Storm Drain Mural Project


Storm Drain Mural Map

Check out this map of the storm drain murals including an 8-mile bike tour of the murals that begins and ends at the Bee Branch Creek Greenway.

2020 Storm Drain Mural Selections 

A panel of judges, comprised of members from the City of Dubuque Arts and Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission, Resiliency Commission, and an arts educator from the Dubuque Community School District, reviewed and scored the 2020 Storm Drain Mural submissions on Friday, Sept. 18. A total of 49 designs from 22 individual artists and two artist groups were submitted. Concepts were scored on educational value, creativity, aesthetic value, and how appropriate the design is for people of all ages and backgrounds. Congratulations to the following artists:

  • David Barba - Critters

  • Emily Cotton Cram - Clean Water Happy Otter

  • Dan Leick - Keeping Environment Clean Together

  • Chloe Peil - The Fisherman and Protect Our Wildlife

About The Project

The Storm Drain Mural Project project is part of the City’s education and outreach efforts to help community members understand that storm drains lead directly to our waterways. The goal of the murals is to raise awareness of storm drains as a connection to our local waterways.

Why Paint Storm Drains?

When it rains, stormwater runs over pavement, picking up oil, litter, leaves, grass clippings, and other pollutants. The polluted stormwater then flows down storm drains and through stormwater pipes which empty directly into our local creeks, streams, and rivers. Storm drains can also become a hot spot for illicit dumping – trash, grease, pet waste, paint, cigarettes, and more. As a result, these pollutants make their way to the Catfish Creek and Bee Branch Creek and, ultimately, the Mississippi River, impairing the health of our waterways.


This project is open to all artists including groups and students. Preference will be given to local artists. Designs should remain within the dimensions of the storm drain structure while being bold, original, and demonstrate artistic merit. When designing artwork, artists are encouraged to consider the following themes:

  • Stormwater Pollution: Only rain down the storm drain.
  • Environmental Protection: The importance of clean water.
  • Local Ecosystems: Wildlife habitats and natural beauty.


Designs must adhere to the following criteria:

  • Educational value; work should educate and engage residents on themes such as storm water pollution, environmental protection, and/or our local ecosystems.
  • Aesthetic value work should be pleasing and add beauty to the community.
  • Proposed work must fit within the designated space.
  • Design cannot contain business promotions or advertisements.
  • Design cannot include any breach of intellectual property, brands, trademarks, or depictions of illegal activities. Design cannot incorporate any physical objects attached to drains.
  • Design must be family-friendly.


Design concepts must be submitted using the templates provided (see below) and received by September 15, 2020. Please be mindful that each storm drain location is different in size and shape. Artists are welcome to submit more than one design. Some changes to the design may be required to accommodate the specific location. Artists must also submit a brief description of the proposed mural explaining how the art supports stormwater pollution prevention or environmental protection. Designs can be submitted online or mailed to City Hall, Attn: Kristin Hill at 50 West 13th St. Dubuque, IA 52001.

Storm Drain Templates

Selection Process

A panel of judges, comprised of members from the Arts and Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission and the Catfish Creek Watershed Management Authority, will select three designs. All proposals will be evaluated on artistic merit and unique storm drain integration. 

Project Completion

Artists will be notified by September 21, 2020, if they have been selected. The results will also be posted on the City of Dubuque website and across multiple social media platforms.

Paint specialized for sidewalks will be provided in basic colors (white, black, red, yellow, blue). Artists can mix colors as needed. Artists should bring their own brushes, containers for mixing, and tools for painting.

All murals must be completed by October 31, 2020. The artist is required to notify the City a minimum of five working days before starting the project, so the pavement can be prepped and cleaned. Upon project completion, the artist will receive a $500 stipend for each mural painted.


For questions or for more information, contact Bee Branch Project communications specialist Kristin Hill at or call 563.690.6068. 

Paint Iowa
The City was awarded 7 gallons of Diamond Vogel paint for the Storm Drain Mural Pilot Project through Paint Iowa Beautiful, a program that provides free paint to a wide variety of public service projects throughout Iowa. During the 17-year partnership between Keep Iowa Beautiful and Diamond Vogel Paint, over 11,330 gallons of paint and hundreds of local volunteers have helped 990 community projects in Iowa.

Special thanks to Key City Creative Center for their generous in-kind support.