ITHACA, NY – By now, Ithacans are familiar with the many murals gracing otherwise drab electrical boxes and building walls. A new art project proposed offers something a little different.

The Rainwater Art Project, proposed by the Public Arts Commission, will install rainwater art on sidewalks around the city. These art pieces are created by placing a stencil on the ground and spraying an invisible paint that seals the concrete to moisture.

When it rains, the stenciled area remains dry, revealing the artwork. Here’s a video showing how it works:

Hopefully, these art pieces will help bring a little brightness to a dreary day. Assuming, of course, that we any of those this summer.

“It comes with a guarantee of rain, right?,” joked Alderperson Graham Kerslick, during a Wednesday meeting.

The installation is temporary, and the paint wears away with foot traffic, weather, and shoveling.

The Board of Public Works approved nine sidewalk locations around the city, including the entrance to the Alex Haley Pool, the Court Street sidewalk in front of GIAC, and the East State Street intersection near Viva Taqueria.

In addition to images, some of the installations feature inspirational quotes. Here are a few:

  • “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” – Bob Marley
  • Life isn’t about waiting for a storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.
  • “Let the rain kiss you.” – Langston Hughes
  • Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.
  • “The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.” – e.e. cummings.

Here are a few examples of this type of art from Peregrine Church in Seattle:

Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.