Orr Street Studios hosts Rain Barrel Art Review

The use of rain barrels helps prevent wastewater from polluting creeks.
Patrons observe painted rain barrels during the Rain Barrel Art Review and Barrel Roll on Friday at Orr Street Studio. The Missouri River Communities Network is a clean water organization aiming to keep waste from cities from seeping into clean water creeks and other bodies of water.

At the Orr Street Studios, artists decorated rain barrels to inspire people to use this older method of rainwater containment in order to stop the pollution of fresh water creeks.

The barrels were rolling Friday night at the Missouri River Communities Network's Rain Barrel Art Review.

MRCN, an organization concerned with the waste flowing from the streets of cities and into freshwater creeks, held the second Rain Barrel Art Review. MRCN is educating people on how to contain rainwater until it can be used later in various ways.

The Rain Barrel Art Review took an old method of rainwater containment and gave it a new artistic feel.

As the sunset moved into the studio, the art came alive. As the light reflected off the colored barrels, they shifted from ordinary objects to living pieces of art.

Musician Paul Grace played live folk music while guests marveled at the transformation of the barrels occurring in this simplistic art. The music, coupled with the images, created a mellow atmosphere where viewing was more pleasurable.

Positioning each illustration of nature and the world in a line for viewers to be able to compare each barrel as a whole unit created an optical illusion, which captivated and mesmerized onlookers.

Artist Jona Hirtz painted a simple water barrel and created a work of art that depicted a landscape view of the universe and its wonders, including comets rushing into the deep abyss of space and planets resting in the black emptiness of the galaxy.

"I really like the fact that the barrel was a rounded shape," Hirtz said. "It was a continuous canvas."

The barrels were as unique and interesting as the artists who painted them. Some barrels were simplistic. One depicted two clasped hands in a darkened background. Another revealed an entire forest brimming with colorful animals and plants.

"The hardest part of painting something like a barrel is getting a convex image on to a concave object," Hirtz said.

As basic water barrels were juxtaposed against the art housed in the Orr Street Studios, the expressive colors of these works brought the imagination of the creators to onlookers.

Coordinator Julia Karll said it is interesting for artists to use rain barrels because most of them have never painted something like that before.

"I hope this art review will help tip people over into using rain barrels," Karll said.

Karll said rain barrels are important because they contain wastewater, which keeps it from carrying trash and pollution into clean water creeks.

Executive Director of MRCN Steve Johnson said the Orr Street Studios was an open place and a good fit for this particular event.

"This place has the ethic of being open to the public," Johnson said. "It has a good feel and is great for community artists."

There were many interesting things to experience other than the decorated barrels. The Rain Barrel Art Review offered a multitude of events to enjoy. With live music, an auction and a raffle, this art exhibit made not only the painted barrels come to life but the guests as well.

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