Two Diamond Oaks Career Campus students are comfortable if their art is left out in the rain.  In fact, they hope it collects rain for many years.

They are among 40 local artists whose work adorns rain barrels now on display at the Cincinnati Zoo.

“Circle of Life” was designed and painted by Maddie Kelch, a senior from Oak Hills High School. “Searching for Water” is the creation of Harley Ann Westfelt, a junior from Oak Hills.  Both are students in the Digital Arts and Design program at Diamond Oaks.

The barrels are part of the 7th annual Rain Barrel Art Project sponsored by the Regional Storm Water Collaborative.  They were individually designed and painted and will be shown at the Zoo until April 25 as a featured part of their annual Tunes and Blooms event.

“The effort included students from both Digital Arts and Design (DA&D) and the Automotive Technology-Collision program,” said instructor Sandra Ramey.  “Auto collision students sanded and primed the barrels. DA&D students added the art, and then they went back to the auto collision lab for the final clear coating. The entire project took about three weeks from start to finish.”

The project is intended to showcase local art and educate people on environmental issues like storm water runoff and water conservation. The barrels are also being used to raise funds for environmental education.  An online auction until the 25th will be followed by an auction finale at the Zoo, attended by the artists.

The Regional Storm Water Collaborative is composed of storm water districts, municipalities, and soil and water conservation districts in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. Its purpose is to raise awareness about water quality issues in the Ohio River Valley.

Kelch works on rain barrel Maddie Kelch's finished project Westfelt rain barrel