While I was musing aloud about transforming our city’s dingy old water tank into highway-visible public art to announce the opening of its first fine arts center next year, my son asked a very practical question:  how are you planning to get the paint up there?  Details, details, she says, waving her hands around in vague circles…then: enter a team of experts.

Among the latest round of Rockefeller Innovation Fund winners just announced, this one focuses on water as a resource:


THEY must know how to get the paint up there!  Right on time, so I can submit the idea as part of a collaborative proposal led by my neighbor and focused on the nexus of sustainability, aesthetics and civic pride to solve urban blight in West Haven, CT.   The big picture includes rain barrels for all – citizens, city parks and City Hall – and drought-resistant native plants on our classic New England Green.  Connecting these dots and others, we are responding to the Mayor’s Challenge, an exciting way to focus those rambling, summertime philosophical discussions over crushed ice, mint and lime:


Don’t creative people have a duty to respond to such challenges?  Oh my, did “creative” and “duty” just pop up in the same sentence?  Yeah, they did.  Still a few days to go before the deadline, and even if we don’t win, we can improve our capacity for big ideas and learn from each other along the way.

Meanwhile, after all these years I only just discovered the secret to a great water balloon fight, revealed by an eight-year-old:  fill the bucket with water first so the balloons don’t break.   DUH! to him, an innovation to me…

Here’s to the rest of a summer filled with ideas that refresh and inspire.