New Elgin public art program using storm sewers as a canvas

A new public art campaign in Elgin is circling the drain, but in a good way.

The Elgin Cultural Arts Commission has announced a call for art on a new canvas – storm sewers. The commission said it was looking for images and messages to raise awareness about stormwater and storm sewers as part of its new work program.

Selected illustrations will be applied to up to 40 storm sewers across the city.

“We want to make public art as accessible as possible,” said assistant city manager Amanda Harris, who is also the liaison with ECAC.

“We are becoming a community very concerned with sustainability, so I thought the art of storm sewers was a great opportunity to help advance both of these goals. “

Two requests are accepted – one for artist submissions and one for residents who want their storm sewer painted.

Artists interested in having their artwork on storm sewers can apply at Applications are open to artists of all skill levels worldwide, with preference given to artists based in Elgin. There is no limit to the number of nominations that can be submitted, and selected artists will receive honoraria of up to $ 500.

Residents who would like to see a painted storm drain in their neighborhood can apply at Selected applicants will receive a model of the winning artwork, painting, and installation instructions. A minimum of three neighbors in the storm drains area must be listed on the Project Support Application.

Neighborhood requests will be accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the summer. There is no deadline for artist submissions. Harris said she expected the installation to begin this summer. The painted storm sewers will be listed on the city’s online public art map at

Harris said she’s always on the lookout for new public art ideas from across the country that might work in Elgin.

“I want the residents and business owners here to feel like they have a chance to go out and make a difference in public art in their neighborhoods, and these aren’t great fantasy artists of out of town who have to come and do something, ”she said. noted.

Kayleen C. Rice