Ohio University

Aerial View of Acid Mine Drainage near Oreton, Ohio

John Sabraw – Art and Innovation

John Sabraw – Art and Innovation

Support our hard-working community of art and science students, volunteers and local citizens in making the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers healthier ecosystems, through the John Sabraw Art and Innovation Fund now. 

 

Give online now by selecting the "John Sabraw Arts and Innovation" Fund 
in the "Choose a Fund" drop down menu using the link below!


Donate Now


 

 

Throughout Central Appalachia and beyond, abandoned coal mines release acid mine drainage into the vast network of surrounding streams, harming aquatic life and the promise of clean water.

Where many may have seen despair, a few saw great opportunity.

Guy Riefler, a civil engineering professor at Ohio University invented a process to collect the contaminated water, filter out the iron, and gift the clean water back to nature. Enter artist and professor John Sabraw, who recognized the potential for the colored waste. The two created teams of art and engineering students who worked on site and in the university’s labs to wash the filtered iron, dry it, and finally grind it into iron oxide pigments. They were joined by Michelle Shively, Sunday Creek Watershed Coordinator and Rural Action.

Iron oxides make beautiful, lightfast and safe oil colors

Reclaimed iron oxide pigments being prepared.
Reclaimed iron oxide pigments being prepared. Photo by John Sabraw.
Gamblin Reclaimed Earth Colors
Gamblin Reclaimed Earth Colors

Gamblin Reclaimed Earth Colors

Every speck of pigment in these tubes has been painstakingly reclaimed from waters tainted by iron released from historical coal mines in rural Ohio.

This set of Reclaimed Earth Colors is the first product to come out of John and Guy’s efforts to capture iron at its source. A full-scale True Pigments water treatment facility is in the works to further clean the region’s waterways, treating the largest acid mine drainage discharge in the state of Ohio, and provide iron oxide pigments to other industries.

Your Donations at Work

Your donation supports this hard-working community of art and science students, volunteers and local citizens to make the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers healthier ecosystems.

 

Give online now by selecting the "John Sabraw Arts and Innovation" Fund 
in the "Choose a Fund" drop down menu using the link below!


Donate Now

 

Art and Innovation in the News

TED talk: https://youtu.be/6Qz1HVcRu7g
The Grist: https://grist.org/justice/coal-pollution-turned-an-appalachian-creek-orange-locals-are-using-it-to-make-paint/
BBC Radio's Art of Now: Filth https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000dpjh

John Sabraw, Michelle Shively, Guy Riefler and our Americorps and Rural Action volunteers at the Corning, Ohio acid mine seep.
John Sabraw, Michelle Shively, Guy Riefler and our Americorps and Rural Action volunteers at the Corning, Ohio acid mine seep.