Calling All Artists!

The Regional Stormwater Collaborative and the Cincinnati Zoo have teamed up for one exciting event – “Saving Rain for a Sunny Day” – an Ohio River Valley rain barrel painting event. Both the Regional Stormwater Collaborative and the Cincinnati Zoo are dedicated to reducing the amount of stormwater runoff that occurs in our cities, and to conserving as much water as we can. One easy way any homeowner can join us in saving water is through the use of rain barrels. Rain barrels are an easy attachment to your gutter and downspout. Using a rain barrel can save more than 1,000 gallons of water over a single summer. Collecting rain water in a barrel cuts down on the amount of rain that washes into streams, rivers, and sewers. By doing so, it prevents flooding, erosion, and pollution. The water captured in your barrel can be used to water lawns and gardens, reducing overall water consumption. It is an inexpensive and low maintenance way to conserve water and recue rain water runoff.

Rain barrels continue to grow in popularity across the country; however, one drawback can be their dull appearance. Some people are less likely to use them given their negative aesthetic impact to residential and commercial landscaping, even though they conserve water and save money. It is our hope that producing beautiful artistic rain barrels will make them more desirable and naturally increase interest to promote their usage.

Painted Rain Barrel by Sandra Federman

The Rain Barrel Painting Event has two parts – the first is a contest and call to artists to paint a rain barrel to inspire water conservation. Artists are asked to fill out an application that includes a description of their original design, as well as a sketch. Artist applications will be accepted until January 4, 2013. Once submitted, artists will receive a rain barrel to prep and paint between January thru mid-March. The second part of the event is the display of the barrels here at the Cincinnati Zoo, and the event will wrap up with an Artist Gala and Silent Auction at the Zoo’s Party for the Planet event on Thursday, April 18, 2013.

The painting contest is designed to generate multiple painted rain barrels that will be showcased at the Zoo from the end of March 2013 until Party for the Planet on April 18, 2013. During those weeks the barrels are on display, people who visit the Zoo with paid admission or their Zoo membership can visit the barrels and place their vote on the best painted barrel. A “People’s Choice Award” will be given to the artist with the most votes. A silent auction event of the barrels will occur during the Gala and Expo on April 18th.

If you are an artist and have a unique idea for a rain barrel design, please submit your application! Anyone is eligible to paint a rain barrel – artists can be of all ages. Many area high schools have shown great interest in using the rain barrel artwork as part of their curriculum. This is a great opportunity to not only share your creativity and talent, but to also showcase the importance of conserving water and protecting our watersheds!