The Southeast Arkansas Stormwater Education Program is seeking artists to paint murals with educational messages on storm drains in Pine Bluff, White Hall, and Jefferson County as part of the Drain Smart UpStream Art project.


Through the project, artists will paint murals on storm drains that communicate the message that water entering these systems will be discharged directly to a creek, bayou or other waterway, said Christine Cooley, extension urban stormwater educator for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture in Jefferson County.


The project is a combination of two programs: UpStream Art and Drain Smart, which are conducted by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and Audubon Arkansas, respectively, according to a news release.


Both programs have worked in different areas of the state to increase awareness about storm drains and address the common misperception that they channel runoff into water treatment facilities.


“Storm drains actually empty out into nearby creeks and streams, without any treatment whatsoever,” Cooley said. “Understanding how storm drains work can help prevent stormwater pollution. Potential pollutants like litter, fertilizers, soil, yard waste and pet waste can impair surface water.”


The Southeast Arkansas Stormwater Education Program is kick starting the Drain Smart Upstream Art program in Pine Bluff. The project will be funded and staffed through the Division of Agriculture. Audubon Arkansas will help display artwork through the Drain Smart website, according to the news release.


“The goal of Drain Smart Upstream Art is to raise awareness of the function of storm drains, to help reduce the amount of pollution carried directly into the environment,” Cooley said.


Artists are invited to join the effort by submitting an application by Aug. 19. Applications may be obtained by contacting the Jefferson County Extension Service at 870-534-1033 or ccooley@uaex.edu.


The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.