Public Art With An Environmental Message
Friends of the St. Clair River has launched the Thumb Coast Storm Drain Art Project, a new public art initiative with an environmental message. Murals painted on sidewalks and streets are bringing awareness to the connectivity between storm drains and our rivers. A painted storm drain reminds us that what goes into the drain ends up in our rivers. untreated. Artist's designs reflect messages of keeping our water clean, like "only rain in the drain", "be the solution to pollution", and "we're all downstream". When people make the storm drain-river connection, they are more likely to help keep them clean. Dozens of youth and adult artists are bringing their art to life at twenty-five storm drain locations in Port Huron, St. Clair, and Marine City throughout the summer.
Storm Drain Artists at Work - Summer 2022
What is stormwater?
Stormwater (or polluted runoff) is rain and melting snow that flows over the ground. In our cities and towns, stormwater runs over pavement and parking lots, picking up oil, litter, fertilizers, E. coli, and other pollutants before flowing into a nearby river or stream. In more natural areas, like forests and wetlands, stormwater can soak into the ground. Anything that goes into a storm drain goes directly into a local stream, which eventually empties into the St. Clair River.
Watch this short, animated video that explains stormwater runoff:
Why is stormwater a problem?
When rainwater can’t soak into the ground, it runs along streets and parking lots and picks up pollutants. Water infrastructure— like storm drains, ditches and culverts — captures this rainfall and snowmelt into storm drains and pipes, and dumps it into rivers. The consequences of polluted runoff are closed beaches, loss of groundwater recharge, increased flooding, and contaminated water. When stormwater is managed properly, this water becomes a protected resource. However, when stormwater is treated like a waste product, it exacerbates flooding and becomes contaminated with pollutants.
How can a painting a storm drain help?
A painted storm drain reminds the community that what goes into the drain ends up in our rivers. When people make the storm drain-river connection, they are less likely to dump pollutants into storm drains and more likely to help keep them clean. Our rivers need you!
Design Sneak Peak
Amanda Rogers – Marine City
Amanda Rogers – St Clair
Avery Campbell – Port Huron
Corey Hostetter – Marine City
Donna Mitchell Collins – Port Huron
Donna Mitchell Collins – St Clair
Edward Lee – Port Huron
Ellen Conard – Port Huron
Grace Mason – St Clair
Josephine Dimick – Marine City
Kara Karacher – St Clair
Kayla Faust – Port Huron
Kayla Harms – St Clair
Leslie Cieplechowicz – Marine City
Logan Drinkwine – Marine City
Marilyn Wynne – Port Huron
Maxie Masters – Marine City
Maxie Masters – St Clair
Megan Strachan – Port Huron
Meghan Burns – St Clair
SK Mabry – Marine City
SK Mabry – Port Huron
Skyler Heslop – Marine City
Teagan Georgia – St Clair
The Thumb Coast Storm Drain Art Project is a public environmental art initiative with a call to action. Through art blended with education we can create positive change to improve waterways, protect fish and wildlife, and provide safe drinking water. This project pairs mentor artists working with youth to create career exposure and civic engagement opportunities.
The Storm Drain Art Project is spearheaded by Friends of the St. Clair River with collaboration from the River Rec Teen Zone, local Downtown Development Authorities, Blue Water Creatives, and the St. Clair Art Association. Representatives from each organization will determine the winning designs.
Funding for this project is provided by the Community Foundation of St. Clair County - Blue Water Arts Committee, River Rec Teen Zone, St. Clair Art Association, and the City of Port Huron. This is only the third project of it's kind in Michigan. - thank you for your support!
Founded in 2007, Friends of the St. Clair River is the Thumb Coast’s largest environmental nonprofit. Our mission is to protect and restore the St. Clair River watershed through community education, environmental monitoring, hands-on stewardship, and advocacy. We are committed to helping communities make the best decisions for rivers and clean water so that green solutions become the preferred way to improve our quality of life.
Questions? Reach out to Lydia Nicholas, Environmental Field Technician, at firstname.lastname@example.org