The Downtown Huntsville Business Improvement Area (BIA) is inviting the artistically-talented to paint catch basins for the Diggin’ Downtown construction.

“It’s just a fun little thing where we’re inviting artists to come down to paint these catch basins,” says Huntsville Councillor Bob Stone. “Everybody can look at them, they’ll be there for a couple of weeks before they get put into the ground, and then 50, 80, 100 years from now when they get unearthed, it’ll be a nice surprise for the construction people and citizens.”

The painting was originally scheduled for June 5th, but was bumped back to June 19th to accommodate provincial stay-at-home orders. Residents can sign up for a 30 to 45 minute time slot to paint a patch on one of three catch basins. Local artist Helena Renwick will coordinate the painting.

COVID-19 safety guidelines will be in place as people paint within their bubbles. BIA manager Morgan Richter says she’s already received a number of signups for the new date.

“People are really excited to be part of something that will be buried forever, and have the photographs of this time capsule that they painted,” says Richter. “People can paint whatever they want, that’s the other fun thing. It can be handprints from their little kids, it can be a full blown artist doing a landscape of Muskoka or the Town Hall building in this patchwork.”

According to Richter, the goal of the project is to get the most out of the Diggin’ Downtown construction. Aside from attracting customers to downtown businesses, she says it is a good opportunity to create history with existing infrastructure.

“It’s a fun community project that we thought would be cool, because instead of painting a mural on wood or something, we’re using the infrastructure that’s going into the street,” says Richter. 

The paints will be provided by the Huntsville Festival of the Arts. Richter says the BIA is also working with both Renwick and North Art Supplies downtown to make sure the catch basin murals are properly treated to survive a hundred-year stint underground. Concrete-adhering paint will be used as primer, and shellac varnish will be applied on top to protect the paint.

Painting will run all day on June 19th. Residents can sign up to participate on the Huntsville BIA website.