The 2012 Market Street Festival invites individuals, businesses and groups to decorate portable “necessaries” for the 17th annual event May 4-5. Design ideas must be submitted to Main Street Columbus by April 23. The painted units pictured, furnished by Pit Stop, were photographed at a festival in Georgia. Photo by: Courtesy Photo
April 7, 2012 4:26:46 PM
CONTEST: Cash prize of $500 goes to winning festival entry
BY JAN SWOOPE
"At first mention, some may think the idea sounds silly, but portable toilets are inevitable at outdoor festivals and special events, so why not make them more attractive?" said Amber Brislin, Main Street Columbus manager. She's talking about the Painted Privies contest, a new initiative that will put community art in unexpected places during Columbus' 17th annual Market Street Festival May 4-5.
Individuals, businesses, civic groups, social clubs and other organizations are invited to transform everyday portable restrooms into one-of-a-kind "canvases." A cash prize of $500 goes to the winning "People's Choice" entry, to be determined by festival-goers.
Brislin stated, "It's a way to have fun, get creative, show off our community's artistic skills and make something that could normally be viewed as an eyesore into a 'work of art.'"
The idea first surfaced when Brislin attended a Southeast Tourism Society training seminar several years ago.
"This had been successful in a community in Georgia. Since then, I've kept it in the back of my mind, half-jokingly mentioning it to our friends at RDI each year when it's time to put out several dozen portable toilets for the festival."
For this year's event, Dennis Fair of RDI, which provides the units, and the Main Street group partnered to offer the contest. The Columbus Arts Council will provide a venue at the Rosenzweig Arts Center for festival attendees to vote for their favorites. The cash prize is compliments of RDI.
How to participate
The contest is open to everyone.
"You could even get together with a couple of friends to paint one," Brislin remarked.
There is no limit to the number of portable privies that can be painted, but to ensure that a sufficient number are primed in advance, entrants must register with Main Street Columbus and submit a rendering of their design idea by April 23
Units, primed a light shade of green, will be available for painting beginning Saturday, April 28, at noon, at the Hitching Lot Farmers' Market at the corner of Second Street and Second Avenue North.
"They'll be available for painting the entire week prior to the festival, underneath the covered awning," noted Brislin. "All of them must be completed and the paint dry by noon Friday, May 4."
Artists must supply their own acrylic paint, brushes and other necessary painting supplies. Completed units will be displayed near the intersection of Fifth Street North and Main Streets during the festival.
"We really want people to have fun with this and be really creative; we're open to any designs," the Main Street manager said. "I'm very happy about the great partnership we have with RDI and about plans to keep select units painted and use them at other special events throughout the community."
Access contest entry forms at marketstreetfestival.com or columbusmainstreet.com. Or visit the Main Street Columbus office at 107 Fifth St. N. For more information, contact MSC at 662-328-6305.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.