Greening Vermillion, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making Vermillion more sustainable, is adding to its drain painting initiative, Adopt-a-Drain, featuring three new artists.
The featured artists include USD student Dakota Wilson, Jennifer Maggio and Thea Jarchow.
USD graduate student, Campus Recycling Coordinator and Greening Vermillion board member Anna Moore is one of the project leaders working toward community sustainability.
The initiative brings attention to stormwater drains, sewer systems and water pollution, Moore said.
“This year, we put out the call for artists and asked members of the community to draw or sketch their idea and send it to us. We chose the designs that we liked best, and we’re now going to have three brand new drain murals,” Moore said.
Greening Vermillion started the Adopt-a-Drain initiative in 2016. The board members of the nonprofit organization assess which drains need to be repainted and find new drains to paint, Moore said. She said storm drains and the water pollution associated with them are not always thought of.
“Everything is connected and we have these blind spots where we don’t see the connections, or aren’t even aware of what’s happening in our material worlds,” Moore said. “When we ignore these blind spots, we all suffer in some way.”
The Adopt-a-Drain initiative gives artists a chance to promote sustainability and healthy living along with their art, Moore said. The initiative gives artists a chance to display their art for something they’re passionate about.
“They wouldn’t have the opportunity to display their art in a public location in Vermillion, and then we’re connecting them,” Moore said. “The city benefits from this because the stormwater drains stay clear, and the city looks more beautiful thanks to the art. And so we’re connecting the financial resources of the city, with the passion and skills of these artists all for the same cause.”
Wilson is the president of the Student Art Alliance. She said she’s a prominent part of USD’s art community and loves the community surrounding Vermillion.
“I’ve always been someone to love community art and Vermillion has such an amazing community of artists. All of the murals around town are so impactful for the community, not just with the messages they send to viewers, but also bringing awareness to the many ways artists serve their community,” Wilson said.
Wilson has been an artist for a long time and was specifically asked by Greening Vermillion leaders to design a drain mural.
“As a kid, I always felt like art had a secret language that only artists knew, and I want to invite people of all backgrounds to find someone to relate to in anything I make. I really love the Vermillion community and it’s support for artists,” Wilson said.
Just as Wilson has been an artist for a long time, Moore has been working for sustainable living even before her time at USD.
“I’ve been aware of how the environment has affected my life, and been worried about how changes in the environment affect my future life, my family and all the people I care about. I think one of my values is human wellbeing,” Moore said. “I want to have an enjoyable, meaningful (and) healthy life. And I see that it is connected to our water and our air, land, and also our communities. And so, the kinds of work that I really get most passionate about are the projects that give people meaningful relationships and meaningful work. At the same time, they give people a healthy environment, healthy life.”
USD is involved in the Green Initiative Fund and is promoting ways for students to get involved.
“If you have an idea for improving campus sustainability efforts, please consider applying for USD’s Green Initiative Fund. Selected projects will receive funding and support to help implement their idea. Project Proposals are due Oct. 8,” Elizabeth Leibe, Programming and Sustainability Graduate Assistant, said.
Along with the Green Initiative, USD participates in Greening Vermillion’s Earth Days, a week-long celebration of Earth Day. The organization has already begun preparation and planing for the events.