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The streets and sidewalks of Lynchburg are connected to the James River by a network of over 15,000 stormwater drains.

Whenever it rains, all the water—and whatever else is in the drain, including trash, oil, gasoline, and natural debris—is carried directly to the James River. In order to raise awareness about the importance of stormwater drains in keeping the James River clean, Lynchburg Water Resources and the James River Council for the Arts and Humanities (JRCAH) are inviting artists to submit designs for storm drain art in downtown Lynchburg.

2018 Finalists

Lynchburg Water Resources and the James River Council for the Arts and Humanities (JRCAH) are pleased to announce the following seven finalists for the ArtStorm Downtown Lynchburg Storm Drain Art Project (#ArtStormLYH):

Each artist’s original work will be painted on individual stormwater drains located throughout downtown Lynchburg in August 2018 and showcased during Get Downtown on September 7, 2018.

The goal of this first annual art project is to highlight the partnership between environmental stewardship and the arts in Lynchburg. "Teaming up with Water Resources to bring more public art to Lynchburg was a natural fit for us," said Jennifer Woofter, Board President of the James River Council for the Arts and Humanities. "By installing original art on storm drains, we help continue to make Downtown a vibrant and fun place to visit. Raising awareness about the importance of clean waterways is icing on the cake."

Each original storm drain mural will feature a theme inclusive of the James River, environmental protection, or stormwater pollution. With the overarching theme, “Only Rain Down the Drain,” ArtStorm hopes to bring playful awareness to the need to protect our storm drains from litter, harmful substances (like oil, gasoline, fertilizers, or powerwashing chemicals), and debris (grass clippings, leaves, and gravel).

“Everything that goes down a storm drain goes straight to the nearest creek,” said Erin Hawkins, Stormwater Program Manager for Lynchburg Water Resources. “By raising awareness of this issue we are protecting the water quality of our streams. No matter what draws us to the river, we each have a role to play in keeping our streams clean and safe.”

The public is invited to view the artists at work at various locations throughout Downtown Lynchburg on Saturday August 11, August 18, and August 25. On September 7, during Get Downtown, the public is invited to vote for their favorite storm drain in the Fan Favorite competition at the Lynchburg Water Resources booth. The Fan Favorite will win a $100 gift card to The Art Box in Downtown Lynchburg. Additionally, throughout August and the Get Downtown event, anyone who takes a selfie or photo of an ArtStorm drain and uses the hashtag #ArtStormLYH on Instagram will be automatically entered for a Downtown Lynchburg, JRCAH, and Lynchburg Water Resources gift bag.

Project Guidelines:

When designing your artwork, you’re encouraged to consider the following themes:

  • Stormwater Pollution: “Only Rain Down the Drain”
  • Environmental Protection: Why clean water is important for everyone
  • James River/Lynchburg Ecosystem: Local wildlife/habitat, natural beauty
  • Your design should include a message or phrase that references one or more of the above.

Designs must also adhere to the following criteria:

Use the attached template to propose design concepts. Despite the various storm drain shapes, we’ll prepare and seal the sidewalk surrounding the drains to ensure that they are a rectangular shape. Be mindful that some changes to your design may be required to accommodate the specific location.

If there is a particular storm drain that you would like for your design, please let us know in your application. (Reference: Map of Storm Drain Locations)


Each storm drain is made of concrete with a metal manhole cover on top. The shape of the drain is a rectangle. On average, the drains measure approximately 108” x 36”. Please use the 2018 Storm Drain Art Template as a guide.

Designs must be painted on the area surrounding the drain and must also incorporate the manhole itself.

Designs may not contain any business promotions or advertisements.

Designs may not include any breach of intellectual property, brands or trademarks, or depictions of illegal activity.

Designs may not incorporate any physical objects attached to the drains.

Designs must be public friendly with no vulgar or lewd language or representations.

If the final design differs greatly from the proposed design, the City of Lynchburg reserves the right to remove the artwork.

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Seven storm drains throughout Downtown Lynchburg are set to be included in the project.

Get involved:



  • Art must be submitted by June 30.
  • Winners announced in July.
  • Installation by August 31.