & Innovation Lab will:

  • Reduce single-occupancy vehicle usage by 1,000 hours for the purpose of obtaining arts supplies

  • Save $150,000 in material costs for future YAH programs

  • Save $15,000 in facility rental costs by providing a new gathering space in the community

  • Impact more than 10,000 Houstonians through engaging programming, healthy produce, and sustainability initiatives

Over the course of 2021-2022 school year, YWCPA students will work with educators, local contractors, and Young Audiences of Houston Teaching Artist and Master Gardener Danny Russo to design, construct, and plant the Living Mural Creativity & Innovation Lab on the YWCPA campus. We will provide regular updates on the project on this page, as well as on our social media channels, email newsletter, and local news outlets. We look forward to breaking ground on the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club Living Mural Creativity & Innovation Lab in the fall, and hope you'll follow along with this exciting new project! 


Site for the Living Mural Creativity & Innovation Lab at Young Women's College Preparatory Academy

About Green Mountain Energy Sun Club:

Since 2002, we’ve been empowering local communities with sustainability solutions. Through nonprofit partnerships and sustainability grants, we’ve delivered projects promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency, resource conservation and environmental stewardship. The mission of Sun Club is to invest in nonprofits to advance sustainability for people and for the planet.

Living Mural Testimonials:


“We so appreciate the initiative that Danny Russo took on our campus - the time he took to get things working so and the leadership role he took with the kids. I think that while the kids may have gotten a little tired at the end, they have had an amazing experience and their knowledge has really grown. I’d love to talk with you as the project wraps up to see how we might embark on such a project in the future.” – Amy Medefesser, Art Teacher at Furr High


“This was a wonderful project and energized our students, teachers, and parent community. Seeing everyone working in the Rucker garden, to bring it life, was magical. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Danny (Russo) and Young Audiences to bring this multi-disciplinary experience to our school. We hope to continue this type of program and hope others get to experience it as well.” – Bernadette Blanco, Principal at Rucker Elementary 

“The program was very educational and diverse for the students that normally would not have an interest in gardening. The students really looked forward to Mr. Russo coming every day. The staff on campus actually started looking for the next thing that he was going to bring and help the students plant. The fact that the artist was very well prepared and patient with the scholars was very key in this project.” – Danesa Samuels, Wraparound Specialist at Barrick Elementary

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