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Street 2 Creek Storm Drain Art Project beautifies with a message

Dawn J. Sagert
York Dispatch

In its third year, Street 2 Creek Storm Drain Art Project has selected local artists to beautify downtown sewage drains with murals that carry a message that they hope won’t be overlooked.

In 2018, the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper association, Watershed Alliance of York, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Penn State Master Watershed Stewards partnered to raise funds for the project, said Master Watershed Steward coordinator Jodi Sulpizio. 

It's an effort to educate the public about how simple everyday litter and debris on York City streets can be pulled into the drains through storm water runoff. The debris ultimately harms the environment as it drains into the Codorus Creek, then the Susquehanna River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.

Artist Jessica Pedro-Pascual, 17, of York Springs in Adams County, paints her contest winning art around a storm drain in Continental Square as part of the Street 2 Creek Storm Drain Art Project in York City, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Three drain locations were chosen for the project, two in Continental Square and one at the intersection of West King and South Duke streets. Two artists were selected this year.

“There’s a lot of life down there that we don’t know about,” said artist Richenda Janeen Hershey, of Spring Garden Township, who produced two of the works this year and one in 2019.

The mural at the intersection of West King and South Duke streets begins with a white rose surrounding the base of a pole, and it spreads down into the street surrounding the storm drain with a three-dimensional depiction of litter and waste and life beneath our street view.

“I was born and raised in York, so it means a lot to me to have a part of me on the sidewalks,” said Hershey. “It just means a lot to me to be part of it.”

A contest is held to select local artists, who are commissioned through funding received, this year, in the form of a grant from Sandy Hollow Arts and Recreation for the Environment (SHARE) and from York Water Co.

This year's other artist is 17-year-old Jessica Pedro-Pascual, of York Springs, Adams County.

The trail of 14 murals painted in the past three years starts at Codorus Creek on West Market Street and ends in the Royal Square District. Information about the trail can be found at www.street2creek.org/.