Bethel-Tate High School students turn rain barrels into works of art

From left are Taylor Robinson, Courtney Riley, Mitchell Oetzel, and Noah Holtke.

From left are Taylor Robinson, Courtney Riley, Mitchell Oetzel, and Noah Holtke.
By Art Hunter

Students in art teacher Meggie Bierkan’s classes at Bethel-Tate High School have applied their talents to making the world a better place.

Bierkan and her students have partnered with the Regional Storm Water Collaborative on a project designed to increase the use of rain barrels by increasing their appeal. Students in Bierkan’s class started with plain, drab, and otherwise unappealing barrels. Applying their talents – and layers expertly applied paint, sand, and other materials – to the nearly four-foot tall containers, they have created beautiful – and functional – works of art.

“The theme is ‘Save it for a Rainy Day’ to encourage usage,” Bierkan said. “I believe this will cause more people to use them.”

The barrels will be on display at the Cincinnati Zoo until April, when they will be auctioned off at the zoo’s annual gala.

There are only five schools included in the partnership, and Bethel-Tate was selected on the strength of the proposal submitted by Bierkan.

The students chose to paint zoo-themed scenes on the barrels. Some of the barrels featured exotic landscapes, others features animals found at the zoo. Each of the eight barrels was painted by a small group of students.

One group’s painting featured a pair of giraffes.

“We all liked the giraffes, so we decided to paint the zoo’s new baby giraffe, Lulu,” senior Taylor Robinson said.

While the barrels are on display at the zoo, visitors with paid admission or their zoo membership can visit the Go Green Garden to place their vote on the best painted rain barrel. A “People’s Choice Award” will be given to the artist with the most votes.