For the third year in a row many of the storm sewer inlets along downtown Sioux Falls streets will be painted by local artists to draw attention to the city’s storm drainage system and the water quality of the Big Sioux River.

'A Call for Art' went out in April and designs were selected in May by a subcommittee of the Visual Arts Commission in partnership with the City of Sioux Falls. Artists will begin painting the new inlets in downtown this week.

Artwork was selected based on appropriateness of the content, relevance to the area and audience, site plan, visibility and impact. The project also included a youth category in which individuals under the age of 18 were encouraged to apply.

A map with the storm inlet paintings can be found at Photos of the artwork will be uploaded to the web page once all the painting is complete.

Sioux Falls Sustainability Coordinator Jessica Sexe says their hope is that the art on these storm drains will bring attention to the purpose of the inlets and get people to think more about what's going into the Big Sioux River.

“A common misconception is that storm drains lead to the sanitary sewer system and the water that flows down these drains gets treated. That’s not the case, water that flows down the storm drains actually leads directly to the Big Sioux River with little or no treatment. As the storm water washes over the pavement it carries with it everything the water picks up. This includes litter, pollutants, pet waste and sediment."

Norberg Paints donated all of the supplies for the project, including a special sealant that will be applied once all of the paintings are complete to help keep the murals intact. The hope is to continue the project each year, raising awareness about water quality.

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