- Associated Press - Sunday, June 7, 2015

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) - Several artists are planning to brush up the downtown area of North Platte.

The murals appearing on city sidewalks near storm sewers are a part of a project from Keep North Platte and Lincoln County Beautiful.

Holly Carlini, KNPLCB programs director, said the paintings are to help raise awareness for how pollutants can impact the ecosystem through street drains. A lot of people, she said, don’t know the storm sewers all lead to the Platte rivers.

“This is a fun way to show people where these lead,” she told The North Platte Telegraph (https://bit.ly/1AMctgG ).

For the project, Carlini contacted about 10 artists in the area. They’ve been given two squares of concrete near the storm drain to paint with water-related themes. Pat Milne, for example, is painting a pool of water polluted with brightly colored sludge.

Milne said this is the first time he’s done a street project. Typically, he uses spray paints on boards and paper to create his art, but spray paints don’t work quite as well in the windy corridor in front of Red Roof Antiques, where his street mural is being completed.

He wants to make the pool look realistic, like a person on the sidewalk could really step into the water if not careful.

Down the street, Jackie Proctor, an art teacher at Madison Middle School, and Olivia Davis, an Adams Middle School student mentored by Proctor through Community Connections, are painting a dragonfly pond draining into the storm sewer nearby.

Proctor said they’re using a high-traffic paint that won’t wash off in weather or from foot traffic.

Carlini said it’s all environmentally friendly. She said she spoke with other communities that have done similar projects, particularly one in Arkansas that helped her pick out paint to use and how to go about the project.

Carlini said she hopes all the artwork is finished before the Honky Tonk Barbecue on June 13, which will be downtown. The artwork will also be a part of the Railfest Water Run in September.

Hopefully, Carlini said, the art will draw attention to what items find their way to the sewers, like cigarette butts, paints and oils.


Information from: The North Platte Telegraph, https://www.nptelegraph.com

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