Storm Drain Art

Superior Art to Protect Superior Water!


The US Environmental Protection Agency has identified stormwater as the biggest pollution threat to surface water nationwide. As stormwater flows over the ground it picks up any pollutants in its path, including common non-point pollution such as litter, pet waste, oil, excess nutrients, and sediment. Within the City of Superior, there are over 3,000 storm drains conveying stormwater, untreated in most cases, to the nearest stream and ultimately Lake Superior. A common misconception among the public is that stormwater is cleaned at the wastewater treatment plant before reaching Lake Superior. As part of the City’s stormwater management team we work to address these misconceptions, maintain infrastructure, and minimize stormwater pollution throughout the City.

The Storm Drain Art Project's goal is to work with artists to bring attention to storm drains and increase public understanding of the direct connection between storm drains and the nearest lake or stream through storm drain art. 

All painting supplies, site selection, and safety equipment will be provided by the City of Superior.

Who is eligible? 

Individuals living, working, or attending school in Superior, and Native American/Indigenous people living in the ceded territory of the Lake Superior watershed are eligible to submit a design of their proposed storm drain painting. Outdoor art and painting experience is preferred but not required. 12 finalists will be selected within a week following the submission deadline (August 1st) and will be assigned to a designated storm drain for painting (to be completed by September 26th). Of those 12 artists, 2 spots will be reserved for each of the following categories:

  • Professional artists
  • Amateur artists
  • Students

Key Dates: 

  • August 1, 2018: Art submission Deadline
  • Mid-August (specific data TBD based on artists' availability): A design workshop will be held for all selected artists. A water resource specialist from the City’s Stormwater staff will provide additional background information about urban stormwater infrastructure and a local art education specialist will help facilitate a collaborative design activity. Professional artists will work alongside novice artists to discuss design improvements and techniques for implementing the pre-approved designs. 
  • Sept. 1-23: Sidewalks near the selected storm drain sites will be power-washed by the city. Painting of murals will be complete by Sunday, Sept. 23rd
  • Oct. 10-14, 2018: Art opening highlighting the project will be on display in a Superior Art Gallery in mid-October.

Submission Requirements:

Complete the Storm Drain Art Submission Form.  There is an "Upload Artwork" option on this form to electronically submit artwork. The submission form can also be downloaded, printed out, and submitted with hard copy of art work. Artists can submit up to 3 proposed storm drain art ideas as sketches or full color images. Designs that illustrate our connection to water, including Lake Superior and surrounding streams and/or the role of urban water infrastructure, are highly encouraged. Artists will be selected based on meeting eligibility requirements and quality of art/design idea(s) they submit.

Submission form and artwork must be received by August 1st, 2018 for consideration.

Artwork can be downsized for ease of submission but actual artwork, as applied to sidewalks, will be approximately 3'x4'

Submission Forms can be completed online, emailed, or mailed  to Andrea at the City of Superior - ESD. Contact her at: 

StormDrainArt_RavenFoxStormDrainArt_Aye2014 Storm Drain Art

In 2014 the City of Superior worked with six local artist to bring public art to Superior via the Storm Drain Art project. This resulted in six sidewalk murals throughout Superior which bring attention to storm drains and increase understanding of the direct connection between storm drains and the nearest lake or stream. Read about the 2014 Storm Drain Art project.