A Geneva fire hydrant can be the canvas for your creative vision.
The new "Art on Fire" program will let people "be hands-on artistes and add a little bit of whimsy to our town," said Mayor Kevin Burns, who proposed the program to the city's Cultural Arts Commission and the fire department.
Burns painted the program as an "extrapolation" of the city's "Art for All" program, wherein schoolchildren supply art that is displayed in the City Hall.
Arts commission Chairman Tim Vetang added, "This should be kind of neat. It lets anybody be an artist."
The city is kicking it off with a contest. Would-be artists must fill out an application, sign a waiver of liability, and submit a drawing of their design for approval before they paint. Designs that would camouflage the hydrant will not be allowed, and no more than 20 percent of a hydrant can be painted black. Advertising will not be allowed, either.
The painter must supply the paint, an oil-based enamel designed for use on metal.
Applications are due Aug. 30. They are available on the city website, geneva.il.us.
"I just think it will be a lot of fun," Burns said. He intends to paint a hydrant.
Burns envisions schools, blocks and community groups adopting hydrants. And the city will print a guide to the hydrants for visitors.
"I think it is a great way to involve the community as a whole," he said.
Geneva has about 1,800 hydrants.
Chicago has recently announced a hydrant art program, but in that case, it involves 101 larger-than-life replica fire hydrants, honoring the city's fire stations.