RIVER FALLS — The educational message “Keep trash out of the picture” is now artfully displayed outside the River Falls Public Library along with a colorful design of freshwater fish and reptiles.
City groups, educators and artists joined efforts to create this outdoor art piece which reminds passersby to do their part to maintain the health of the Kinnickinnic watershed and local waterways.
Plans for the art project, which was designed in part by River Falls Elementary students, began with an application for funds from Rain to Rivers in April 2019.
The educational campaign called Rain to Rivers… Wise Choices for Cleaner Waters promotes clean bodies of water throughout western Wisconsin.
Rain to Rivers funded $1,000 of the $2,321 project. The remaining funds were donated by River Falls Community Arts base, Powerful Choices community group and City of River Falls Stormwater Utility Budget.
Designs for the art piece were inspired by the imaginations of fourth graders from River Falls Elementary. Taylor Berman, a River Falls High School art teacher and local artist, mentored River Falls High School student Michael Butel throughout the project after compiling the designs from the elementary students.
Butel, who graduates from high school in 2021, said this was his first time working with Berman on public art and he hopes to do more for River Falls which may include painting utility boxes.
The spray paint used for the sidewalk art should last about five years before major wear would begin to show, Berman said, but the professional acrylic spray paint is manufactured to last up to 15 years.