Call for Art—Help Paint Storm Drains for a Purpose

The City of Sioux Falls Environmental Division announces a call for local artists to paint five storm inlets throughout Sioux Falls. Since the program’s inception in 2016, 13 storm water inlets along downtown Sioux Falls streets have been painted by local organizations and individual artists to draw attention to the City’s storm drainage system. Organizations and artists submit approved artwork that included messages supporting water quality initiatives. A map with the storm inlets and photos of the artwork can be found at

“A common misconception is that storm drains lead to the sanitary sewer system and that water that flows down these drains gets treated. That’s not the case—water that flows down the storm drains actually leads directly to the Big Sioux River with little or no 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—and discharges it into the waterways. Our hope is that the art on these storm drains will bring attention to their purpose and prevent some of the pollutants from being discharged back into the Big Sioux,” says City of Sioux Falls Sustainability Coordinator Jessica Sexe.

The five storm drain inlets are available for organizations or individuals to submit design proposals. This year, artists also are asked to propose an inlet location. Location is contingent on City approval. The designs will be reviewed, and the five winning artists will be selected by the City of Sioux Falls and the Visual Arts Commission. The five winning artists will each receive $200 compensation. To submit a design proposal, please see the Call for Art on Proposals are due by 5 p.m. on May 14.

The City partnered with Norberg Paints, who has donated all of the supplies for the project, including a special sealant that will be applied once all of the paintings are complete 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. The City hopes to continue this project each year to continue to raise awareness about water quality.

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