Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2010 - (Page 32)

Finding Art IN UNEXPECTED PLACES Donna and Rodney Hennig’s water tank murals BY CHRIS WILSON, NRWA WHEN MOST PEOPLE look at a water tank they see a water tank. When Donna and Rodney Hennig see a water tank, they see a verdant tree line, a hot air balloon, a dusty desertscape and even a stack of pancakes. Most clients of Hennig Mural Design Inc. are most interested in having their water storage made discreet and unnoticed, but the Hennigs always keep their eyes open for more opportunities to be creative. “I’d like to be more whimsical,” said Donna, the more artistic of the mural-painting pair. “I’d like to paint one of those round bulbous water towers as a hot air balloon, or a tall thin tower next to a school as a pencil.” There have been few opportunities for that much creativity, but the mural work has attracted plenty of public interest, awards and attention. Donna and Rodney’s work has earned them two “Tank of the Year” awards from the Steel Plate Fabricator’s Association, a “Painter of the Month” award from Paint Pro magazine and other honors. For Donna, however, their work is more of an enriching gift. “I look at these paintings as just a gift to the community,” she said. “Any art is better than no art. Art is an addition to our lives.” “One of our tanks at the Northwest Washington Fair was used as the photo backdrop at their strawberry festival,” Rodney added. “People could walk right up to it, so there was a lot of detail.” The large tank features a mural of grazing cows, farmland and mountains. Even tanks that are less accessible catch the attention of drivers or neighborhood residents. “People will drive by and honk,” Donna said. “As we add detail sometimes they will stop and get out to watch. It’s fun to see people respond to art on such a utilitarian structure.” The pair has painted 75 water tanks since 1986, when Donna was asked to design a mural for a water tower in Bellevue, Wash. She had already established a reputation for painting murals in schools, hospitals and other public buildings. She had never considered a water tank. “I was flabbergasted,” Donna said. “But my husband said, ‘Just think of it as a big canvas.’” The new perspective worked, and the Hennigs have been painting water tanks ever since, sometimes as many as six a year. After never considering water towers as potential art, Donna finds herself imagining new designs on every tank she passes. “I don’t think I ever noticed a water tower before, now when we drive on trips I’ll point them out and say ‘you know, that one could be this… or wouldn’t it look great as that,’” Donna explained. “One community was known 32 • First Quarter 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2010

Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2010
Table of Contents
From the President
H2O-XPO to Waterpro
The Utility Perspective
The State Rural Water Association Perspective
The Washington DC Perspective
Recent Drinking Water Quality Claims Unfounded
Telling Our Story: The City of Risk
Finding Art in Unexpected Places
Regulatory Update
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers
From the CEO

Rural Water - Quarter 1, 2010