WARSAW — The weather was perfect for May’s First Friday, May 6. With temperatures in the low 70s families converged downtown for a musical evening.
A highlight of the evening was the unveiling of Current Effects: Clean Stormwater Art Project at Warsaw City Hall. Brief comments were given by Professor Kim Reiff, chair the of visual performance and media arts department at Grace College, Dr. Nate Bosch, director of the Center for Lakes & Streams and Mayor Joe Thallemer.
Reiff provided a history of the project and other efforts by the students in the art integration course. The students have created exterior and interior murals and created bowls for the empty bowls projects. “This is a different collaboration than any done before,” she stated. Cindy Bryan, professor, gave students the option at the onset to withdraw. “She said it is going to be hard, there will be bad weather and long hours.” No student withdrew.
Reiff stated students spent 15,000 hours working to paint the images. “The students are committed to the cause, protecting the health and vitality of the streams.” She noted how students explored natural habitats and became concerned “about the natural habitats and habitants, and human residents who enjoy the lakes and streams.”
She also shared reflections of the students, which ranged from learning life skills — patience, humility, teamwork, listening — to learning how art can raise awareness and learning about an area where there was no previous knowledge.
“How great is this to collaborate together with engineering as we’ve got these water conveyance systems here that flow downhill to Center Lake, with art and artistic expression, with education through Grace College,” said Bosch, also recognizing the various city departments. He stated the center focuses on education, collaboration and research. “This is a great example of collaboration … We’re excited to be a partner once again here to make our lakes and streams cleaner. This time through the avenue of community art.”
Thallamer reflected how he watched the students work on a daily basis from his office. “It was a long process … Thank you, the quality is incredible.” He recognized Theresa Sailor who envisioned the project. “It couldn’t be clearer … take time to enjoy them. Thank you, it certainly is raising the awareness of the importance of our lakes as assets to our community, to make this a great place to live and we certainly need to protect them … beautiful work.”
Throughout the rest of the evening the public took the opportunity to view the seven art projects around the courthouse, including the ability to use chalk to complete one of the projects and the hopscotch art project at Market and Buffalo streets.
Music was provided on the Center Street stage by the Warsaw High School Jazz Band, Four O’Clock Shadow, a barbershop quartet and Fascinating Rhythm. Those gathered around the stage were given a treat by Babs Coppes who performed the Charleston.
Dozens of booths lined Center and Buffalo streets ranging from service groups, churches, businesses, EMS services and the two local hospitals. There was also plenty of food to enjoy a picnic on the courthouse lawn.