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Rain Art Creator Launches Global Effort

Peregrine Church
Rain art created by Peregrine Church

When it’s pouring down rain, a certain kind of art suddenly becomes visible on some sidewalks in Seattle. The stenciled images of things like giant rain drops can only be seen when the surface is wet.  A twenty-two-year-old Seattle man, Peregrine Church, created what he calls rainworks. Now, he’s taking his idea to the world beyond the Pacific Northwest. “Worry is a Misuse of the Imagination”  is a saying stenciled on a sidewalk near my office in Belltown in Seattle.

It's the work of Peregrine Church, who I profiled in a feature storyearlier this year for KPLU. He creates his art using an industrial waterproof coating. When it rains and the rest of the sidewalk turns dark, the section with the waterproof spray stays dry and light-colored and becomes readable. 

Since the KPLU feature aired in January, Church says a video of his work has gone viral.

“[It] went all around the Internet, then people started emailing us and messaging us, saying they wanted to do it themselves and could you make it for us here,” he said.

So Church started a Kickstarter campaign to launch a rainworks business. He was successful and he’ll soon be shipping rainworks kits to people around the world.

The kits include instructions and Church's own brand of sidewalk spray coating. He says there's a box that can be used to make stencils with. He says he'll ask people buying the kits to send pictures of what they create so he can map them.

"Basically, I want to see the map just populated with really cool designs by creative people from around the world,” Church said.

He has said his mission is to spread positive messages, to bring some brightness into our dark, rainy days. On his website, he promotes the idea. The tag line for his company is "Rain-activated positive messages and art."

But, he acknowledges there’s nothing he can do to prevent people from using his tool kit to write mean things on sidewalks or ads for local restaurants.

He says it’s something he had to come to terms with when he started his business.

Ultimately, he says he decided it wasn't something he could control.

"So, I’m not going to let it stress me out,” Church said.

And that is very much in keeping with his sidewalk message, "Worry is a Misuse of the Imagination."

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.