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Richmond Storm Drain Contest Calls for Artists

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

“You are the Pollution Solution” Entries Due May 6

The RVAH2O Storm Drain Art Project today is launching an online call for entries, whereby local artists ages eighteen and up are invited to submit proposed designs. Entries should reflect the overall theme of “You are the Pollution Solution.” Artists are encouraged to think creatively and translate that creativity into a strong message that will cause others to think when they see the artwork reflected on the storm drains.

The entry deadline is Sunday, May 6, at 11:59 p.m. 

Stormwater is run-off 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, water sports 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 Rosemary Green, Interim Director, Department of Public Utilities, City of Richmond. “We’re pleased to continue our award winning Storm Drain Art Project this year. We see this as a creative way of continually educating and informing residents and visitors to our city about how important it is to keep trash and pollution out of our waterways.”

An independent panel of judges from DPU 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 beginning in June. 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 on Tredegar Street along the James River. Last year, five more drains were painted in and the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University at Grace and Harrison Streets. This year’s drains will be located in the Carytown area at South Sheppard and W Cary and S Belmont and West Cary Streets.

RVAH2O is a public education initiative dedicated to integrating drinking water, wastewater and stormwater under one watershed management program as a means of achieving cleaner water faster for Richmond residents. The Storm Drain Art Project is being conducted with permission from the Richmond Department of Public Works and the Richmond Public Art Commission.


RVAH2O is driven by the belief that every citizen of our city can make a difference and help us achieve the goal of cleaner water faster for all of Richmond. We’ve developed an innovative partnership between city government and passionate citizens, and we’re making progress every day to:

  •  Reduce pollution
  •  Decrease flooding
  •  Keep our waters fishable and swimmable

The City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities is developing a voluntary, collaborative long-term plan to bring cleaner water to all of RVA that includes a four-year process to seek an innovative permit issued by Virginia Department of Environmental Quality through its Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) program.

Follow RVAH2O on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

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