Call for Art: Help Paint Storm Drains for a Purpose

Sioux Falls, South Dakota: The City of Sioux Falls is calling on local artists to paint murals on storm drains as part of the annual Storm Inlet Painting Project. The project provides a distinctive canvas for public art, as well as an educational opportunity to highlight the need to protect our water systems.

Design proposals from organizations or individuals are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, June 29, 2020. Artists should propose an inlet location in their submission; location is contingent on City approval. Each proposal should include artwork that includes messages supporting water quality initiatives. The six winning artists will be selected by the City of Sioux Falls and the Sioux Falls Visual Arts Commission. Each winner will receive $200 compensation for the design and painting.

The project began in 2016 as a way to draw attention to the storm drainage system and to bring awareness to potential pollutants such as litter and debris that may enter the system. Since the program’s inception, 20 storm drain inlets along downtown Sioux Falls streets have been painted by local organizations and individuals. This year’s program includes the addition of six storm water inlets throughout Sioux Falls.

“This project is a great opportunity to raise awareness about water quality. Water that flows down the storm drains leads directly to the Big Sioux River, Skunk Creek, or other smaller local waterways without much treatment. As the storm water washes over the pavement, it carries with it everything the water picks up. This includes litter, pollutants, pet waste, and sediment. Our hope is that the art on these storm drains will bring attention to their purpose and help people to think twice about actions that may impact our storm sewer system,” says City of Sioux Falls Environmental Analyst Colin Chatterton.

The City is partnering with Norberg Paints who has donated the project supplies, including a special sealant that will be applied to the completed paintings to help keep the murals intact. When the artwork begins to fade, it will be completely removed to ensure the paint doesn’t end up in the storm drains.

For a map of inlet locations, photos of past entries, and other submission information, visit and select “Inlet Art Project.”

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