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 will continue in 2017 by adding five more inlets in the downtown area to the program. To find out more about the project please visit


April 17, 2017: Project announcement
May 8, 2017 5:00 p.m.: Submission deadline
May 16, 2017: Design selection
June 5-9, 2017: Storm inlet painting (*weather permitting)

Design Details:

 The purpose of the design should focus on water quality issues related to waterways or storm drains. This year’s theme is “The Big Sioux Needs You!” The design should warn against undesirable waste in the storm drain including litter, pet waste, oil, chemicals, and yard waste. Or, the design can communicate how the storm drain leads to the Big Sioux River.

Submitted designs must be completed and in color. Submissions must include an attachment of one 8.5” x 11” illustration or photograph of the proposed artwork to keep on file. Artists may submit multiple entries. Only one entry per artist may be selected. Designs should include the entire top portion of the inlet lid. Manhole covers may also be painted. Painting the adjacent sidewalk or any area outside of the inlet lid will not be allowed. Also, painting the inside of the inlet will not be allowed.

Selected artists will be provided paints for the designs which have been generously donated by Norberg Paints. Photos of the selected and completed storm drains will be posted to the City’s website and social media accounts. Each of the five selected artists will receive $200 compensation for their design and painting. Inlet covers will be prepped for painting by City staff with a clear prime coat. There will be an inlet reserved for youth submissions under the age of 18. If you or your organization would like to be considered for this category, please indicate this on your application submission. 

Please contact the City of Sioux Falls Public Works Environmental division with any questions regarding your design.

Application Process:

Submissions may be hand delivered or mailed to Jessica Lantgen at 1017 East Chambers Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57104, or emailed to with the subject “Storm Inlet Painting Submission”. Designs must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on May 8, 2017. The following information must be included for your submission to be considered:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Preferred phone number
  • Link to Portfolio (or attach/include design[s])
  • Short statement about inspiration for design
  • Attached colored 8.5” x 11” illustration or photograph of artwork to keep on file
  • Indicate if you’re submitting as an adult or youth (under 18 years old) category

Judging/Awards Criteria:

The design submissions will be juried by the Sioux Falls Visual Arts Commission in partnership with the Sioux Falls Sustainability Program. Selection criteria will include, but not be limited to, the following:

  1. Appropriateness—How is the content or obvious symbolism of the proposed piece of artwork appropriate for those who will view the art, and is it within the context of the site where it will be viewed? Is the artwork in concert with the theme?
  2. Relevance—Does the artwork seem particularly relevant to the place where it will be displayed or the public who will view it?
  3. Site plan—Does the scale of the artwork fit appropriately within and complement and/or enhance the physical location where it will be placed?
  4. Visibility/impact—Does the proposed location offer high visibility and/or impact to the public?


Jessica Lantgen
City of Sioux Falls
1017 E Chambers Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Map of Locations of 2016 Storm Inlet Art Project

2017 Potential Storm Inlet Locations

Design Inspiration

2016 Painted Inlets

Sioux Falls Design Center

Artist: Kellen Boice, Director

Design is everywhere. This can be seen in nature as we find natural occurrences of the Fibonacci sequence or Golden Ratio. The image depicts this with a giant snail slithering across the storm inlet as its shell turns into the Golden Ratio to show off these connections in a fun way. 

Raven Industries

Artist (design):  Dan Hepner

I thought of the painting as a fun project, if I could find the time and get some help with it. We have a good crew of artists to get this done. I am excited to start this. I wanted to show a big South Dakota sky overlooking some river wetlands.  I wanted to have some of the wildlife that call the Big Sioux River home in it too.   When I looked at our storm drain site, I saw there was a manhole cover in it. After a little thought, it looked like it would be perfect for a dragonfly head.     

Coffea Roasterie

Artist: Laura Sinkgraven and Kevin Caraway
We felt that it was important to capture in the design the fact that the storm drains lead directly to the river. Most people, when they think of the river in Sioux Falls, imagine Falls Park. The design of a water fall, therefore, symbolizes the falls as though you are looking down at them. Hopefully this image will help people to realize that when they drop something into the drain, it essentially is dropped into the falls.

Friends of the Big Sioux

Artist: Karen Meyer

Friends of the Big Sioux River

My inspiration for my art is the greenbelt. I want to incorporate something that utilizes the river and has a constant presence and the Canadian goose came to mind. 



Koch Hazard Architects

Artist: Sandra Callies

 Water is our most important natural resource, and it no longer inexhaustible. Basin-scale water use maps can help us understand how water is used and evaluate aquifer depletions (GISuser). The High Plains areas are abnormally dry from the U.S. Drought Monitor and major corn, soybean, hay, and cattle areas are affected (U.S. Drought). States including South Dakota contribute to global agriculture feeding people and livestock around the world at the price of polluting our local water.

Koch Hazard Architects

By participating in the Storm Inlet Painting Project, I hope to bring awareness to these complex issues our water and community faces.

Painting with watercolors, tint and shade create a 3-dimensional water droplet floating on the surface of the state of South Dakota. I have been very inspired by Sharon Day of Minnesota leading Nibi (Water) Walks on Rivers across the Midwest. “Nibi Walks are indigenous-led, extended ceremonies to pray for the water. Every step is a taken in prayer and gratitude for water, our life giving force” (Nibi Walk). By thinking of Sharon Day and her dedication to our natural resource, the Water, I highlighted the Missouri and Big Sioux Rivers. Let’s stand together and PROTECT THE BIG SIOUX!



Artist: Ruth Sturm 

What Inspired This Artwork: As new downtown building owners and enthusiastic Sioux Falls residents, we wanted to remind city dwellers of the connection between inlet drains and wildlife. It is easy to forget that littering or dumping liquids down the storm drain has a direct effect on integral parts of our environment, such as fish and birds. Our design strives to make that effect visible. 




Co-op Natural Foods

Artist: Lilia Baltazar


Individual Artist Contribution

Artist: Karen Meyer

My inspiration for my design is focused on the water fowl of the Big Sioux River. They are the immediate visual users of the Big Sioux and they are an important part of that ecosystem.  

Artist: Karen Meyer


Artist: Myah Dinger

The inspiration for this design just popped into my head while I was sketching some ideas and when looking at the slogans you guys have up; your "rain only" slogan helped me into creating this rain scene and making a small puddle of rain water, going into the storm drain, and heading to the Big Sioux, my slogan for this is "No Chemical Waste; Rain Water Only; Protect the Big Sioux.”