Downtown Street Painting: Brush up on your community spirit

Street Painting has long been an unofficial kickoff to Drake Relays Week. This year, Drake is once again partnering with the city of Des Moines and the Court Avenue District to bring the festive event to the downtown area.

The third annual Downtown Street Painting, scheduled from noon to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, allows business, nonprofit and community organizations to celebrate the Drake Relays and join the fun.

Downtown Street Painting is a clean affair — a marked departure from its on-campus counterpart, where many students end up with more paint on themselves than on their designated squares along Carpenter Avenue. But the community spirit is every bit as high on Court Avenue as it is on Drake’s own painted street.

How it works: Businesses, nonprofit and community organizations paint a 4-foot by 4-foot square on the sidewalk along Court Avenue, incorporating the theme of “America’s Athletic Classic. Where the games begin.” The square remains painted and will be viewed by the hundreds of thousands of people who visit Court Avenue throughout the year.

What it offers: Community exposure, team building and an easy and affordable way to show your support for the community and for the Drake Relays. And a free t-shirt! (The judges’ favorite square also receives the fame of being featured on Drake’s alumni website, www.alumni.drake.edu.)

How to paint a square:

(1) Pick your paint. Include your company colors — but it just isn’t a street painting square without Drake Blue. Ask for the “Hyper Blue” color at Sherwin Williams.

(2) Keep it classic. This year’s Drake Relays theme is “America’s Athletic Classic. Where the Games Begin.” Ask yourself how that theme relates to your business, the Relays, or both, and keep that correlation in mind when preparing your vision.

(3) Make your mark. Your square will be prepared with a white background and a border: That’s where you create your masterpiece. Remember to bring the paint and any special tools you need to make your vision a reality. Drake provides standard brushes, rollers and paint trays, but we’ve seen lots of other creative implements.

Who’s welcome: Anyone is welcome to purchase a square (although square space is limited), and the public is invited to watch local artists at work. Beautiful Bulldogs are also invited and have been known to swing by.

What it costs: $250 for businesses, $150 for nonprofit and community organizations. There is no charge for watching the festivities.

Visit this Flickr gallery for photos from past years. Groups can register online or by mail.

If you have questions about the event, please contact Jessica Berger, jessica.berger@drake.edu, 515-271-3935. For logistical questions (design, supplies, etc.) please contact Joy Giudicessi, joy.giudicessi@drake.edu, 515-271-2769.

About Relays Week: Visit drake.edu/relays for comprehensive information about Relays Week, April 21–29. Become a fan of Drake Relays on Facebook. Follow @DrakeRelays on and use hashtag #DrakeRelays on Twitter to track conversations about this year’s Relays Week.

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