Jun 282012
 

Storm drain art revived

NoC News

“This is exactly what this whole project is about: getting a dialogue started about the storm drain system, what it does, where it is. Once you get people talking, they’ll remember—and they’ll talk about it.” –Claudia Michler

Talking, and looking at them, the painted drains that is. So much so that when some of the paint capitulated to the weather (as the artists knew it would) art watchers started to request touch-ups.

Blake Eames and Claudia Michler are the artists responsible for the painted storm sewer drains around downtown, neighborhoods near UK, and the near north side. Made You Look!, their project, won an EcoART grant from the city to help with the storm sewer public education campaign. Eames and Michler have now been granted limited funds to revive some of the painted drains. Continue reading »

Feb 092012
 
Audio from the November 1, 2011, performance of Rat Shed Radio, held at Homegrown Press. Other Rat Shed Radio paddles can be found here:  the Fabled Canelands and fair Jessamine.
 
High, high, yes when I die
there’s untold millions
standing next in line.

Wes Houp, “Up on Chenoca”

When development came to the bluegrass, it came from the east. From Fort Pitt at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers on past the Kanawha, speculators from James Harrod to Johnny Appleseed floated the Ohio in search of available productive land. Harrod, like many of the early illegals who explored the region as citizens of invading British and American nations, came into the bluegrass by turning left at the mouth of the Kentucky and paddling, upriver, as far as Leestown. Later, by the 1780s, new arrivals to central Kentucky would shorten this trip immeasurably, by disembarking at the settlement of Limestone and then taking the southern road toward the growing frontier town of Lexington. Continue reading »

Oct 132010
 

By Beth Connors-Manke

Editor’s note: In part one of this article, Beth introduced Blake Eames and Claudia Michler, the artists behind Made You Look!, an arts-based environmental activism project. Eames and Michler painted storm sewer drains around downtown, neighborhoods near UK, and the near north side. Made You Look! won an EcoART grant from the city to help with the storm sewer public education campaign.

After my last official interview with Eames and Michler – I saw and talked to them many times after that as they knelt over drains, brushes in hand – I had mixed feelings about the storm sewer project. I loved the art, of course, no question, but the problems that had led to the need for the art and for sewer education weighed on me. As much as I may appreciate the art, the environmental degradation that it signaled was serious and dangerous.

Our conversations had suggested there were at least two aspects to the project: the first, the joy in the art; the second, the decline in the city’s infrastructure and an ignorance about water pollution. Continue reading »

Sep 292010
 

Storm sewer education through art

By Beth Connors-Manke

I heard it when I went back to listen to the tapes. Over the course of several weeks, I had talked to Blake Eames and Claudia Michler, always on the street in the heat and grit, always over wet paint. Sometimes they had on fluorescent orange construction vests, with the tan that comes with street work where the sun hits the pavement and comes right back up. Their hair in pigtail braids.

On the tapes were two things: their joy in making art being welcomed by many and the incessant rumbling of cars. As I listened to our conversations, I decided this was the good and bad of it. Art was pleasing them and passersby—this was the good—but the art was a symptom of a variety of failures in our city.

Storm Drain at High and Rose. Photo by Brian Connors-Manke.

Continue reading »