BREWTON, Ala. (WKRG) — A program started in 2015 has added art to Downtown Brewton while making the place cleaner. Burn barrels destined for recycling are painted into works of art and used as trashcans around the town.

“There was a litter problem here. Most towns have litter and we were trying to figure out a way to both bring public art into the city and also combat that littering problem,” said Connie Baggett, director of program management. “There was a company in town natural decorations incorporated that had these barrels that they usually just took to recycling. So I begged for a few of them from them. And that’s how it was born.”

The trashcans are painted by local artists, volunteers, and school kids, Baggett said

“It is completely up to the artist. We have everything from dragons to cartoon characters, it’s just really anything you can think of. We’ve got these masterworks some people do. We have some other words that are just any cartoon character or movie character. We had somebody that redid the Morton salt box on one,” said Baggett.

Baggett said the trend has caught on since Brewton started the idea.

“The litter problem did get better everywhere we put one at least you have the opportunity for somebody to put their trash in the barrel rather than just throwing it down. So it’s been a very effective way to accomplish both of those goals, and we’ve had other communities across the country really, that that have copied what we’ve done.”

The most they have had is nearly 78 trashcans, right now after the latest additions, Brewton has 25-30.

“About every two years we go out and secure some more barrels to put into circulation. It takes about two years for them to start to deteriorate, and then we retire them out and replace them,” said Baggett.

The barrels are sent for recycling once they are taken off the streets. Baggett said this project has been a success and they are not done adding art around town.

“We also do have some sculpted art that should be showing up probably within the next few months. Hopefully, so we’ve got a couple of other fun things in the works that’ll be public art on display in addition to the cans,” said Baggett.

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