Roanoke City wants you to decorate city's "hidden" storm drains

ROANOKE CITY, Va. (WDBJ7) - Roanoke City wants your help to beautify the city's storm drains.

The drains are so commonplace you probably don't even notice them.
And that's why the Roanoke Arts Commission is pairing up with the Stormwater division. Both groups want to bring attention to the drains by inviting locals to paint them.

"The goal is to add public art to the city of course, but also to educate about the fact that everything that washes off the road, washes down into our storm drains, eventually goes into our water supply," said Susan Jennings, the city's Arts and Culture Coordinator. "So we need to be conscious and thoughtful about that."

According to city officials, few people realize that litter, trash and other pollutants left on city streets will wash into creeks, streams or the Roanoke River. Jennings said leaders in the Stormwater division saw this visual expression being implemented successfully in other cities and wanted to bring it to Roanoke.

"We've done snow plows and rain barrels in the past," Jennings said of previous beautification projects. "And it lets people know that public art is not just a painting on a wall or a statue. It can be all sorts of things."

There are six drains available for beautification scattered throughout the city. City crews will pre-wash each of the designated drains.

Each selected artist will receive a $400 honorarium to complete the project

Anyone interested needs to submit a draft design to the stormwater division by November 21.

Submissions can be emailed to

More information can be found by clicking the link attached.