» Call for inlet art! Use your creativity to help keep our river clean


The City of Roanoke is seeking up to eight artists or artist teams to transform storm drains in the City of Roanoke into works of art. Artists will be provided materials, safety equipment, and an honorarium of $400 for their work.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Imagine what artists could communicate about improving Roanoke’s water quality. Creating Inlet Art will not only draw attention to storm drains “hidden” within the City sidewalks, but will also raise awareness about storm water pollution. Few people realize that litter, trash, and other pollution sources like sediment, bacteria, oils, and yard waste left on City streets wash untreated into the nearest creek, stream, or the Roanoke River.

This is the third round of a successful project in raising awareness through visual expression and an effective next step in preventing storm water pollution from entering Roanoke’s waterways.



  1. The selected artist shall be responsible for picking up the paint and sealer.
  2. The paint comes in five colors (Red, Yellow, Blue, Black and white) that the Successful Offeror shall use to create their own palette.
  3. The selected artist shall be given a clear coat to put on after the painting is completed.
  4. The selected artist shall wear a safety vest during all painting.
  5. The selected artist shall sign and date their work in the bottom left corner.
  6. The selected artist shall be responsible for ALL liability insurance the City deems necessary for this project. The City is not liable under any circumstances.


  1. The City will power wash each storm drain prior to painting.
  2. The City will provide paints in five colors and sealant.
  3. A City will meet with each artist at their assigned storm drain on the day of painting to review specifications. The City will drop off traffic cones and a safety vest.
  4. The City will handle all marketing and PR for this project including posting pictures of the storm drains online to include a bio of the artist.
  5. The City will pay each artist a $400 honorarium.


  • Responses due by Midnight, Tuesday, April 26, 2022
  • Artists notified by Wednesday, May 18, 2022 with proposed inlet assignment
  • Final drawings due by Midnight, Wednesday, June 1, 2022
  • Selected artists shall attend a pre-painting meeting with City of Roanoke Stormwater and Arts and Culture staff on Thursday, June 2, after which painting may commence.
  • Artists shall complete work by July 30, 2022
  • Promotion and celebration will occur as part of GoFest on October 14-16, 2022
  • Peoples’ Choice Awards announced on October 18, 2022


The budget for this project is $400 per Inlet. Paints and sealant will be provided by the City. Each applicant artist may submit up to four designs and may be chosen to transform more than one storm drain. The City may select and pay to transform up to eight inlet murals, though there is no guarantee of a minimum number to be included in this year’s project. The City will conduct a People’s Choice Award on Facebook with cash prizes given for first and second place of $200 and $100.


Each applicant is asked to submit the following information using the online application form.

  1. Statement of interest describing the artist’s vision for this project and how the design will use art to educate about the importance of the City’s storm drains as a conduit to streams and rivers.
  2. Contact information for two professional references for which the artist has done design or art work in the last five years. 
  3. A rough sketch of the artists’ proposed original design(s) in the colors the artist plans to use. The sketch should be detailed enough that the committee can get an idea of the artwork. Artists may submit up to four designs, but the images must all be included in one PDF file. Note – Final drawings must be rendered by selected artists to fit assigned storm drains will be due after the artists are selected
  4. A current résumé or brag sheet (PDF) with contact information, including a web site if applicable.
  5. Artists will have the opportunity to request a particular storm drain but the final assignments will be made by the selection committee.

Have questions? Contact Douglas Jackson at douglas.jackson@roanokeva.gov or (540) 853-5652.


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