Blue dots create a rain shadow of water moving across the urban hardscape.


Philadelphia Mural Arts in collaboration with the Philadelphia Water Department

9th and Christian Streets  


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Thermoplastic, line striping paint reflectors

Street Lagoon is a high visual impact/ low cost art installation. It was developed to bring the community out to implement a colorful and lively lesson about water flow in the city.  The project gives pedestrians and drivers a sense of the rainwater’s path: from the beginning when it falls onto the sidewalk and road surface to the piped water running underground as storm water on its journey to the Delaware River. Even during dry weather, a sense of the passage of water remains.

The project gives pedestrians and drivers a sense of the rainwater’s path: falling onto the sidewalk and road surface, flowing underground in the sewer pipes, and then joining the Delaware River. This dry pool of blue reflective dots brings the sense of the water to the surface of the city street and connects the rain to the river.

Water once seeped and flowed through this formerly marshy landscape. There are no historic streams mapped in this part of the neighborhood; instead, the water table rose and fell with the Delaware River's tide. 

The project was thoroughly rooted in community participation: two neighborhood youth groups and members of the adjacent community garden all worked together to layout and install the artwork over a summer weekend.  

The street closure became a street festival. A local procession marching band performed on the street when the last “dot” was installed. 

The water creates a bridge across the street and shows the flow of rain water and waste water under the street flowing down east to the river.