Stencil a storm drain; save the bay

Storm drain art in Station North.

Storm drain art in Station North.

 

UB students can paint to prevent pollution, following in the footsteps of other city residents.

Have you seen the painted storm drains around campus? Volunteers painted the storm drains to remind people they lead to the Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore’s harbor. UB students will have a chance to sign up to stencil a storm drain on campus this fall. UB Sustainability Planner Jeff La Noue will be leading the project. Students can also volunteer to help with a UB tree planting project at Pearlstone Park, just north of the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. To find out more, email jlanoue@ubalt.edu, like Sustainable UB on facebook and keep a look out for flyers!

Blue Water Baltimore (BWB) has been working with community members to adorn the drains around the city using either stencils and spray paint or to engage local artists and paint murals with a particular message brainstormed by neighborhood residents. The goal of the project is to keep people from tossing trash in storm drains and to discourage them from allowing pollutants to drain into the bay. Blue Water Baltimore’s goal is restoration, advocacy, and education to achieve clean water in the Baltimore watersheds.

The storm drain painting project was originally started by 901 Arts, a community based art center and was inspired by Brazilian street artists and a desire to help the environment. Blue Water Baltimore has expanded the project. Since 2011, they have painted over 600 storm drains in Baltimore, with the help of community volunteers.

“Not many people stop to think about their streets as being their streams,” said University of Baltimore (UB) student Chris Bellmyer. “– that pollution in the street will end up as pollution in the stream.” Bellmyer, an Environmental Sustainability and Human Ecology major, worked with Blue Water Baltimore last semester on the Jones Falls Project. The painted storm drains, he said, are a reminder that a watershed isn’t just the immediate area around a stream, but also everywhere that drains into it, including our streets. “Everybody lives, works, plays, and studies in a watershed,” said Bellmyer. “The University of Baltimore is no exception!”

UB’s storm drains were stenciled the week before Artscape

Lisa DeGuire, BWB’S Education & Outreach Coordinator ran the painting and was out there every day for a week. She was joined by other BWB staff and a number of volunteers.

Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA) asked us to build on our existing Storm Drain Art Program by commissioning these storm drain stencils especially for Artscape. The theme for Artscape this year was water, so we were excited to be involved, and felt like this was a natural fit,” said Elise Bruner, Community Organizer for BWB.

UB student, Dina Varsalone, likes the storm drain paintings. “It’s something I would do,” she said. “It’s something small that can help protect our harbor and brighten up the city streets at the same time.”

Photo credit: Laura Melamed