WORDS / KODY FORD
Water runoff isn’t a sexy topic. Seriously, try bringing it up at your next party. You’ll clear the room. But over the last few years, municipalities have found creative ways to raise awareness of storm drains and how water runoff can affect the water supply itself.
Upstream Art has slowly been raising the profile in Northwest Arkansas since 2012. Now Little Rock is getting in on the game with Drain Smart, which also allows artists to paint a mural on 17 drains around the city.
According to Lauren Clark, Volunteer & Communications Coordinator for Little Rock Parks and Recreation, the city saw this project as an opportunity to beautify the area in more ways than one.
“As the state’s largest and capital city, any message Little Rock can send or awareness raised will make an important impact on our community,” Clark said. “When it comes to knowledge about where our litter comes from and travels to, there is no zip code, salary, skin color or age that can’t learn to make better choices.”
This was Little Rock’s inaugural year for this program and they feel it was quite a success. The paintings were unveiled at the beginning of June and the public voted on their favorites throughout the month for each district – South Main, Downtown/Rivermarket & War Memorial Corridor.
The public has responded well to Drain Smart.
“The citizens and neighbors I’ve talked to think it’s awesome,” Clark said. “I like to hear the comments from passersby who have no idea I am involved and they’re like “That is so cool!’”
While the city provided the paints and supplies, the artists volunteered their time and talents, which is why Little Rock Parks
and Recreation wanted to hold the contest to pay back some of them for their efforts.
“As they did this for free (their time and talent—we supplied all supplies) it was the least we could do,” said Clark. “We are thankful
to our gracious donors who actually made the prizes possible – MacPark Group, South Main Businesses and the Sculpture at the Rivermarket.”
For more information, visit: Drain-smart.org.
(Top photo courtesy of Little Rock Parks and Recreation. Second photo courtesy of Tina Oppenheimer.)