Art and Storm Drains

April 29, 2017

PEORIA — Four storm drains around the city are looking much more colorful after eight Bradley University art students finished up work on a public art project.

The students in Margaret LeJeune’s art and the environment course painted the sidewalk and pavement surrounding the drains to raise awareness of pollution runoff, litter and the ongoing combined sewer overflow problem Peoria is grappling with.

She wanted students to be able to get out into the community and encourage public engagement in public art during the project that they began in March.

“You’re not just sitting at a class all day,” student Laura Bucci said on Thursday afternoon. “You’re doing something with what you’ve been taught.”before beginning work, the students picked out the locations and got permission from the city’s public works department and learned on their own — and from a presentation from the city’s innovation team — about the combined sewer overflow problem Peoria is grappling with. The four spots — at the corner of Sheridan Road and Main Street, at Main and Adams streets, at Water and Liberty streets and on Bradley’s campus at Underhill and College streets were selected in part because they were drains that do send runoff into the Illinois River, student Brandon D’Adam said.

The students said they worked to craft the art in a way to be accessible to kids and adults alike, as well as to those familiar with environmental issues and to those who are newcomers to the topic.

And even before the first paintbrush was taken out, they partook in a less-than-glamorous job: cleaning out the storm drains.

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Article printed with permission: Journal Star

Published April 28, 2017