Roll Out the Barrels

Artist: Christina Ward

“Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day.” We all remember repeating this rhyme as children. Lately, with all the recent weekend rains in Athens, we may have found ourselves saying it as adults, too. But what about when the rain does go away and we find “some other day” ends up being few and far between? How do we provide water for our thirsty plants and flower beds when the well-meaning government places us on an outdoor watering schedule?

Artist: Carol Fox

I have a suggestion: Rain Barrels. The concept of a rain barrel is simple. It collects and stores rainwater from rooftops to use later. You can think of a rain barrel as a bank in which you place water to save for a non-rainy day. This water normally runs off your roof and into your gutter downspouts to become stormwater runoff. The problem with runoff is it can pick up nasty pollutants, such as oil, grease, bacteria, and sediment, as it travels to a storm drain or waterway. The creek, stream, or river it runs into is often part of the water source we pull our drinking water from. It really goes without saying, but we want to keep that clean.

OK. You have now decided you want to conserve water, reduce stormwater runoff, and have water available. You want a rain barrel. Where do you find one? There are several ways you can add a rain barrel to your home:

1) Make your own barrel.  Videos and instructions can easily be found in an Internet search. For example, Paul James with HGTV offers a video and materials list for the DIY inclined. Depending on construction, the cost of building your own can be as low as $20.

2) Purchase one at your local home and garden center or order one online. Depending on the features you desire, a pre-made barrel can go for $50 – $250.

Artist: Lorenza “Chico” Rozier








3) Come to Roll Out the Barrels.  If you are looking for a functional rain barrel, but are also concerned with the aesthetics of your home, this is the place for you to pick up a barrel. Anyone can put out a boring, plastic drum to collect rain water. But you are an individual with a flair for the artistic. Roll Out the Barrels has 22 rain barrels created by local artists, each as unique as you are. Athens Paint and Body applied a clear coating spray to each barrel to protect the art from the elements.

Artist: Heidi Hensley

Want to know more about Roll Out the Barrels? This free event is open to the public and takes place on Friday, May 17, 2013 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm at the Lyndon House Arts Center in Athens, GA. The 22 rain barrels referred to are available at this event through a silent auction. Proceeds from the auction benefit the Athens Green School Program, an initiative to provide environmental education to ACC schools. The event features live music, food, and barrels of fun. Most of the barrels are currently on exhibit at the Lyndon House. Others can be found around town: Jittery Joe’s in Watkinsville, Terrapin Brewery, Cofer’s Home & Garden Showplace, ACC Water Business Office, & ACC Water Resources Center. You can vote for your favorite barrel in our Facebook album by “liking” the photo. The barrel with the most votes wins the artist a kayaking trip for two from Big Dogs on the River and a gift certificate to Locos Grill & Pub.

Artist: Thomas Easton

Artist: Teresa Kingery

Originally posted on, 5/14/13


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