Hampshire hydrant art suggests more than just municipal upright water pipes

Woe to the lowly fire hydrant, mostly ignored or regarded as invoking a parking restriction. Unless it’s your house that’s on fire, and then its magnificence is evident.

You can adopt a dog. You can adopt a baby. Heck, you can even adopt a new lifestyle. But did you know you can adopt a fire hydrant?

Well, in Hampshire, Ill., you can.

Along with the responsibility to maintain the area around the hydrant and clear it of snow in the wintertime, the hydrant supporter earns the right to paint his or her hydrant, says Mike Reid, village trustee.

Modeling a program on Geneva’s Art On Fire program, Reid plans to get traction for hydrant adoption by hosting a contest next year and offering prizes to hydrant artists. “You can paint it any way you want to as long as you get the artwork approved, maintain the design for at least a year and avoid anything obscene,” Reid told me. Oh, and this is a painting project, not a sculptural one; artists cannot affix anything in any way, shape or form to their hydrants. Rust-preventative paint is required (i.e., Rust-oleum).

Talented artists in this little village already have taken to the streets. Here’s my art review of their work:

Kathi Drive

Kathi Drive

It’s not a passel of artists without a Photorealist in the bunch (an art style where the illusion of reality is created through paint). What’s a fire hydrant if not good ‘ol true red? Note the attention to detail: the artist on Kathi Drive left the chain in its natural rust color. Not sure what alien transmissions that little mesh hat is designed to ward off.

White Oak Realist hydrant

White Oak Street

Not to be outdone, this White Oak Street artist choose a more traditional Realism approach. If Rust-oleum doesn’t list this shade as Fire Engine Red, I don’t know what is. Careful inspection of this photo reveals even bits of grass around this hydrant are red.

White Oak Street

White Oak Street

A little ways down White Oak Street, another artist went the route of Precisionism, an American movement whose focus was modern industry and urban landscapes. R2D2 fans, take note.

Centennial Drive

Centennial Drive

Animation art in the Pop Art movement clearly inspired this Centennial Drive artist. Here’s looking at you, Carl the Minion.

Warner Street

Warner Street

On Warner Street, the artists (self identified as Reid and his wife) adopted the Painterly style. Note how the dalmatian’s spots celebrate the use of paint through evident brushwork and texture.

I’m waiting for some artist to employ Impressionism (think Monet and the art of light) or Abstract Expressionism (Jackson Pollack anyone?) in their design. Or even better? Let’s see some Dadaism (oh, don’t be absurd).

Want to adopt a hydrant in Hampshire? Lt. Jeanne Maki at the Hampshire Fire Protection District to claim your hydrant and learn program details.

Other Minnesota Transplant musings about Hampshire:

2 responses to “Hampshire hydrant art suggests more than just municipal upright water pipes

  1. I hope you are adopting one yourself!

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