Downtown Storm Inlet Art Project

Storm Inlet Painting Project 2017

The City of Sioux Falls
In Partnership with the Visual Arts Commission

Purpose of Artwork:

The City of Sioux Falls’ storm drainage system is an important public utility and plays a vital role in public safety by quickly collecting water before it can accumulate and cause flooding. However, water that moves through the storm drainage system is discharged directly into the Big Sioux River with little or no treatment. To help raise awareness of the effect this has on water quality, the City of Sioux Falls partnered with local businesses, organizations, and individuals to paint murals on nine stormwater inlets downtown in 2016. The purpose of this project was to draw attention to the storm drainage system and to educate the public that stormwater is not treated. These paintings are intended to bring awareness to potential pollutants such as litter, debris, and hazardous chemicals entering the storm drainage system. This project continued in 2017 and five additional inlets were painted by individual artists on Main Avenue.

Design Inspiration

2017 Painted Inlets

Artist: Leah Simmons

Drawing my inspiration from sidewalk chalk artists and the great Dr. Seuss, my piece is focused on showing pedestrians the “face” of litter and other waste that ends up in the Big Sioux. I would like to position the piece in such a way as to appear to be looking up at the viewer, as if the storm inlet is more like an open square of water, polluted with the trash commonly throw in the street. Like the Lorax, my little sad-faced fish is trying his best to warn people of the impact of their actions, in a way that is easy to translate no matter what age the viewer.

Artist: Mealanie Ratzlaff

I wanted to do a design that focused on the fish that live in the river and give a visual to things that should not go in the drains. By keeping the bad out, we can preserve the beauty of the river. 

Melanie Ratzlaff

Artist: Rain White

I immediately thought of this idea when I heard of the project. It was inspired by one of my favorite artists who recently completed a series of drawings on the effects of poor environmental care on animals, using the contrasting colors of blue and red. The effect is quite dramatic, albeit simple. I drew a Walleye fish; common to our area, in blue. Then on the inside is filled with the type of trash that would typically get washed away off the street, in red...it ends up in the bellies of these beautiful fish, not to mention polluting our river. I hope the simple yet stark contrast will be a memorable visual for passersby. 

Rain White

Artist: ShaniaTran (youth submission)

I'm always inspired by hand drawings! I feel as though it captivates people to want to see the art piece and its message behind it.

Shania Tran