Local Artists Chosen To Beautify Storm Drains


All entries of the Storm Drain Art Project currently are on display at Richmond City Hall, on the Marshall Street side between Room 102 and 100.
  • All entries of the Storm Drain Art Project currently are on display at Richmond City Hall, on the Marshall Street side between Room 102 and 100.

I've heard plenty artists say their career is down the drain.

But a new project is twisting those words into something positive -- excuse me, educational even.

RVAH2O, an initiative of the City of Richmond’s Department of Public Utilities, has selected their five local artists to paint the downtown storm drains in the Storm Drain Art Project. The project received 55 entries, all of which are currently on display in Richmond City Hall (see photo).

The project to paint the downtown storm drains flowing into the James River is part of an education initiative to influence city residents about the importance of keeping our rivers, streams and waterways pollution-free.

The artists will be painting the drains between July 13 and July 18. You can check out the winning designs here.

Here are your five winners:

“You drop it, I drink it,” Abby Klein

“ONLY RAIN IN THE DRAIN,” Richard Lucente

“ENDANGERED,” Alfonso Perez Acosta

“CLEAN through the drain,” Melissa Greedy

“The James,” Nicole Gomez

According to a press release: “Many of the entries combined artistic elements with the project’s criteria, such as the variety of birds and fish that rely on the James River’s pristine ecosystems and habitats, as well as city landmarks, such as the Lee Bridge and the downtown skyline,” said Jonét Prévost-White, CFM, Operations Manager, Department of Public Utilities, City of Richmond, and a member of the Storm Drain Art judges panel. “We hope to find more opportunities for storm drain art around Richmond.”

The panel of judges included members of the Richmond Public Art Commission and members of the Richmond DPU stormwater team.

And yet there is more from the press release:

“Our Department of Public Utilities has taken a very fun and creative approach to educate our citizens on the importance of keeping our streets and waterways pollution-free,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “DPU is placing a strong message on our downtown storm drains as they are transformed into beautiful canvases of art, and I know the public will benefit from this project.”

Each artist will be assigned a downtown storm drain to paint in July. All five drains are located along Tredegar Street from the American Civil War Center at Tredegar to Brown’s Island, and all flow directly into the James River. Artists will be compensated with a $300 stipend for their work and materials, like 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.

Richmond 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. Once the storm drain painting is complete, RVAH2O will engage Richmonders to vote on their favorite storm drain design. The “RVAH2O Fan Favorite” artist will receive a $200 prize; they also will be recognized prominently on DPU and RVAH2O websites, posters, flyers and social media

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