September 27, 2023 -- This week, the City of Houston continues its work to raise awareness of our air quality with the Houston Inspira public health campaign’s billboard installations encouraging Houstonians to “Breathe Better to Live Better”. The Houston Inspira webpage provides an opportunity to receive air quality alerts and experience the works of the five Storytellers of the campaign.
In February 2022, Mayor Sylvester Turner and environmental justice representatives kicked off the Houston Inspira/Houston Inspires public health campaign to engage environmental organizations, artists, and storytellers to inspire awareness and action to improve health and safety outcomes.
“Arts in the education, engagement, and advocacy space is powerful,” stated Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Houston Inspira has raised awareness in communities, contributed to legislative change, and added to each Storyteller’s practice. The billboards as well as the Storytellers’ works are encouraging action in Houston’s top four languages spoken.”
In the City of Houston, life expectancy can vary by more than 20 years between zip codes. COVID-19 has only reinforced the disproportionate negative impact on the most vulnerable populations.
The project focused on the risk communities face from elevated levels of environmental pollutants, primarily PM2.5 (strongly associated with concrete batch plants) and benzene—both of which can increase and exacerbate the health risks associated with COVID-19. The selected Storytellers worked to improve lives with the City of Houston, and environmental and community stakeholders over a six-month period in five selected Complete Communities.
The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and Government Relations are leading this work with the Office of Complete Communities, Resilience and Sustainability and the Houston Health Department. The City of Houston is also working with environmental partners such as Air Alliance Houston, Citizens Environmental Coalition, Environmental Defense Fund, and Houston Wilderness. Pulitzer Prize recipient and political cartoonist Nick Anderson created four new works that were used throughout the campaign.
See the list of communities, Storytellers, and environmental partners below and visit this link to learn more about air quality while experiencing the Storytellers’ works which include a film, original songs, and a comic book in multiple languages.
Acres Homes, Fair Housing Defenders, Communities for Better Health
Alief/Westwood, Alief Art House, Houston Wilderness
Kashmere Gardens, Dria Thorton, Environmental Defense Fund
Near Northside, Walter Hull, Jr., Air Alliance Houston
Second Ward, Kam Franklin, Citizens Environmental Coalition
To experience the work of the Storytellers, receive air quality alerts, and more information on the Houston Inspira* campaign.
*The City of Houston received financial support from the EPA under an Assistance Agreement.
About the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs
The City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs guides the City’s cultural investments with policies and initiatives that expand access to arts and cultural programs in the community, attract visitors and leverage private investment. Learn more at www.houstontx.gov/culturalaffairs and follow us on Facebook & Instagram @HoustonMOCA and on Twitter @Houston_moca.