UpStream Art

Calling all artists!

Between now and Wednesday, June 9, 2021, the City of Springfield’s Stormwater Team is looking for artists of all ages and from any Oregon location to apply for our summer mural-painting project, UpStream Art. Are you an artist who paints? Do you care about community and the environment? This is the project for you!

Up to five artists will be selected to participate and compensated $1,000 each for painting storm drain murals near Agnes Stewart Middle School on S. 32nd Street this September.

These murals increase awareness of the connection between City streets and local waterways, with the goal of inspiring community members to do their part in preventing pollutants from entering neighborhood storm drains. This is important because, as rain washes over hard surfaces, it collects contaminants such as weed killers, vehicle fluids, bacteria from pet waste, soaps from car washing, litter, and more. These pollutants flow into storm drains and out to the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers, harming the waterways we all enjoy.

Please consider applying to participate in this creative opportunity for our community and to help the environment!

About UpStream Art

UpStream Art background

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 project consists of a Call to Artists in spring, a panel of judges selecting the winning designs, a two-day mural painting event in summer, followed by tour opportunities. Tours include the Virtual Tour and Self-guided Tour Map published on this page.

The murals convey a simple-yet-important reminder: storm drains across the City create a direct connection from Springfield’s streets to the waterways. Some cities treat their stormwater before it reaches the rivers, but Springfield does not. That’s why it’s important that we and our neighbors make sure no contaminants, debris, or litter from around our homes and businesses wash into the drains.

Our goal for UpStream Art is to inspire community members to do their part in preventing pollutants from entering storm drains.

What is stormwater?

Outfall in Island Park where UpStream Art storm drains lead to. As our community grows, the 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 effect on aquatic life and the health of our rivers.

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.

Tips for healthy streams

Our Water: Springfield Stormwater Brochure

Click to view

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 stormwater 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.

Tour UpStream Art

There are two great ways to explore the current 26 murals that are UpStream Art. Take your pick!

UpStream Art 2020

Click the arrows to view event highlights!

2020 UpStream Art installation

Last summer’s UpStream Art project was held September 26-27, 2020. Our five newest storm drain paintings are now located next to Willamalane’s Adult Activity Center at the cul-de-sac on C Street, near the path entering Island Park. Artists were financially compensated for their work, which represented the theme, “Keeping it Clean, From Street to Stream.”

Contact Us

  • For general information, please contact the City of Springfield’s Stormwater Team at WaterResources@springfield-or.gov or 541.746.3694.
  • Artists interested in applying for the next UpStream Art mural painting project can either visit this webpage or the City of Springfield’s Facebook page in mid-April 2021, or can click the button below to sign up to receive emailed updates. A panel of judges selects our winners and those artists are paid for installing their paintings.
Click to join the UpStream Art Mailing List