Storm Drain Art Project
History of Project
This project began in 2014, when six chosen artists installed their original designs around the City of Superior. The second Storm Drain Art Project was in 2018. Six more murals were installed by local artists and residents. Additionally, in 2020, one more storm drain art mural was painted. Currently, there are 9 storm drain murals that are revitalized or installed in 2022.
Why is this project important?
The City of Superior, WI is surrounded by water. Seven main streams twist and turn through the city limits before entering Lake Superior (in Ojibwe, Gichigami, meaning “a sea, a large lake”), the largest of the five Great Lakes and the largest freshwater lake in the world (by surface area). These urban streams serve double-duty as naturally occurring aquatic habitats but also as part of the City of Superior's stormwater conveyance system. Storm drains or ditches direct stormwater (rain and snowmelt) from the streets to Superior’s streams, the St. Louis River Estuary, and eventually, Lake Superior.
Stormwater runoff is one of the leading causes of surface water pollution, and education and outreach are key components of any successful stormwater program. The 2022 Storm Drain Art Project had five (5) returning artists that have designed and installed murals in Downtown Superior.
We believe that storm drain art can increase the understanding that storm drains are a direct connection between our streets and streams. We believe in the power of local art and this Storm Drain Art Project is a way to bring positive messaging about stormwater and storm drains through Superior’s collective spirit.
2022 Storm Drain Art Project
The City of Superior Environmental Services Division (ESD) led a 2022 Storm Drain Art Project with support from the NW WI Lung Health Alliance (LHA) and a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. ESD has worked with local artists, businesses, and organizations in Superior, to create a community-oriented project and raise awareness about stormwater pollution.