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Artists can put their talent down drain
storm drain art contest.jpg
The city of McMinnville is looking for entries in a storm drain art contest.

The city of McMinnville is seeking artists with an eye for storm water preservation. 

A storm drain art contest is being offered to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the community’s rivers, stream habitat, and aquatic wildlife. Two winners will be allowed to construct their masterpieces on Morford Street in October.

“The state of Tennessee requires the city of McMinnville to have educational outreach in terms of Storm Water Education,” said Lyndon Bussell, the city’s storm water coordinator. “We believe that McMinnville having a storm drain art contest is a fun and innovative way to not only involve the community as a whole, but also be able to bring awareness of our storm drains through fun and creative artwork.”

Contestants must be at least 12 years old. To enter the contest, send a color sketch of the proposed artwork around a storm drain via email or mail to 1266 Belmont Drive, McMinnville, TN 37110. Please include name, phone number and email. Text within the artwork is encouraged to convey an educational message. All entries must be submitted by Sept. 28.

Kingsport and Knox County offer similar storm drain art contests annually.

“We wish to target storm drains along Morford Street for our inaugural contest and eventually branch out to Main Street and even residential neighborhoods in subsequent years,” said Bussell. “We want to be cognizant of areas that receive a lot of foot traffic as places to target for future contests.”

The request to hold the contest was presented to members of the city Building and Grounds Committee.

“The purpose of this would be to bring awareness to our storm water program and to get kids involved as part of our outreach and education program,” said city administrator Nolan Ming. 

Alderman Everett Brock asked about the cost.

“Just the paint supplies,” said Ming. “Those would fall under our storm water fund within Community Development Department.”

Alderman Rachel Kirby says this contest would be a welcome addition to Morford Street. 

“My daughter is with Storm Water in Chattanooga and they do this contest there,” said Kirby. “She sent me lots of pictures and it’s really cute.” 

Only two storm drains will be painted along Morford Street. Property owners interested in it being the drain outside their place of business are asked to call Bussell at 473-1204. If not, drains will be chosen at random.

The city Building and Grounds Committee members unanimously approved the request to allow a storm drain art contest on Morford Street.

Rules for the winners:

• Artwork may be on the street, the sidewalk, or both. But you may not paint brick sidewalk.

• Only brushes may be used. No spraying of paint is permitted due to proximity to storm drain.

• Artists must take care to not allow paint or brush rinse water to go down the storm drain.

• Artists must use the traffic paint provided - each artist will receive one quart each of red, yellow, blue, white and black that may be mixed to create an individual palette. Additional paint will be provided.

• Storm drains will be cleaned before painting commences. If area should become dirty again, you may only use a broom or plain water. No soap may be allowed down the storm drain.

• Traffic cones will be on site and a safety vest will be provided. 

• Artwork should be completed during the month of October.