As our days grow shorter and darker, Highlands Council, with the support of the City of Issaquah Arts Commission, continues the traffic calming initiative rolled out in January – Slow Down, Drive Like You Live Here – with a pedestrian safety focus.
Have you heard of Rainworks? Turning rainy days into a reason to smile is the Rainworks motto. In the weeks ahead, on rainy days, you will begin to see fun reminders of rain-activated art on the sidewalks at crosswalks along Park Drive between Firehouse Park and 30th Ave NE. These reminders will be familiar, Lookout Before You Step Out, and Walk Aware, but the presentation will be very different than what we have displayed thus far thanks to a community arts grant from the City of Issaquah Arts Commission.
How does it work? Concrete darkens when it gets wet. A superhydrophobic coating keeps surfaces from getting wet. Called Invisible Spray, the superhydrophobic coating, when applied through a stencil onto concrete, creates areas that will repel all water. The next time the surface gets wet, everything darkens except for where we sprayed, and the contrast between light (dry) concrete and dark (wet) concrete creates the image. Whenever it is dry, the Rainwork will be completely invisible. Rainworks are completely non-toxic, environmentally safe, and biodegradable. The artwork will last two to four months, slowly fading over time.
On Sunday, September 30, the founder of Rainworks, Peregrine Church, facilitated a template-making seminar at Blakley Hall for the Highlands Youth (HY) Advisory Board so they could create their own rain activated art. In addition to the crosswalk messages along Park Drive, The HY students will install their custom Rainworks art at school bus stops throughout the community, bringing smiles to fellow students before and after school.
The HY board members, along with neighborhood friends and siblings completed the Park Drive Walk Aware installation in mid-October. The students met afterschool, taking advantage of a full week of dry weather, and applied the artwork at crosswalks, methodically making our way from 30th Ave to the crosswalk at Fire House park. It was a very fun service project and we hope everyone enjoys discovering the hidden messages that only appear on rainy days.
Photo captions: (Top and top right) To encourage safety at pedestrian crossings, Highlands Youth board members made “Rainworks” stencils and installed this visible-only-in-the-rain art along Park Drive. Some of the installations are just for fun, at school bus stops. (Bottom right) HY members pose with one of their Rainworks stencils and Rainworks founder, Peregrine Church (far left).