Eco-Arts Incubator

The Diluvial Houston Initiative is proud to announce its inaugural Arts Incubator. Bringing together leading environmental artists and activists from Houston and New Orleans, this program brought nine Gulf Coast artists to meet at Rice and explore, research, and collaborate throughout Houston together. 

Rice students took in workshops with the artists, and they presented a ritual to the land on the Rice campus for the Society of Environmental Journalists annual conference. 

The exceptional artists include: 

Aron Chang is an urban designer and educator based in New Orleans and Bulbancha who focuses on community-based planning and design practices. Aron co-leads the Water Leaders Institute and is a member of the Civic Studiocooperative. He is co-founder of Ripple Effect and the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans. From 2011 to 2017, Aron worked as an urban designer at Waggonner & Ball, where he was a design team lead for the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan. From 2017 to 2018, he served on the New Orleans Environmental Advisory Committee and on Mayor Elect LaToya Cantrell’s Transition Team.

Lisa D’Amour is a playwright, educator and interdisciplinary collaborator from New Orleans, Louisiana. She came up in a world of ritual, activism, group spectacle and care, all of which continues to thrive in her work.  Her theater company PearlDamour makes interdisciplinary, often site-specific works which range from the intimate to large scale. Recent work includes Ocean Filibuster, a genre-crashing human-ocean showdown premiering at A.R.T. Theater in 2022, MILTON, a performance and community engagement experiment rooted in 5 U.S. towns named Milton, and How to Build a Forest, an 8-hour performance installation created with visual artist Shawn Hall. Lisa's plays have produced by theaters across the country, from Manhattan Theater Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theater on Broadway to beautiful 30-seat black boxes in Oretha Castle Haley in New Orleans. Her play Detroit was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, and she is the recipient of an Alpert Award for the Arts, a Steinberg Playwright Award and a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award.

Shana M. griffin is a Black feminist activist, researcher, sociologist, artist, abolitionist, and mother whose work engages history and memory as sites of resistance, rupture, and protest. Her practice is interdisciplinary, research-based, activist-centered, and decolonial—existing across the fields of sociology, geography, Black feminist thought, digital humanities, and land-use planning and within movements challenging urban displacement, carcerality, reproductive control, climate impacts, and gender-based violence. Shana is a 2021 Creative Capital Awardee, founder of PUNCTUATE, a feminist research, art, and activist initiative foregrounding the embodied aesthetics and practices of Black feminist organizing traditions to address the intersecting forms of everyday violence and subjectivity Black women experience;  and creator of DISPLACED, a multimedia feminist and public history project tracing the geographies of Black displacement, dislocation, and containment through racial slavery and violent formation of New Orleans as a colonial enterprise and carceral landscape.

Lisa E. Harris, Li, is an independent and interdisciplinary artist, filmmaker, creative soprano, performer, composer, improvisor, writer, singer/songwriter, researcher and educator from Houston Texas who makes time, and space, to dream. Her newly released debut solo album, Life and That, is a nine track recollection of original tunes being sung around a Texas campfire, a bluesy round of musical chairs, and a drowsy line dance teetering on the border of dream land. Recent commissions include "Give It a Rest: X Lullabies in Support of Black Rest/Unrest" for the contemporary classical duo Mazumal, and “ A Black Woman Told Me and I Believe Her. A Movement'', commissioned by Harvard University for the 2020 Freshman Seminar under the direction of Professor Claire Chase. She is a current Monroe Research Fellow at Tulane University's Center for the Gulf South where she is developing her environmental justice research project “Onshore Trilling: What to Do When the Earth Sings the Bruise.

Ronald Llewellyn Jones is a Texas based multidisciplinary artist whose artwork explores barriers between creatives and audiences while including conversations regarding individuals and their communities. Jones challenges each individual’s respective perceptions in regards to the availability of access and agency within normative societal structures. Jones' work has been exhibited at Foltz Fine Art, Houston Museum of African American Culture, Art League Houston, Flatland Gallery, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Space HL, Galveston Arts Center, Hardy and Nance Studios, and BOX 13 ArtSpace. He has also led workshops in collaboration with Lemon Grove Public Library, Rosenberg Library, Houston Community College, TxRx, and Awty International School. His work has been documented in Houston Chronicle, Houston Public Media, PaperCity Magazine, CITE, Spectrum South, Hyperallergic, Houstonia, New York Times, BBC News, United Nations, Democracy Now!, FreePressHouston, HoustonPress, and Glasstire. Jones is also represented by Hooks-Epstein Galleries in Houston, Texas.

Ayanna Jolviet McCloud (she/her) is a fourth generation artist and community leader born and based in Houston, Texas. Her creative practice is inspired by a variety of interests including mapping, geography, spatial explorations, the natural environment, and diaspora/memory/loss. Working across disciplines, her art takes on different forms such as land installations, site-specific installations, painting/drawing/photo, and writing. She has participated in exhibitions and residencies throughout the Americas in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America.

Ayanna has led interdisciplinary community initiatives throughout the U.S. connecting arts, culture and the environment; and she frames new ways of imagining and advocating for natural resources and environmental justice. Currently, she is Executive Director of Bayou City Waterkeeper, where she works on wetland protection and urban water management, promotes watershed resiliency efforts that center equity and nature-based solutions, and supports community efforts to improve water quality in greater Houston. Prior to this, Ayanna was Director of Education and Public Programs at Houston Botanic Garden and Founder of labotanica — a creative studio at Project Row Houses, inspired by botánicas.

Ayanna is inspired by poetics/creativity as tools for introspection and collective visioning,

JD Pluecker works with language, that is, a living thing, a thing of life and history. Their undisciplinary work inhabits the intersections of writing, history, translation, art, interpreting, bookmaking, queer/trans aesthetics, non-normative poetics, language justice, and cross-border cultural production. They have translated numerous books from the Spanish, including Gore Capitalism (Semiotext(e), 2018) and Antígona González (Les Figues Press, 2016), and forthcoming Writing with Caca by Luis Felipe Fabre (Green Lantern Press, 2021) and Trash by Sylvia Aguilar Zéleny (Deep Vellum Press, 2022). Their book of poetry and image, Ford Over, was released in 2016 from Noemi Press, and in 2019 Lawndale Art Center supported the publication of the artist book, The Unsettlements: Dad. From 2010-2020, they worked as part of the transdisciplinary collaborative Antena Aire and from 2015-2020 with the local social justice interpreting collective Antena Houston. JD is a recipient of the Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writing Grant and has exhibited work at Blaffer Art Museum, the Hammer Museum, Project Row Houses, and more. More info at and

Kathy Randles was born and raised in New Orleans and founded ArtSpot Productions in 1995.  She has written, performed in, and directed numerous original solo and collaboratively created group works for professional, student and incarcerated ensembles in Louisiana and beyond. She co-founded and co-directs the LCIW Drama Club (1996) and The Graduates (2012). Since 1998, she has directed or collaborated on several performances about climate change in Louisiana including: Lower 9 Stories, Beneath the Strata/Disappearing, Lakeviews: A Sunset Bus Tour, Loup Garou, Go Ye Therefore, Cry You One and is currently working with long-time collaborator A Studio in the Woods and multiple scientists, artists, educators and neighbors on the EASEL Project in New Orleans. She is thrilled to be participating in the Rice Incubator. For more information visit: and

Monique Verdin is an interdisciplinary storyteller who documents the complex relationship between environment, culture, and climate in southeast Louisiana. She is a citizen of the Houma Nation, director of The Land Memory Bank & Seed Exchange and a member of the Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative, working to envision just economies, vibrant communities, and sustainable ecologies. Monique is supporting the Okla Hina Ikhish Hola (People of the Sacred Medicine Trail), a network of indigenous gardeners, as the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network Gulf South food and medicine sovereignty program manager. She is co-producer of the documentary My Louisiana Love and her work has been included in a variety of environmentally inspired projects, including the multiplatform performance Cry You One and the collaborative book Return to Yakni Chitto: Houma Migrations