Collaboration is the key to a project that hopes to inspire environmental consciousness in keeping the local sewers and waterways clean. The marine science students from Kimberly Williams’ class at High School West are working alongside Advanced Placement art students in Timothy Needles class at High School East to make the project come to life.
With the storm drain art project, students artwork will come to life on the drains right outside of their school. The marine science students at High School West first began the project by studying the nitrates in the soil and learning about different plankton and how it effects water. The West students then worked with local artist Susan Buroker and East art teacher Needles to come up with slogans and designs to decorate the storm drains. Needles works with High School West students via Google Hangouts.
“Having the artwork on the storm drain really helps to start a conversation and adds some recognition to the initiative,” Ms. Williams said. “People everywhere are embracing these concepts, similar to when people paint recycling cans and fire hydrants. With art, we are hoping we can get the word out and empower people to make a change.”
Once the slogans had been created, both the art students and the science students started to sketch different templates. For the AP art students at East, they are working on this project daily as a culminating assignment for their class. The marine science students are volunteering their time and working with Buroker once a month to bring their sketches to life.
The finished artwork will be used for three storm drains at High School East and three at High School West. The students recently had a visit from Town of Smithtown officials which helped the students better understand the importance of their project and connection between the storm drains and the waterways. The officials also offered to hang the students’ art templates up at the town hall when the project is complete.