H2OK DrainART project

DrainART tile

H2OK Drain ART Civic Project

City Walk

Stormwater drains and infrastructure have come to life in Civic with colorful, provocative and creative artwork by local artists Benjamin Reeve and Delene White.

The DrainART has been placed on stormwater drains that lead straight from Civic to Lake Burley Griffin and more will be rolled out across the ACT and region, including Cooma, Yass and Queanbeyan, over coming weeks.

Look for decals and stencils that show how pollutants such as rubbish, cigarettes, oil, leaves and grass wash off the street into the stormwater drains and end up in our lakes and waterways.

The ACT Government hopes the artwork will draw pedestrians' attention to the issue of water quality for our region and encourage us to change what we do in the streets and on our blocks at home.

The DrainART project sends a clear, visual message that pollutants and rubbish on the city’s streets travel straight to Lake Burley Griffin and on to the Molonglo and Murrumbidgee rivers where poor water quality can affect local wildlife that live in and around the water.

Benjamin Reeve (artist)

Benjamin Reeve is an artist and curator based in Canberra. His creative work can be found on an impressive list of projects and has featured in many Australian and international productions, from large scale graffiti murals to big budget films.

Benjamin works full time as an artist and exhibition curator and is currently doing his Doctorate of Creative Industries.

Benjamin is passionate about Canberra’s waterways and regularly enjoys walks around Lake Burley Griffin with his family.

Benjamin’s message is that we all have a responsibility to ensure our rubbish is put in its place and not left to pollute our waterways. His artwork connects wildlife with the rubbish that finds its way from our streets into the Molonglo River and Lake Burley Griffin and then downstream onto the Murrumbidgee River.

Mural and asphalt art decals designed by Benjamin Reeve

Delene White (artist)

Delene was born in Canberra at the same time the Molonglo River was dammed to make Lake Burley Griffin (1965). She studied silver-smithing at the Canberra School of Art and, upon graduation, received a DAAD scholarship to continue her study in Germany for 12 months.

Delene went on to study graphic design, followed by a graduate diploma in marketing and communication. Delene was employed for her artistry and award-winning design skills on national and international projects for 15 years, before starting her own art and design business.

The message in Delene’s art speaks of the vital connection between our world and the watery world that lies beneath its surface. Using subtle humour she hopes fellow Canberrans will remember this and appreciate the importance of keeping our waterways free from pollution.

Artist Delene White

Asphalt art decals designed by Delene White

H2OK DrainART school student design competition

Local students from upper primary schools (year 5 and 6) and high schools (year 7 to 12) from ACT, Cooma, Yass and Queanbeyan were invited to submit artwork that helps spread the message that only rain should go down our stormwater drains. A total of 53 students entered the design competition and 16 winning entries were chosen.

The winning designs have been printed on high quality stickers (also known as decals) for placement on pavement, and installed around or near stormwater drains at key locations across Canberra and in Queanbeyan. This includes high pedestrian areas in the City, Braddon, Tuggeranong, Gungahlin, Western Creek and Belconnen.

This is the second DrainART installation in the ACT following the successful installation of decals created by professional local artists Benjamin Reeve and Delene White in October 2017. Other DrainART projects will follow Cooma, Yass and Queanbeyan.

Through colourful, creative and thought-provoking art, each winning design uniquely demonstrates the impact pollution has on our waterways. Their artwork not only helps reinforce the importance of ensuring only rain goes down the stormwater drain but also encourages students to become local champions for improving and protecting our waterways.

The artwork also aims to raise awareness to the community about stormwater pollution that come from our streets (such as leaves, grass, rubbish, oils, soil and sediment etc.) and contribute to poor water quality and seasonal blue green algae blooms.

The DrainART project is a component of the ACT and region H2OK: Keeping our waterways healthy stormwater education and behaviour change program, being delivered as part of the $93 million ACT Healthy Waterways Project funded by the Australian and ACT governments to improve the quality of water entering our lakes and waterways and flowing downstream into the Murrumbidgee River system.

Winning entries

Rachel Wall, Year 6, Queanbeyan South Public School

I bit into my sandwich one day on a windy day and a piece of my glad wrap flew in my face. I thought to myself 'litter is gross, so I will do what I can to help others to see that too'. I have drawn a rainbow (representing happiness and sandwiches) and then question marks (to represent something along the lines of ‘what, why is the litter going down the drain) stopping at a pile of litter going down a drain (to show how gross litter is).

Student's winning design image

Victoria Marquez Musso, Year 12, Gungahlin College

I have created a 'monstrous' hand that will appear to be crawling out of the storm drain when placed perpendicular to the storm drains opening.

A large portion of the general public is not aware of the terrible impact their litter has on the environment. My slimy hand is constructed with the rubbish that is thrown so carelessly down our drains. When placed on the storm water drain, it should appear to be a monster's hand that is trying it's best to crawl out of the polluted drain.

I want to create a story and suggest to the public that it is their rubbish that has created this 'scary' monster. Not only are animals and plants affected by the litter. Humans can get sick coming in contact with polluted water, therefore it was important to create an artwork that would affect the public in a more intimate way.

Student's winning design image

Georgie Jaques, Year 8, Lyneham High School

Message in the bottle. My design is a pond with a drain pipes and lots of rubbish. This picture shows what people can’t see underwater in our ponds and waterways. Why is it important to keep our waterways clean—because it could impacts us now and in the future we need to be a good example for our next generation?

Student's winning design image

Ruofan Xu, Year 7, Lyneham High School

My design is of two waterways: one is full of rubbish and has sick and dead fish, the other is clean and full of fish. It is important to keep waterways clean and healthy because fish and plants depend on it. If not the fish will die and the ecosystem will change dramatically.

Student's winning design image

Josh Woo, Year 7, Lyneham High School

My artwork design shows the fact that the drain is connected to lakes and water systems, quite visually and obviously. Less than 1% of our water is fresh, there for its crucial to help keep our waterways clean.

Student's winning design image

Manoor Bangash, Year 7, Lyneham High School

My design shows how waste ends up in the waterways disturbs all aquatic life. It also shows that if many fish and wildlife get sick it disturbs the food chain and the environment.

Student's winning design image

Sophie Holloway, Year 10, Campbell High School

My message is only stormwater down our drains. It makes a direct visual link between the pollutants that entre our drains and the waterways they feed into (including Lake Burley Griffin and swimming places). The design is simple, yet detailed enough to make people give it second glance and understand there is a link. Waterways are vital to many ecosystems and their health is important to plants, animals and humans.

Student's winning design image

Charlotte Kirwan, Year 7, Lyneham High School

This artwork surrounding a drain is supposed to represent the waste from cities that end up into stormwater drains.

Student's winning design image

Hugh Millhouse, Year 5, Orana Steiner School

Don’t be a litter Bug. Keep rubbish from entering our stormwater drains. A Murray Crayfish you might say? Why? Well all rubbish left on our streets goes down into our lakes, and to the Murrumbidgee River flowing downstream into the Murray Darling system and yes, into the sea. River life can die from this pollution and create a global catastrophe on the food chain.

Student's winning design image

Jay Im, Year 7, Lyneham High School

My art is about people throwing their trash down which enters the drain to the waterways. It’s important to keep the waterways healthy because lots of animals and plants live there. Without clean water they will get sick and without them will look horrid.

Student's winning design image

Ethan Zhang, Year 7, Lyneham High School

Waterways are essential to keeping the ecosystem clean so this artwork is representing the environment and how beautiful it is so we should try our best to preserve it.

Student's winning design image

Victoria Camel, Year 10, Lyneham High School

All the things we put down the storm water drains go eventually to the ocean. All the creatures in ours lakes and rivers are impacted by our rubbish- eat it, get tangled in it and often die because of it. I have used the platypus as our iconic species to remind us the impact humans have on their environment, this is why it is important to keep our waterways healthy and clean.

Student's winning design image

Laine Grant, Year 7, Orana Steiner School

My picture [aims to] stop leaf litter getting into the stormwater drains. The leaves rot away to leave a sort of poison (blue green algae) in the water that means that the animals can’t live in it.

Student's winning design image

Lisa Wang, Year 7, Lyneham High School

Our waterways influence the state of the earth. From the tap [comes] rubbish that is collected by stormwater runoff.

Student's winning design image

Paris Thomson, Year 7, St John Paul II College

My art design is a fun creative. It is a fish that is angry because gross stuff is going into her mouth form the drain. It could be paint or oil or chemicals. My fish does not want to drink these things, she wants clean water. It is important to keep our waterways healthy because animals die when these grose things are mixed into the waterways.

Student's winning design image

Georgina Hannan, Year 7, Lyneham High School

It is important to keep our waterways safe to keep our health safe as well as the health of the plants and animals living in it.

It's saying why should those animals live in the dirty water if not us?

Student's winning design image