Storm Drain Mural Application

We are no longer accepting applications for this project.

Request for Proposals


Many people believe that pollutants that flow down storm drains will be treated at the water pollution control facility, and this assumption is not true. Storm drain contents flow directly to the Cedar River. Grease, cigarettes and trash dumping into storm drains is forbidden. The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, with support from the City of Cedar Rapids, is coordinating the creation of eight murals on storm drains in Downtown Cedar Rapids with the goal of visually transforming them and providing education around the storm water cycle.

This initiative began in Downtown Cedar Rapids last year with seven transformed storm drains, with the intent to beautify and educate those who come across them every day. As such, we are seeking proposals that harmonize the following elements: a connection to water, ecology, the environment, health, creativity and artistry. A written message is not required, but is an option. Some simple messaging examples are "A cleaner Cedar" or "H2Only." Artists are encouraged to look at other examples of storm drain art and let their creativity guide them.

Inspiration for this initiative was drawn from Richmond, VA, where storm drain murals are painted annually.
(See last year's entries!)

Rules & Requirements

Artists can submit up to 2 proposals. Proposals must be submitted by July 1, 2019. Artists must adhere to the following criteria while designing and submitting artwork:

  • 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
  • Design can extend in a 4 foot radius from the storm drain opening center, extending on to concrete, asphalt, and drain covers, however decorative pavers and grass may not be painted.
  • If the painted mural differs greatly from the proposed design, the Economic Alliance reserves the right to remove the artwork
  • If selected, the artist is required to paint their proposed design between the dates of July 29 - August 2.
  • Selected artists will be asked to complete the project in a 1-3 day window during that week that they choose in coordination with the Economic Alliance staff. This window of time is important so project sites can be protected from traffic
  • This window will also dictate when staff will clean and prime the site, coordinating with nearby businesses as needed, set up safety cones, and distribute paint, materials, and drinking water.

Grounds for disqualification of proposals:

  • Artwork submission may not include any type of promotion of a business, product or organization
  • Artwork submission must be an original design, and may not contain any copyrighted imagery
  • Artwork submission must be able to be painted by the person submitting

Selection Process

The City of Cedar Rapids' Visual Arts Commission (VAC) and panel of judges will evaluate each proposal and choose eight designs by July 11. Artists will be notified the week of July 15, 2019. General scoring categories will include:

  • Artist qualifications and previous work examples (if available)
  • Educational message
  • Creative use of space
  • Overall appeal
  • Place of residence (bonus if individual resides in Linn County)

Provisions for selected artists:

  • $500 stipend (per mural) following successful completion of mural(s)
  • Site preparation and finishing
    • Site and drain cleaning prior to painting
    • Primer applied
    • Waterproofing and traction sealers applied
  • Safety precautions
    • Site cordoned off by safety cones and tape
    • Site and artist will be protected from traffic
    • Water provided to artist
  • Paint will be provided to artist, with colors to include white, black, blue, red and yellow. The artist may only use the paint provided, and additional colors must be achieved by mixing provided colors.
  • Artist may use their own brushes


Each artist agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Economic Alliance and City of Cedar Rapids from any loss or damage, any and all third party claims, demands, actions, legal fees or costs for which the Artist is legally responsible, including those arising out of negligence, willful harm, or crimes by the Artist or the Artist’s employees, agent or subcontractors. This "hold harmless" agreement shall survive beyond the term of the Artist’s service contract.

The Economic Alliance and City of Cedar Rapids will not be liable or responsible for any bodily or personal injury or property damage of any nature that may be suffered by the Artist, their employees, agents or subcontractors in the performance of this Project, except to the extent of any negligence or misconduct on the part of the Economic Alliance or City of Cedar Rapids.

Vandalism and Maintenance
Artists should understand that the finished works will be on working drains and that time and weather will eventually cause artwork to fade. Artists should also be aware that vandalism could occur.

Artists must accept the possibility that their artwork may be altered, removed, or damaged at any time after completion.

Each artist further grants the Economic Alliance the following exclusive rights:
1. Reproduction (including electronic images) for educational and promotional purposes.
2. The right to remove the artwork (or sections of the artwork) from the site for the following reasons:

a. Endangerment of public safety
b. Damage to the drain (including vandalism) requiring repair or maintenance
c. Significant adverse public reaction
d. Replacement or maintenance of the drain

Drain Locations and Dimensions

There are a few varieties of drains that we will be working with. Depending on the site, the sidewalk, curb, drain cover, manhole cover, and street are available for painting. Three sites contain decorative pavers which cannot be painted on, and one site’s drain cover is surrounded by grass, which cannot be painted on.

From the opening of the drain, consider your site to be 4 feet in each direction. Some sites, as noted in the paragraph above, have grass or decorative pavers which cannot be painted on, so that means these sites’ murals will be smaller. Designs are encourage to take up the amount of space allowed. However, the space is not required to be fully painted, and the artist’s prerogative to creatively use the space is paramount. The drain itself can be incorporated in the mural.

Artwork Submission

Artists must submit a rendering of their design for consideration. This can be a drawing or digital artwork that best represents your idea to the judging panel. File size must be less than 20mb and can be submitted through this following form or emailed to Applications without a submitted rendering will not be considered.

Design Proposal Application Form

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