One Week Left to Enter Storm Drain Art Contest

April 12, 2017 · 2 minute read

RVAH2O, a local initiative by Richmond Department of Public Utilities to support watershed management efforts, is once again seeking local artists paint a strong message on city storm drains about keeping our streets and waterways clean.

One of last year’s storm drain art works. Credit: Justin Doyle

The RVAH2O Storm Drain Art Project today is launching an online call for entries, whereby local artists ages 18+ are invited to submit proposed designs. Entries should reflect the overall theme of “It All Drains to the James” and include elements showing natural habitats; water and the species the river supports; and environmental stewardship. The entry deadline is Monday, April 17, at 11:59 p.m.

Stormwater is runoff from rain or snow. Along the way, it picks up dirt, trash, oil, grease, pesticides, fertilizers, pet waste and other pollutants. Eventually, this enters storm drains that flow into waterways. This impacts the James River, one of Richmond’s greatest natural assets adored not only for its natural beauty and species, but also for swimming, watersports and fishing.

“Educating our city on the subject of clean waterways is very important for a sustainable water resource. By using art on storm drains to share our message, we’ve connected people with this purpose,” said Robert Steidel, Director, Department of Public Utilities, City of Richmond. “We’re delighted to continue our award winning Storm Drain Art Project this year, as a means of continually educating and informing Richmonders and visitors to our city to do their part in keeping trash and pollution out of our waterways.”

An independent panel of judges from DPU and the Richmond Public Art Commission will judge the entries and will select four winning designs. The winning artists will be asked to paint storm drains flowing into the James River in late May.

Each artist who is selected will be compensated with a $400 stipend for their work and materials, like tools and brushes. Richmond DPU will provide non-slip paint, basic brushes and water tubs.

In 2016, Richmond DPU launched the city’s first-ever Storm Drain Art Project, which garnered 55 submissions from local artists. A panel of judges, including the Richmond Public Art Commission, chose five winners and one alternate to paint their art on storm drains along a half-mile stretch of Tredegar Street in downtown Richmond.

“Even in our first year, we were astounded by the interest from local artists, and by the quality of their entries,” noted Steidel. “We were impressed by the enthusiasm expressed by hundreds of citizens who not only walked along Tredegar Street to view the art, but who also responded by voting online for their ‘Fan Favorite’.”