CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Two types of public art soon will be unveiled in the city of Charleston, and the pieces will serve purposes other than aesthetics.
The City Engineer's Office placed 21 rain barrels painted by local artists along Washington Street East today, said Lee Ann Grogg, an administrative assistant with the office.
And the FestivALL board will place artist-designed trashcans along Kanawha Boulevard in the coming weeks, said Naomi Bays, FestivALL public art chair.
The rain barrels are part of a push to educate the public about the importance of controlling storm water, Grogg said. The barrels prevent storm water from flowing into city sewers. That can cause numerous problems, she said.
"Rain barrels can help reduce the stress on our sanitary sewage system," Grogg said.
Collected rainwater also can be used to water flowers and garden plants.
"Rainwater is so much better for plants than water that comes out of a faucet," she said.
The barrels will be moved from one community to another throughout the spring and summer, she said. They will herald rain barrel workshops in each neighborhood where the receptacles are placed.
For example, the workshop will be held at the East End Bazaar from 3 to 5 p.m. April 21. Participants will learn the importance of rain barrels and storm water management.
They will also be instructed on how to decorate their rain barrels.
The cost of the workshop is $40 per person. Every participant will receive an unpainted rain barrel.
The artist-painted rain barrels may be auctioned off, Grogg said.
Local artists including Ian Bode, Rebecca Recco and Rob Cleland have painted barrels.
Bode has worked on two of the Peer to Pier projects - the painting of bridge piers under the elevated section of Interstate 64 through the city.
Recco is an art teacher at Charleston Catholic High School and an instructor at Uncork and Create, which is a public art class held in a building on Quarrier Street.