New sidewalk art work around Butler County only visible during rain or other wetness

A first-time project, ‘Just Add Water’ murals a unique undertaking funded by visitors bureau.

It’s a new kind of public art – and a first for Butler County – where the wetter it is, the better it is.

Sidewalk murals have been painted in various locations around the county, including West Chester and Liberty townships, Oxford Fairfield and Hamilton, and the art work is only visible when wet.

The new “Just Add Water” multi-location murals were drawn with hydrophobic paint, which is invisible when dry, said officials with the Butler County Visitors Bureau, which paid $4,000 for the eight murals around the area.

“This is the first time we’re doing this sort of public art project,” said Tracy Kocher, vice president of marketing and communications for the bureau.

“We have lots of incredible public art, but this is the first time we’re doing something of this nature on sidewalks. The coolest part is that it’s not always visible and only revealed by water.”

That includes rain or carried water, such as bottled drinking water. Blue circular decals at various locations point out the sidewalk area featuring the artwork.

“The Butler County Visitors Bureau is always looking for unique and interesting experiences to enhance Butler County as a destination. The Just Add Water project was a perfect fit as it creates a new reason for people to visit, encourages them to explore many areas throughout the county, and offers fun way to get outdoors,” said Kocher.

“We’ve had a great reaction. People are really surprised when they see the artwork appear. It’s so unexpected, it really delights people.”

Ian MacKenzie-Thurley, executive director of the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton, said watching pedestrians discover the usually hidden artwork has been fun.

“They bring out such joy and it’s another example of the visitors bureau doing something new and dramatic here in the county,” said MacKenzie-Thurley, whose arts center has one of the sidewalk murals nearby.

For more information on the project and locations of seven other sidewalk paintings, see the Butler County Visitors Bureau website.

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