Now in its second year, the Arkansas Arts Center is proud to be a supporter of the Drain Smart Central Arkansas program, an engaging public education/environmental program that uses art to communicate the function and importance of local storm drains. Like many cities, Little Rock’s municipal storm drains are a direct link to our streams, rivers and lakes. Many residents have a misconception that the storm drains are part of our sanitary sewer system that lead to the wastewater treatment plant, which leads them to misuse storm drains–thinking it’s a “safe” way to dispose of waste. When pollutants are disposed of via storm drains, they end up directly in our waterways. Drain Smart calls attention to this issue by showcasing original murals by local artists on storm drains to educate the public about runoff water and the effects on local water resources, like Fourche Creek and the Arkansas River.
Members of the Arts Center staff are actively engaged in the project, including Daniella Napolitano, marketing coordinator.
“I first got involved with Drain Smart last year when AnDi Tompkins, AAC Museum School manager, forwarded an email calling for artists to submit design proposals for an environmental program,” Napolitano said. “I submitted my design proposal that night thinking it would be the perfect way to combine my interest in nature conservation with my love of art. My design, ‘Sunset Herons,’ focused on animals native to Arkansas. After the designs were completed, a public vote was held to award top prizes and my drain was voted the best in the River Market district. You can still see it on the corner of President Clinton Avenue and Cumberland Street.”
This year, Napolitano serves on the Drain Smart committee, providing an artist’s perspective. Additionally, one of the Arts Center’s security officers, Emmanuel Rice, was selected to paint a Drain Smart mural – keeping the tradition of AAC participation alive. His design “Grandpa Catfish” can be seen on South Main in front of Booker T. Washington Elementary.
On Tuesday, June 14, the 2nd Annual Drain Smart Unveiling Party & Fundraiser will be held at the Former Juanita’s location at 614 President Clinton Ave. The party is free and offers the public a chance to meet the 2016 Drain Smart Artists and to vote for their favorite drains. Please join us in congratulating these great Arkansas artists and their support of this great cause.
For more information, visit the Drain Smart website, drain-smart.org.
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