Students from Mason Early Childhood Center, Western Row Elementary and Mason Intermediate School were selected to paint rain barrels as part of the fourth annual Rain Barrel Art Project, an initiative designed to educate the community about water conservation and pollution caused by storm water runoff. The classrooms of MECC art teacher Sarah Varda, Western Row art teachers Kerry Kronenberger and Michelle Sodano, and Mason Intermediate art teachers Shara Kreissl and Amy Pierce painted the rain barrels.
"The kindergarten theme was primary colors and inspired by artist Piet Mondrian," said Varda. "I sanded the rain barrel and drew the design, but the students primed and painted it. Students learned about artist Mondrian earlier in the school year, so this was a great reminder and reinforcement of those concepts, as well as a lesson on working together as a team/community."
The district's second grade rain barrel artwork was based on Henri Rousseau, while Western Row third graders used a collaborative art concept called "Circle Paintings."
"The name of the fifth grade rain barrel is "Ladybugs Galore," which is inspired by the art of Cincinnati artist Charley Harper," shared Pierce. "We studied his style of minimalism and each student designed ladybugs for their art project. Twenty-five students' bug designs were chosen for the project and they painted the bug design on the barrel."
The Rain Barrel Art Project is a joint effort of SaveLocalWaters.org and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. As part of this initiative, students and other community members throughout the Ohio River Valley submitted artistic designs to beautify otherwise dull rain barrels. Fifty of those designs were selected, and the submitting artists now are painting them on rain barrels that will be displayed at the Cincinnati Zoo’s Go Green Garden through April and auctioned off during the Rain Barrel Art Benefit Auction on April 21.
“Rain barrels are a great tool for conserving water and saving money, but some people are reluctant to use them because of their usually plain, unappealing appearance,” said John Nelson, a representative of SaveLocalWaters.org and a public relations specialist. “We believe that turning rain barrels into beautiful works of art will make them more desirable, so we’re pleased to collaborate on this event to raise awareness and encourage the use of rain barrels throughout the region.”
The painted rain barrels will be auctioned off on April 28, 2016
, during the zoo’s Party for the Planet event, with proceeds benefiting conservation education in the Ohio River Valley. “The zoo is thrilled to be hosting the rain barrel event once again. As the ‘Greenest Zoo in America,’ we are always looking for ways to inspire our community to take action that can impact the environment in positive ways,” said Sophia Cifuentes, the zoo’s sustainability coordinator.
SaveLocalWaters.org is the creation of the Regional Storm Water Collaborative of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky, an organization focused on sharing resources to better leverage mass media and raise awareness concerning water quality issues in the Ohio River Valley. The collaborative is composed of storm water districts, municipalities, and soil and water conservation districts in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. Together, we can keep our waterways clean and healthy.