CLEARWATER, Fla. - During the summer, a daily storm is almost guaranteed. Instead of letting those downpours keep you indoors, a new project in Pinellas County hopes the dark skies will brighten your day.
Secret works of art are hiding in plain sight on Clearwater sidewalks. The designs and phrases are invisible, only appearing once the concrete gets wet.
The city launched the Neighborhood Sidewalk Rain Art Program last week.
"You don’t have to an artist by any measure,” said Clearwater's neighborhoods coordinator, Juliahna Green.
Families and neighbors can check out the materials for free, and create public art on city sidewalks using stencils and temporary rain-activated paint.
The city provides instructions and tips, a bottle of the environmentally-friendly invisible spray, along with three pre-made stencils.
"One of the coolest aspects of the program is our residents have actually been making some of their own stencils and then they donate them back to our program,” Green said. “So on top of having stencils that were made my professional artists, we have stencils made by our residents for our residents to use for art that’s gonna be seen in everyone’s neighborhoods."
When concrete gets wet, it absorbs water. The rain paint works by creating a superhydrophobic coating on top of the concrete that repels that liquid. The result is an image that stays dry when it's raining, or you dump water on it.
The Hutkin family jumped on the opportunity right away, taking advantage of the family-friendly project.
"It’s fun and it really brought our neighbors out,” Wendy Hutkin said. “People were talking about it, so I think it’s a really great way to engage everybody."
Four-year-old twins Albert and Sienna were eager to help Mom create sidewalk art. Since the product lasts two to four months, the thrill of it hasn't stopped.
"There’s been a few times where it’s raining and after the rain calms down and stops I’m like OK, you want to go outside and see the magic art, and they're like yeah, so we take our socks off and they run outside and they just start splashing in it, and they can see the artwork, so it's pretty cool for them to do that,” said Hutkin.
It's giving them, and their neighbors a reason to smile even on the gloomy days.
LINK: If you live in Clearwater and want to give rain paint a try, visit https://www.myclearwater.com/residents/neighborhood-services/neighborhood-improvement-projects/sidewalk-rain-art for more information about how to reserve the invisible spray and stencils.