ASHLAND — For the last two summers, art and conservation came together for Ashland Soil and Water Conservation District’s Rain Beat on Main Street events.
This year, the district is expanding that program even more by adding a new, third location for the event: Ashland Balloonfest.
That’s why the district is on the hunt for local business and community groups to sponsor rain barrels for the event. Each rain barrel is sponsored by a community business or group, then local artists transform the standard, urn-shaped rain barrels into beautiful works of art In the last two years, 25 barrels have been sponsored, painted and auctioned off with the proceeds going to stormwater education programs.
“For the last two years, the Rain Beat on Main Street event has been such a fun break from living in a pandemic, and we were so excited to have so much interest and involvement from local community members and businesses,” said Jane Houin, Ashland SWCD director. “This year, we’re hoping to continue to grow the event by adding a new location and shifting the date to earlier in the summer.”
This year’s even will take place June 16 to 22 in Loudonville’s Central Park, with barrels moving to the Ashland Balloonfest on June 23 to 25 and wrapping up with a display in Ashland’s Corner Park June 25 to July 4.
Rain barrels for the event are sponsored by local businesses, and then the SWCD staff connect those sponsored barrels with local artists.
The barrels get primed, painted and sealed by the artists, then are displayed at the Rain beat on Main Street events throughout the county.
While the rain barrels on on display, an online auction will be taking place where community members can bid on their favorite rain barrels. The proceeds from the auction are used for stormwater education events in the county.
In 2020 over $1,400 was raised, and those proceeds were used to install a demonstration rain garden this spring at the Ashland County Fairgrounds.
Another $1,700 was raised last year, with proceeds going to the purchase of a stormwater management learning and community engagement game as well as three Conservation Chat workshops scheduled for 2022:
Water You Gonna Do? (precipitation and ice river spotter monitoring); Rain, Rain Come Our Way (hands-on rain garden workshop); and Rain Barrel Basics.
“In the last two years, we had a beautiful variety of rain barrels that were created, from larger than life parrots in the rain forest and honeybee skeps to African sunsets to rolling farm fields, each of the rain barrels was a unique work of art and the response to them was phenomenal,” Houin said.
Local business or community groups who are interested in sponsoring a rain barrel can contact Jessica Vaughn, Ashland SWCD education and outreach assistant at 419-281-7645 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Rain barrel sponsorship is $100, or platinum level ($250) Ashland SWCD affiliate members receive a rain barrel sponsorship as part of their affiliate membership.
More information can be found at www.ashlandswcd.com
The Life section is supported by Brethren Care Village in Ashland.