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Ringling College of Art and Design students enrolled in the course “Ecology of Water” were given an unusual assignment for their final project this semester: develop an interesting and creative way to explain the extensive treatment process City of Sarasota drinking water goes through as it leaves the tap as safe, clean potable water. The students’ ideas are many and varied, including the development of a cell phone application, documentary film, children’s activity book, brochures and posters. The materials will be exhibited at the Federal Building, 100 S. Orange, Tuesday, April 16 and Wednesday, April 17 from 7pm – 9pm with the students on hand to discuss their projects. The public is invited to attend the free exhibit. The City of Sarasota may use one of the pieces to help educate the public about drinking water quality.
The City of Sarasota is required by the State of Florida to produce an annual water quality report. Anamari Boyes, a chemist with the Manatee County water department who teaches at Ringling College of Art and Design, approached the City of Sarasota about the assignment, with an option for the City to use one of the students’ educational pieces. A similar collaboration with Mote Marine Laboratory two years ago was quite successful with Mote incorporating a student’s comic book character into a public education campaign about red tide.
“This is the kind of partnership we want to foster,” City Manager Tom Barwin said. “The students will have a public venue to display their creative talents to explain a real world process that, while extremely important, quite frankly, is rather unexciting. The public needs to know that their drinking water is safe and clean, and it’s helpful for them to understand why. And, with Ringling students right here who can use their creative abilities to communicate the information better, it’s a win-win. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with,” Mr. Barwin said.
Students from two classes toured the City’s water treatment facility last month to learn about the treatment process. They also gathered facts and data for their projects. Some students are working in teams, while others are creating materials on their own.
“I wanted to give my students the opportunity to develop a final project with a goal, not just a grade,” Anamari Boyes said. “They are using their incredible artistic talent to help the City of Sarasota relay the message to its residents that their water quality is great and safe to drink. And all this, having learned the entire water treatment process themselves, which is not simple. In this way, the City’s residents will have innovative materials that will provide the information in an easy and appealing way,” Ms. Boyes said.
For more information about the exhibition contact Anamari Boyes: 941-993-7216 or Alison Albee, City of Sarasota Environmental Specialist: 941-365-2200 ext. 6317.