Four Local Artists to Paint Storm Drains on VCU Campus

May 25, 2017 · 2 minute read

Donna Bailey storm drain art design.

Storm drain art soon will become the latest genre to adorn the streets of VCU.

Through the RVAH2O Storm Drain Art Project, an initiative of the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities, four local Richmond artists have been selected to paint their message on storm drains to educate the public about the importance of keeping our river, waterways and streets pollution-free. These winning artists were among 24 entries in RVAH2O’s online contest issued by DPU in March 2017. They will paint four storm drains in the heart of VCU: along Harrison Street and adjacent to Grace Street.

RVAH2O’s online contest invited local artists ages 18 and up to submit design entries for the 2017 RVAH2O Storm Drain Art Project. Design criteria included depicting “It All Drains to the James”; environmental protection of waterways; and the James River’s ecosystem, natural habitats and wildlife.

The panel of judges included members of the Richmond Public Art Commission and members of the DPU stormwater team. The four winning artists are:

Donna Bailey, “It All Drains to the James”

Douglas Fuchs, “The James in the Drain”

Jenny Haebel, “Consider the River”

Alison Tinker, “Protect the River – It’s What You Otter Do!”

Donald Fuch’s storm drain art design.

Each artist will be assigned a storm drain to paint over two weekends: May 27-29 and June 3-4. Artists will be compensated with a $400 stipend for their work and materials, such as tools and brushes. They also will receive instruction on how to paint storm drains, which will include precautions to prevent paint from getting into the drain. DPU will provide each artist with non-slip paint, basic brushes and water tubs. DPU also will closely monitor the drain painting and will provide standard construction inlet protection (gutter buddies) for each drain, as well as small tents that the artists can use for shade and protection during the process.

This is the second consecutive year of the RVAH2O Storm Drain Art Project. In May 2016, six artists were selected to paint storm drains along Tredegar Street, adjacent to the James River. They remain today a visual reminder of the importance of the James River in our lives, as well as the lives of the plants, animals and fish that rely on the river for survival.