Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Artists Are Tapped to Highlight Effort to Limit Water Runoff

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Artists Are Tapped to Highlight Effort to Limit Water Runoff

Article excerpt

The rain barrel in my garden can collect 65 gallons of stormwater from the downspout in the back of my house. My neighbors next door collect 133 gallons in the barrel on our shared back roof.

We got them both from the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association, a nonprofit organization that spearheaded the initiative to clean up Nine Mile Run several years ago. The association's rain barrel educators have helped install more than 1,600 rain barrels in the watershed and motivated an untold number of city residents elsewhere to install them.

They come in various shades, and they're pretty if you see the beauty in environmental solutions. But the 10 that are soon to be installed in public locations are works of art.

Chris Galiyas, 35, is one of the artists the association chose to paint rain barrels for its Rain Barrels on Parade project, "to raise awareness about individual solutions to stormwater issues," said Luke Stamper, sales manager for the association's StormWorks enterprise.

The American Eagle Outfitters Foundation granted $5,000 for Rain Barrels on Parade. The barrels will be auctioned off at the end of summer, most likely online, with proceeds going to the artists and the association's stormwater education work.

Mr. Galiyas, an art teacher at West Mifflin Area Middle School, saw the request for proposals on Craigslist.

"I was looking for art jobs," the Brentwood resident said. "It was a good fit for me because we're getting a rain barrel for our house. We're all about gardening and the environment."

Several artists working on the rain barrels focused on water topics.

"I chose a Pittsburgh theme that would be inviting to all kinds of people," Mr. Galiyas said. "I did a quick sketch of an incline, the logos of the Pirates, Steelers and Penguins and Pittsburgh sayings. It was fun to do."

Distribution of the rain barrels to 10 locations, including the Children's Museum, Schenley Plaza and the U.S. Steel Tower lobby, will coincide with the kickoff of the Clean Rivers Campaign (www.cleanriverscampaign.org) at 7 p.m. Thursday at the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 95, 300 Saline St., Greenfield. …

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