At first a rain barrel might seem an unusual canvas, but five local artists are proving it to be an ideal medium for flexing their creative muscles. And, they're doing their part to support the local arts community and benefit water conservation too.
The First Annual Earth Art Rain Barrel Project and Auction, which enters its next phase at five locations throughout Emmaus today, is a joint venture of the Emmaus Arts Commission (EAC) and the Emmaus and Upper Milford Environmental Advisory Committee, designed to raise environmental awareness and raise funds for future EAC activities.
The project began when local artists were invited to submit sketches and summaries of their ideas to decorate functional rain barrels and five finalists where chosen to participate by the arts commission - Claudia Evans, Peter Gehring, Cheryl Peters, Allyssa Smith and the Emmaus High School Art Club.
Each artist was given $100 for supplies and charged with executing his unique vision for his rain barrel, a device that would ultimately be sold at auction and which could actually be used to capture rainwater for watering flowers, gardens and lawns.
Their finished projects will be on display April 1 through 9 throughout the borough at , , , the and . The rain barrels will then be moved to the Emmaus Triangle April 10 where they will remain until the Emmaus Earth Day festivities on Saturday, April 16 in .
The rain barrels were unveiled at an opening reception at Perk on Main March 29. Project chair Ariel Scholz of the arts commission said, "We’re excited to pair art with water conservation."
Bob Boehmer, president of the arts commission added, "Thanks to the Environmental Advisory Committee for working on this with us. There was a lot of behind-the-scenes work involved with this project, and we want to say 'kudos' to all that helped. It’s a super new idea for Earth Day."
According to Tom Gettings, director of special projects at the Wildlands Conservancy, 1,000 gallons of water run off the average 1,700-square-foot roof in a normal rainstorm. Water runs from the roof into gutters and into the storm drain system, making the water unavailable. "Rain barrels are an ideal way homeowners can conserve water by collecting rain water and then reusing it," says Gettings.
Bidding for the barrel auction begins on April 1, with official bid sheets available at the Emmaus Public Library. Bidding starts at $50 per barrel, with increments of $10. Final bids will be accepted on April 16 at Community Park, where auction winners will be announced at 1:15 p.m. Winners must be present to pick up their rain barrels right after the winning bids are announced.
Proceeds from the auction will be used for future activities of the Emmaus Arts Commission. The rain barrels were donated by Kraft Foods Global, Inc., and construction was sponsored in part by Wentz Hardware.
The Winning Designs
- Cheryl Peters of Bach and Company, Emmaus, titled her barrel "Provence" and used her signature pink and blue palette for a flowery design of "where I want to be."
- Claudia Evans, nanny to Deakin Mackes of Emmaus, worked with Deakin, 8, to divide her barrel into three bands of color, one wood-toned, one with multi-color fingerprints depicting the human spirit and a bottom band of blossoming flowers.
- The Emmaus High School Art Club, under the direction of art teacher Regina Oster, used a design by member Alexis Vallejos. Club members had narrowed down entry ideas to five, and then voted on a final design to be used. Vallejos' concept was a bright blue and green background with windmill-like eyed flowers. It was a collaborative project with all art club members participating.
- Alyssa Smith of Sweet Memories, Emmaus, designed gray storm clouds above a seedling in desert tones.
- Peter Gehring, Quakertown, painted his barrel light green and covered it with stylized African grasses in black.