Stormwater Enterprise engages local artists in sponsored storm drain program

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painting of mermaid on storm drain

Mermaid in front of Bonnie and Reed is the latest example of creative arts and conservation partnership

Patrons to the downtown area will notice a two-car-length, colorful mermaid donning a t-shirt that reminds passersby not to litter in the storm drain. The artwork is part of the Stormwater Enterprise’s federally-mandated education campaign to inform residents about the negative impacts of illegal or improper dumping.

The mermaid drain art was commissioned by Bonny & Read LLC, the restaurant occupying the adjacent building, and painted by local artist Elizabeth Selby. The cost of such an installation is typically $500, with $300 going to the local artist who creates the painting, and the additional $200 funding materials and installation. Thanks to a new medium, installation is expected to last for one to three years. Art is created on a traditional canvas with traditional supplies – oil painting in the case of the mermaid – then an image of that painting is transferred to the new medium – which is a durable sticker material. Companies or individuals who are interested in sponsoring “drain art” can contact the Stormwater Enterprise.

Corporate or commercial logos are prohibited and water-related and educational messaging is strongly encouraged and may be required.

“It’s absolutely vital that we educate the community about the damaging impacts of putting improper items or waste into our storm drains,” said Jerry Cordova, who is managing the program. “To do it in a way that elevates our local art scene and beautifies our streetscape has been a lot of fun, and really adds to the atmosphere.”

Although the initial applications have been downtown and in the Southeast, any large storm drain can be considered for the program. To learn more, contact

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