Construction barrels find second life as interesting artwork
Orange construction barrels normally line the highway, but this summer local businesses and artists are turning them into artwork.
This artwork will be on display from Memorial Day through Labor Day as a part of the Barrel Art Promotion. Since Interstate 39 and Business 51 are both under construction this summer, the Stevens Point Convention & Visitors Bureau and CREATE Portage County teamed up to put on this promotion.
The goal is to draw tourists in for a chance to get off the highway and explore Stevens Point. Many businesses displaying these works are using this to advertise their businesses and draw in tourists from other parts of Wisconsin.
“It was our twist on taking this daunting reality and making it something fun and quirky.” Sara Brish, executive director of the Stevens Point Visitor’s Bureau, said.
These organizations have partnered with Mega Rentals to acquire the retired orange barrels. These barrels were ready to be recycled because of various reasons, and this display gives them a second life. Afterward they will be recycled as originally planned.
The first piece of artwork to make its debut was a dog in an airplane called “Don’t Fly By,” reminding drivers to slow down in construction zones. Since then others have been added including “Pineries Bank Eagle,” built by Blake Johnston located outside the Pineries Bank, and “Moss-Key-Toe” and “Nuts and Bolts,” both built by Robert and Anne Sell.
“I really do like the squirrel on Division Street. They’ve all been fun so far,” said Greg Wright, executive director of CREATE Portage County.
There are seven sculptures around Stevens Point and Plover, but more artists will complete them as the summer continues. Artists begin by submitting a rendering of what they hope to make, but these are flexible as long as they are in line with the project’s goal.
“We thought this was a fun way to make people think about road construction differently and to kind of make fun of the bleak road construction season and get people to laugh and smile and see some good art and then celebrate the rich arts and culture scene that we have in Portage County,” Wright said.
A complete list of current artwork and the location can be found at orangebarrelart.com.