UpStream Art

About UpStream Art

Held every summer since 2016, UpStream Art is a project hosted by the City of Springfield in which artists are commissioned to paint inspirational murals around storm drains and sidewalks. These colorful creations raise awareness of the connection between city streets and local waterways while supporting artists and beautifying the city.

The murals convey a simple-yet-important reminder: all the City’s storm drains eventually empty into local waterways. It’s easy to forget that, as rain washes over hard surfaces, it collects contaminants such as weed killers, vehicle fluids, bacteria from pet waste, soaps from car washing, small pieces of litter, and more. These pollutants flow into storm drains and out to the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers, harming the waterways we all enjoy.

By expressing this message creatively in a section of town, the goal of UpStream Art is to inspire community members to do their part in preventing pollutants from entering neighborhood storm drains.

UpStream Art 2020

Installation

This summer’s UpStream Art project has been postponed, and will now be held on September 26-27, 2020.

This year’s paintings will be located near the Willamette River, adjacent to Willamalane’s Adult Activity Center and the path entering Island Park. The theme is “Keeping it Clean, From Street to Stream.” Due to COVID-19 concerns, the public will not be invited to watch the art installation as in years past, but some activities will be live-streamed to the City of Springfield’s Facebook page and touring options will be made available afterward.

Meet the artists

Emma Baldwin

Currently living in Oregon, Baldwin is a mixed media artist using her work to reimagine the future and the botanic possibilities it could present, as well as depicting new ways to understand environmental interactions.

emmahbaldwinart.com

Mandy Brimmer

Brimmer’s work is based on nature and the environment as she seeks to demonstrate the spirit of community, health and integrity. She lives in Springfield.

Instagram @MandyBrimmer

Tasha Corley

Her work blends inspiration from nature, video games, fantasy and science fiction into her drawings and paintings. Corley lives in Eugene.

artstation.com/tiimariie

Uyen-thi Nguyen

Nguyen is based in Cottage Grove and works primarily in oils with a focus on portraits and some urban landscapes.

utnpaintings.com

Marisa Silver

Silver, from Springfield, works with her hands in macramé and pottery as well as painting.

Instagram @freecreatures

Call for artists

Thank you to everyone who expressed interest in painting for UpStream Art 2020, we couldn’t do this without you! The Call For Artists closed at midnight on July 22, 2020. Our panel of judges consisted of 14 local art educators, arts community leaders, gallery and museum staff, and business owners. We enjoy this event so much that we plan to host UpStream Art again in 2021. Please check back in mid-April 2021, for information.

Artist FAQ & Rules

COVID-19 considerations

Due to COVID-19, physical distancing and the wearing of face coverings will be observed while painting the murals and during tours to view them. We comply with all state and local requirements and acknowledge that we may need to cancel, postpone, or modify this project accordingly. In the event of any changes, updates will be posted to this webpage and artists will be contacted directly.

Tips for healthy streams

Springfield values our waterways for their natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and world-class fishing. We get a lot of rain and one of the biggest threats to the health of rivers like the Willamette is runoff from urban areas.

As rain water flows over surfaces like roofs, streets, and driveways, it collects common pollutants and washes them into storm drains and out to waterways, where they can harm plants, animals, and humans in the area.

You can keep waterways healthy with these simple tips:

  1. Always pick up after your pet. This prevents rain from washing harmful bacteria and pollutants into our waterways.
  2. Fix leaking vehicles. To trap toxic fluids, put a drip pan under leaks until your car can be repaired.
  3. Use natural gardening techniques like beneficial bugs, hand-removal of weeds, and compost. Avoid chemical weed, moss, and insect killers.
  4. Wash your car at a commercial car wash instead of at home. Car washes are plumbed to our wastewater treatment plant. At home the soap, dirt, and grease wash into our rivers and groundwater.
  5. Keep litter off streets and sidewalks before it washes down the storm drain.

Try a self-guided tour of UpStream Art

Click to enlarge

Currently 21 murals can be viewed by walking from downtown Springfield to the nearby Booth-Kelly Trailhead. See our mural map to select your favorite route.

The murals raise awareness of the importance of storm drains and their connection to our rivers. They are a reminder that each of us helps protect local waterways through simple, everyday actions.

For more information

Contact the City of Springfield’s Stormwater Team at WaterResources@springfield-or.gov or 541.746.3694.

Springfield’s UpStream Art murals

Introductory video

All murals, 2016-2019

What is Stormwater?

As our community grows, ground often gets covered up with asphalt, concrete and buildings. Without realizing it, we are disrupting an important part of the water cycle.

Instead of rain naturally filtering into the ground, in urban areas it flows over roofs, driveways and streets as stormwater. Stormwater can pick up pollutants and transport them to our 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 the waterway, pollutants have a harmful affect on aquatic life and the health of our rivers.

 Outfall in Island Park where UpStream Art storm drains lead to.

Outfall in Island Park where UpStream Art storm drains lead to.

To learn more about how you can help prevent water pollution, read this Prevent Stormwater Pollution resource and check out our Clean Water at A Glance factsheets.

Questions about UpStream Art? Email us at WaterResources@springfield-or.gov