Using art to combat stormwater pollution

Darius Lynard painted this mural on a storm drain in Darlington.

The streets and sidewalks of Darlington and Florence are connected to the local waterways by thousands of stormwater drains. Whenever it rains, all the weather and whatever else is in the drain, including trash, oil, gasoline, and natural debris is carried directly into those water sources.

To raise awareness about the importance of stormwater drains in keeping our local waterways clean, The Florence Darlington Stormwater Consortium (Clemson Extension) teamed up with a recent Coker University graduate, Darius Lynard, to paint a mural on a storm drain in Darlington.

Darius was asked to create artwork that would depict the importance of clean water, and his mural depicts local wildlife including white-tailed deer, a beaver, and a wood duck with the message “Clean Water is Life.” The purpose of the mural is to connect our storm drains to the health of our wildlife and waterways.

The mural site in Darlington was selected to be in front of City Hall on Pearl Street for its high visibility. The area is heavily trafficked by residents coming in to pay taxes and utility bills and attend meetings. The city of Darlington worked to obtain a permit from South Carolina Department of Transportation to block of the road for the three days it took Darius to complete the mural.

Community storm drain art programs have been rapidly spreading across the county in the past several years. Storm drain murals are a great way to spread awareness and carry the potential to educate a significant number of residents through direct and indirect participation in the program. Not to mention, a beautifully decorated storm drain adds to the aesthetic of any city or town.

Darius received a stipend for his work and was provided all the materials necessary for the project. It also provided him with an opportunity to build up his art portfolio for future employment opportunities. The city of Darlington would like to paint more drains in the future in other high-visibility areas. If you are a local artist, be on the lookout for future opportunities to help educate the public about stormwater pollution.

Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.

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