Why Painted Rain Barrels?

Here on the North Coast of the U.S. in Cleveland, Ohio, a block away from Lake Erie is one of the largest freshwater sources in the world. Visible from Space, people.

Surface rainwater takes lawn chemicals and dog poop combined with storm water runoff into sewers, and overflow into the Lake. This slurry, along with excess industrial farm fertilizer, are causing toxic algae blooms, dead zones, and endangering the health of our Lake.

Rain Barrels help keep surface water onsite at home, OUT of the sewer!

Rain Barrels are practical but NOT pretty. In fact they are: Quite Gnarly.

Even the blue ones.

I want them to be Beautiful and COOL to OWN and USE. In 2011 I received a free rain barrel from the our Mayor’s Youth Opportunities Unlimited program, and was taken by surprise when it began showing big black patches of algae through the translucent white walls, quickly becoming an eyesore.

As an artist, I tackled the problem as I would any other: I sanded, primed and painted the barrel, while it was in use & too heavy to move, then brushed on multiple coats of an outdoor friendly acrylic boat sealant. I painted all the surfaces I could reach without too much rose thorn poking for a pretty successful project!

Neighbors watched my progress and as questions of help for their barrels trickled in, an idea was hatched.

In 2012 I applied for a Community Partnership for Arts and Culture Artist in Residence Grant and I received funding to create a painted rain barrel auction inspired by my pilot barrel. Ten were sent into the Greater CLE community to make lovely in their new homes and do good for our Lake.

I wrote a proposal to create a traveling exhibit for area museums and Metroparks visitors’ centers, and have received partial funding to make it happen!

Our exhibit will expose many thousands of visitors to the Rain Barrel potential for BEAUTY, FREE WATER and that WE ALL can help keep our Lake and Waterways CLEANER!

Keep an eye on this site for more pictures or our lovely barrels!

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