Artists sought for second round of storm drain murals

Leah Saffian’s “Salamander” mural is located on the north side of the Frisco Trail crossing at Maple Street.

Photo by Todd Gill, Flyer staff

Area residents can expect to see more storm drain inlets receive makeovers this spring.

Officials with UpStream Art, a public art and awareness project, are seeking artists to paint new murals on various storm drain covers throughout Northwest Arkansas.

The project, inspired by a similar campaign in Springfield, Mo., was started last year by local stormwater educators who hope to help bring attention to what goes down the area’s municipal storm drains and warn of the potential for pollution.

Bill Ward paints a mural on a drain inlet near the Fayetteville Public Library.

Flyer photo

“Water is like a magnet, picking up everything in its path,” said Jane Maginot, extension urban stormwater educator for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “When it rains, water picks up pollutants and takes them into our storm drains which flow untreated to our creeks and streams.”

Maginot said there’s a common misconception that storm drains are part of the sanitary sewer system that lead to the wastewater treatment plant. Because of this, people sometimes use storm drains to dispose of waste like soapy water, oil, paint, trash, and other pollutants which ultimately end up in our waterways. 

Eight murals were painted in last year on drains in Fayetteville, Springdale and the Rogers-Bentonville area.

A specialty concrete coating was applied to the areas once the artist’s acrylic paintings had dried. The sealant helps keep the artwork intact for several years, but UpStream officials plan to keep a close watch on the drains to make sure the paint doesn’t chip and end up in the drains.

The group hopes to add at least 14 paintings to the list in 2013 including four new murals in the downtown-Dickson area in Fayetteville. A full list of completed and planned murals is available on the project’s website.

Interested artists should contact Jane Maginot at 479-444-1755 or visit for more information. The deadline to apply is March 19.

Upcoming Fayetteville mural locations

Completed NWA mural locations

Bill Ward’s “H20nly” mural

Flyer photo

1. Maple Street/Frisco Trail crossing (north) by Leah Saffian
2. Maple Street/Frisco Trail crossing (south) by Leah Saffian
3. West Ave. & Mountain St. (Frisco Trail spur) by Bill Ward

1. George Elementary School (Powell St.) by Martin Newman
2. Shiloh Museum (W. Johnson Ave.) by Rust Studios

1. Dixie Cafe (4600 W. Rozell St.) by Renee Reed
2. Kirksey Middle School (2930 S. 1st St.) by Renee Reed

1. NE J St. @ J St. & John DeShields Blvd. (Between Orchards Park and Crystal Bridges entrance) by Rust Studios