Catchbasin art aims to remind Londoners ‘only rain down the drain’
A new series of art installations in London, Ont., is looking to shed light on proper stormwater management.
The public art initiative was launched during a news conference in Ivey Park on Tuesday morning.
City staff revealed that six catchbasins throughout London have been selected as a canvas for the environmentally-focused art pieces.
Three can be found in Ivey Park, a fourth is in Springbank Park, while the remaining two are split between the parking lots of the Canada Games Aquatic Centre and the Lambeth Arena.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Darryn Rae, who was selected from the London Arts Council public art roster to create one of the three catchbasin pieces in Ivey Park.
The London-based artist says he moved to the city from Kelowna, B.C., many years ago. He added that the London initiative was a great opportunity to show off his vibrant style.
“Mine took around three to four hours to do and it was in the hot heat… back-breaking work,” Rae joked.
Another Ivey Park piece came from the talent of Holly Pichette. An artist with Swampy Cree heritage, Pichette says her Indigenous art is inspired by the genre of Woodlands style.
“A lot of my work always speaks back to the land and to our relationship to it,” Pichette added.
Her work in the park just west of downtown depicts a pair of beavers who are protecting a waterway while sharing a connection with other wildlife in the piece.
“It’s that representation of how we are all interconnected and it’s an important reciprocity that we have to share with each other.”
Ivey Park’s third piece was brought to life thanks to Erica Dornbusch. An artist associated with Westland Gallery, Dornbusch says an opportunity to paint a city catchbasin felt right up her alley.
“My work is a lot about being out in the world and mindfulness and nature and being connected to our natural world,” Dornbusch said.
She added that having to use a curb as a canvas was an exciting challenge.
“I thought it was a great format to explore from a design point of view… it’s not a typical shape.”
Funding for the work was provided by London’s community public art program.
There’s no word on whether London will expand its catchbasin artwork, but city engineer Kelly Scherr did express an interest to do so to Global News Radio 980 CFPL.
The recent installations hope to make Londoners think twice before flushing pollutants, garbage or other items down city storm drains.
A phrase from the city that aims to keep things simple: “Only rain down the drain”.
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