- Associated Press
Sunday, July 31, 2016

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) - The next time you are out and about in downtown Howell in the rain, pay attention to the sidewalks.

You may see a frog pop out, or hands coming of a sewer drain, the Livingston Daily Press & Argus (http://bit.ly/2aovhtW ) reported.


Rain art is what you will see.

The Howell High School advance digital graphics class partnered with the Main Street Downtown Development Authority Design Committee to bring rain art to the downtown district to “delight and surprise residents and visitors to get rid of those rainy-day blues,” said Cathleen Edgerly, Howell Main Street DDA director.

Rain art is a type of art application that includes messages or images that turn rainy days into something to look forward to.

Think of it as a glow-in-the-dark tattoo. You can only see the image in the dark. In this case, the images come to life when water is applied on it, said John Mozdzierz, Howell High School art teacher.

“The stenciled images will appear on the sidewalk when they are wet, so it looks pretty cool in the rain,” Mozdzierz said.

Mozdzierz tested the paint at the high school to make sure it appears once water hits the image.

Students spent Tuesday morning applying their stencils to sidewalks in downtown. The two-step process takes a total of roughly 20 minutes to apply.

Some may view the work as graffiti, but Mozdzier made sure to educate the students about the difference between street art and graffiti.

Street artists, in many cases, are formally trained art students who prepare their work beforehand and arrive on location with the product, typically with approval to do so.

“It’s something that the whole community can enjoy,” Mozdzier said.

Graffiti art, in many cases, is typically a writing or drawing scribbled, scratched or sprayed on a wall or other surface in a public place that is usually associated with an artists’ tag to communicate with other artists.

“I want my students to understand that tagging and graffiti art can be associated with criminal acts and ways to communicate with other artists by defacing property. That isn’t what we are doing,” Mozdzierz said. “There is a right and a wrong way to present art publicly.”

Students were asked to create an image that was related to water, but they were not restricted to that concept.

Some stencil designs included hands coming out of a sewer drain, a frog with lily pads, an umbrella, ballerinas and footprints.

Last year was the first year Mozdizerz’s class participated in the project. The difference last year was the paint was black and put on buildings.

“We had to get permission from not only the city, but the property owners to put a a stencil design on a building,” Mozdizer said. “Since this year we are putting the designs on sidewalks, we only had to get approval from the city.”

The students submitted their designs to the DDA, which then showed the designs to the City Council to help select where each image would go downtown. Some designs were painted twice in different locations.

“It’s pretty cool to see your design you created in the city,” said Ian Crowley, a Howell High School student who designed the frog stencil. “Figuring out how to design the stencil was challenging, but for the most part it was pretty easy.”

Justin Reder, another student, created a footprint design.

“I first tried a bear claw and then thought a footprint would look more realistic,” Reder said. “I think it will turn out pretty cool once water hits it.”

Mozdizerz and the DDA are discussing the potential competition of a building mural design for next year’s project; however, the details of this project are still up in the air.

“I think this really brings a different culture to the community and gives them something to appreciate,” Mozdzierz said.

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Information from: Livingston Daily Press & Argus, http://www.livingstondaily.com


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