Local artists are invited to participate in the third annual Artistic Rain Barrel program. This year's project is sponsored by the Lincoln Children's Zoo and the Watershed Management Division of the City Public Works and Utilities Department. Applications are due February 11, and 25 artists will be chosen to paint rain barrels for city-wide display this spring and a public auction in May.
Rain barrels are above-ground containers modified to receive, store and distribute rooftop runoff for non-drinking uses. The first two programs raised more than $12,450 for the Friends of Pioneers Park Nature Center for scholarships. The 2011 proceeds will help fund the Zoo's environmental education programs.
"Anyone is welcome to transform a dull 55-gallon food grade barrel into a work of art that inspires and connects the Lincoln community," said Ellen Wright, Environmental Health Educator in Watershed Management. "The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that stormwater runoff accounts for 70 percent of the pollutants in our lakes, rivers and creeks, and rain barrels are simple pollution solutions. This project is a fun way to educate the public about the importance of managing stormwater runoff and raise funds for a great cause."
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality says 46 percent of our local streams are impaired by polluted stormwater. In addition to using rain barrels, residents can help reduce polluted runoff by installing rain gardens, using lake-friendly fertilizers and removing pet waste.
Applications, which include a short summary of the intended design, are available on the City website, lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: rain barrel), and at the City Watershed Management office, 901 N. 6th St. The chosen artists will be notified by February 11, and they will have until April 1 to paint and return the barrels. Barrels will be on display from April 4th to May 6th at Lincoln City Libraries and local businesses. A week-long display of all the barrels at the Lincoln Children's Zoo will culminate in a public auction from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 19. Photos of the barrels and more information will be posted on the City website.
For more information, contact Ellen Wright of Watershed Management at 441-7075 or firstname.lastname@example.org.