Kingsport seeking entries for stormwater drain art contest

Matthew Lane • Jul 8, 2020 at 12:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Entries are now being accepted for the Model City’s third annual stormwater drain painting contest.

The contest calls for local artists and creative minds to paint five storm drains in local neighborhoods in order to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our rivers, stream habitat, and aquatic wildlife.

Kingsport’s Stormwater Department is hosting the contest with the help of the city’s Office of Cultural Arts and Engage Kingsport.

“Even in troubled times, we must never forget the importance of clean water for our health, recreation, and wildlife,” said Amanda McMullen, stormwater quality control technician for Kingsport Public Works. “Every one of us can help to reduce pollution and litter in our waterways.”


• Send a color sketch of your proposed artwork around a storm drain.

• Artwork may include the street, sidewalk or both.

• Text is encouraged to convey the educational stormwater message.

• Be sure to include your name, phone number and email.

The deadline to submit entries is Aug. 7 and winners will be selected by Aug. 21. The five winning artists will receive $100 and their chance to leave their artistic talents on the streets of Kingsport.

Artists will each receive one quart of red, yellow, blue, white and black paint and begin creating their stormwater drain masterpieces the first week of September. Artists are encouraged to practice social distancing when painting their drain.

For complete rules and guidelines, visit www.kingsporttn.gov and search “storm drain art contest.” And be sure to like and follow the Kingsport Public Works Facebook page to gauge the progress of the artists.

“The arts, in general, have helped many of us survive this quarantine time ... to keep us mentally fit by entertaining us, involving us, and giving us a way to express ourselves,” said Hannah Powell, cultural arts program administrator for the city. “The public arts, like the community work in the storm drain contest, help us move forward — working toward something entertaining and beautiful. It helps us see positivity when things around us seem negative.”


As Kingsport grew, the ground became covered with asphalt, concrete and buildings. As a result, an important part of the water cycle was disturbed. Instead of rain naturally filtering into the ground, it flows over roofs, driveways and streets as stormwater.

Stormwater can pick up pollutants and transport them into local waterways via the storm drain system. Pollutants include everyday items like pesticides or fertilizers in our yards, oil in our cars, and even soap. When introduced into a waterway, pollutants have a harmful effect on aquatic life and the health of our rivers.

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