The Let it Rain Stormwater Program – responsible for the art-adorned rain barrels on Burlington streets this summer – completed their Connecting the Drops Rain Barrel Project with a community event and live auction during Art Hop at the new ArtsRiot gallery in Burlington this past Saturday, September 7th.

Funded by the ECOS Project through the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, HUD OSHC, and the Chittenden County Regional Stormwater Education Program, the Connecting the Drops installation brought together the vibrant Burlington arts community with an important environmental message — stormwater is damaging the health of Lake Champlain, and our land-use decisions make a difference.

With live music, great food and a lively auctioneer, the thirty bidders battled for their favorites in a fun atmosphere. People off the street joined in the festivities and as the place filled up, the competition for barrels increased. Many of the artists responsible for the barrel art were present – giving the extra community connection that Art Hop has become known for. Some even signed the barrels of the highest bidders. One lucky winner had her name drawn from a hat and went home with the “Smart Waterways” barrel, painted by Tara Goreau, for free. Seventeen barrels went to the highest bidders, raising over $2,800 to support the continuation of the Let it Rain Stormwater Program, providing incentives for property owners in the Lake Champlain Basin who install green infrastructure in order to manage stormwater. Green infrastructural improvements such as rain gardens, rain barrels, green roofs and pervious pavement help to capture, store, treat and infiltrate stormwater where it originates, lessening pressure on municipal systems and eliminating a major source of pollutants to Lake Champlain.