The Norman Arts Council, Public Arts Board and city of Norman have invited local artists to submit designs to transform storm drains into public art by Feb. 22.
Norman operates a series of underground pipes used to transport storm drain runoff to the nearest body of water. The water’s lack of treatment allows for different pollutants to enter the water supply. The Artful Inlets will raise awareness for the pollutants that go down the storm drains and impact local water quality.
The artists selected to design the five storm drains will paint during the 2nd Friday Art Walk in April. Traffic will be closed on Main Street that day for the artists safety while painting.
“We don’t have enough funding at the city level to ensure clean water, and so it’s really important that everybody in the community understands why the city might be asking for more money for water and for stormwater,” said Erinn Gavaghan, director of the Norman Arts Council.
The idea of storm drain artwork was first brought to the Norman Arts Council by a city council member, Kate Bierman, said Gavaghan. After seeing examples of this done in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the Norman Art Council brought the idea to Norman in an attempt to raise awareness of stormwater pollution.
“Trash on Main Street gets washed into our storm drains and that goes straight into our rivers and our creeks and pollutes them, and it’s very important that we are able to manage that,” Gavaghan said.
Any artist over 18 from Cleveland County is welcome to apply. Applications are available on the Norman Arts Council website. Design proposals must be submitted online by Feb. 22 to be considered. The installation of the artwork will be April 12-14.
The artwork must include the theme of stormwater pollution and/or environmental protection to educate masses on why clean water is important in Norman.