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Birmingham students’ artwork showcased at Coloring the Cahaba Art Fest on April 13
Photos by Karah Jackson
On Sunday, August 13, members of the Birmingham community and students from across Birmingham came together to support the Coloring the Cahaba Art Fest, hosted in the Friends Bookstore at Birmingham Public Library.
The Cahaba River is the longest free-flowing river in Alabama. The Cahaba flows through heavily populated areas in the Birmingham metropolitan area. It serves as the source of drinking water for over 1 million people and is also a popular canoeing destination.
According to the Cahaba River Society, the two most significant problems facing the Cahaba River are excessive amounts of siltation and nutrients. The 106 mile length of the Cahaba River is impaired due to excessive amounts of these pollutants.
The fundraiser was organized by UAB seniors Kaylyn Alexander, Justin Gilbert and Katie Stewart.
“We got involved with the Cahaba River Valley Society through a project for Dr. Wittig’s Public Relation’s Class,” Stewart, a communication and public relations major, said. “We had to choose a non-profit organization to work with for an entire year and help them improve with anything they were struggling with.“
“The river is not only huge resource for humans, but all species therefore we should treat it like it’s full of holy water,” Gilbert added.
Considering the number of people involved with this event, many share his sentiments.
The Fest received over 160 submissions, in mediums such as paintings, drawings, photography, 3D models and digital art.
Event donors included Alabama Theatre, Belk, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Cahaba Brewing Co., Carmike Cinemas, Chick-fil-A, McWane Science Center, Richard Joseph Salon Spa at Belk, Sloss Furnace and Whole Foods.
Students created their artwork based on the prompt, “How does the Cahaba River color your world?”
All artwork was available for purchase in a silent auction. 100% proceeds benefited Cahaba River Society to assist their preservation efforts.
Students’ artworks were printed in a book to be donated to the Birmingham Public Library and to the school with the most submissions. Prizes were awarded to the most creative artists in a competition with age categories.
“When we began organizing this event, we wanted to raise awareness of the Cahaba River society,” Stewart said.
“We also wanted to raise a sense of community involvement. Water pollution is a big issue,” Gilbert said.
Coloring the Cahaba Art Fest was made possible with the partnership of Cahaba River Society, Birmingham Public Library and Friends of the Birmingham Public Library.
About Cahaba River Society
Cahaba River Society’s mission is to restore and protect the Cahaba River and its rich diversity of life. The 501c3 nonprofit founded in 1988, is recognized nationally for river stewardship and is a leader promoting climate-resilient solutions for growing southeastern communities. CRS is committed to values of education to build knowledge and commitment to act, collaboration with many partners, which is essential to achieve real and lasting stewardship of the Cahaba and, most importantly, integrity to build the trust and relationships that yield collaboration.
About Birmingham Public Library
The mission of the Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library service to local citizens for lifelong learning, cultural enrichment and enjoyment. The Birmingham Public Library believes that building on its tradition of excellence and professional leadership will be indispensable in linking people with the universe of information. The Birmingham Public Library is committed to quality public service; reading; valuing and empowering employees; free and equal access to information and resources; leadership; honesty, integrity and responsibility; embracing diversity; collaboration and community partnership; and innovation in the delivery of library resources.
About Friends of the Birmingham Public Library
The Friends of the Birmingham Public Library is a member-driven structured nonprofit association of individuals providing for various special needs of the Birmingham Public Library through community-based efforts. They attend to the Library’s needs, generate new ideas, offer advice and encouragement, volunteer their time and energy, and secure financial support.