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Downtown Little Rock mural highlights access to water

CAW mural
Daniel Breen
An official with Central Arkansas Water walks past the utility's new mural in downtown Little Rock.

A new mural in downtown Little Rock encourages members of the public to think about the importance of clean drinking water. It was unveiled Thursday at the corner of Capitol Avenue and Cumberland Street, near the headquarters of Central Arkansas Water, which commissioned the piece.

Central Arkansas Water spokesperson Doug Shackelford says the project came about after the utility company received a $20,000 grant from the U.S. Water Alliance.

“It was a unique proposition and we were glad to be a part of it because most people, when they think of water utilities, they don’t necessarily go right into, ‘Well, they are fully engaged with the arts community,’” Shackelford said.

Little Rock artist Tanya Hollifield led the project along with roughly 70 members of the community. She says the centerpiece of the mural is its unique water bottle filling station.

“It’s been one of the best things to have here while I’ve been working on it," Hollifield said. "It should become the norm around Little Rock that we have more access to water for people that are homeless, for people that are exercising, riding bikes.”

The mural highlights the USDA’s Forest to Faucets initiative and also features a chalkboard to encourage community conversations about water. Students at three schools also created water-based artwork for the project, which will be on display at the Bobby L. Roberts Library in downtown Little Rock.

Little Rock is one of five cities in the country to receive grants from the program, which seeks to boost the relationship between water utilities and the arts community.