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On behalf of the Norman Arts Council and the City of Norman, Oklahoma, the Norman Public Arts Board seeks artist submissions for Artful Inlets.

The City of Norman operates and maintains a series of underground pipes, open channels, ditches, and roadways used to collect or convey stormwater runoff from our homes and businesses to the nearest body of water, such as a creek, stream, or lake. In urban areas, stormwater runoff from hard surfaces, like roofs and driveways, flows along the side of the road until it reaches a storm drain, which is an opening or grate in the curb connected by pipes to the nearest waterbody.  Water and other materials that enter these storm drains are transported directly to our creeks and streams without any treatment. Some of the pollutants that enter our local creeks and streams with stormwater runoff include grass clippings, oil, trash, fertilizers, pesticides, and pet waste.

The Norman Arts Council, Public Arts Board, and City of Norman are inviting artists to submit designs that will transform city storm drains into works of public art. These Artful Inlets will educate and raise awareness that pollutants that go down storm drains have a devasting impact on our local water quality.

There will be five (5) drains identified for this project. They will all be on Main Street between Porter Avenue and Santa Fe Avenue. The artwork should have a stormwater and/or water quality theme and must be adaptable to any of the five specified drains. Each selected artist will incorporate their original design into the prescribed area around the storm drain. See below for details.

It is important to note that the ornamental brick area lining Main Street sidewalks (24” to 25.5” wide by 8’ long) cannot be painted on or otherwise altered by the artist. It will be taped off and covered with plastic sheeting prior to the artist’s scheduled date and time for installation.

Submission Rules

  • Artists (or a team of artists) must be 18 years or older and a resident(s) of Cleveland County, Oklahoma. 
  • All designs must be submitted on the provided Design Worksheet.
  • Design proposals must be submitted through Submittables no later than February 22, 2019. Only applications submitted through the on-line process will be considered.
  • Artists must submit only original designs and, if selected, must install the selected, original design.
  • Submissions must include a short artist biography and information about the proposed design
  • A list of any additional materials to be used that are not provided by the Public Arts Board must also be included

Design Criteria

  • Artistic excellence
  • Feasibility of executing the proposed design
  • Incorporation of the theme
  • When designing artwork, each artist is asked to consider the following themes:
  1. Stormwater Pollution AND/OR
  2. Environmental Protection:  the importance of cleaner water
  • Each design should include a message or phrase that references one or more of the above. 
  • The design must be appropriate for a public space
  • Any materials supplied by the artist must be eco-friendly, not contribute to stormwater pollution, and be pre-approved by the Public Arts Board and the City of Norman
  • Designs may not contain any business reference, promotions, or advertisements
  • Designs may not contain any breach of intellectual property, brands or trademarks, or depiction of illegal activity

Selected Artists will receive:

  • $400.00 stipend when installation and sealing is completed
  • Clean, primed area stationed off with appropriate traffic control devices while painting
  • Tent to provide shade over the area while painting
  • Sherwin-Williams Armorseal paint – black, white, yellow, red, and blue with a non-slip additive
  • Water for painting
  • Tubs and containers for water and paint
  • Drinking water

Selected Artists must provide:

  • The original design
  • Execution of the accepted design
  • Brushes
  • Any other supplies or tools they deem necessary to execute their design

The artists will be selected based on the materials submitted in this application. Artist selection for this project will be made by a panel including City of Norman staff and members of the Norman Public Arts Board who will choose 5 artists and 1 alternate based on the Design Criteria listed above.

The Selection Panel will assign a storm drain to each artist upon selection.


  • Submission deadline is February 22, 2019
  • Artists will be selected and notified by March 15, 2019
  • Installation of the artwork will be April 12 – 14, 2019
  • Event celebrating the artful inlets including official walking tour TBA

Defined space for artwork

The area that artists are allowed to paint is a five (5) feet by eight (8) feet area on the sidewalk above the inlet and a one (1) foot by eight (8) feet area on the pavement in front of the inlet grate (see Official Design Template). 

Artists MUST use the Official Design Template to propose designs. Although the various storm drains are shaped differently, the prepared and sealed sidewalk surrounding the drains will be in a rectangular shape. Be mindful that some changes to your design may be required to accommodate the specific location and those will be approved by the Public Arts Board.

Each storm drain is made of metal with a metal grate in front of it that varies in shape and position, as represented in the photos on the template. The shape of the drain is a rectangle. You may paint into the street up to one foot beyond the grate. The design does not have to completely fill the storm drain plot. 

It is important to note that the ornamental brick area (24” to 25.5” wide by 8’ long) cannot be painted on or otherwise altered by the artist. It will be taped off and covered with plastic sheeting prior to the artist’s scheduled date and time for installation.


The design must be original and must not infringe on any other person’s intellectual property rights.

Each selected artist further grants the City of Norman, Norman Arts Council, and the Public Arts Board the exclusive rights to reproduce the design (including electronic images) for fundraising, educational, and promotional purposes.


While the City of Norman will provide a clear, vandal-resistance varnish, artists should also be aware that the City of Norman cannot prevent vandalism to said artwork, although every effort will be made to protect it.


The finished works will be on working drains and regular maintenance by the City may damage the artwork. Additionaly time and/or weather may eventually cause artwork to fade. If, in the opinion of the City, NAC, and PAB, the artwork can be touched-up or refreshed, reasonable attempts will be made to contact the artist to see if they want to do that work without additional compensation.


Artwork must be consistent with submitted and selected artwork. If, in the opinion of the Public Arts Board, the artwork does not reflect the submitted design, the City has the right to remove it partially or completely.

Artists can anticipate the artwork being in place a minimum of one year. However, the City and NAC have the right to remove the artwork at any time if they jointly agree that the artwork is inappropriate due to design, condition, or vandalism. The City reserves the right to remove the artwork immediately if it presents a danger to public safety or the drain needs maintenance, repair, or replacement.


Each artist agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the City of Norman, Norman Arts Council, and the Public Arts Board from any loss or damage, any and all third party claims, demands, actions, legal fees or costs for which the Artist is legally responsible, including those arising out of negligence, willful harm, or crimes by the Artist or the Artist’s employees, agent or subcontractors. This “hold harmless” agreement shall survive beyond the term of the Artist’s service contract.

The City of Norman, Norman Arts Council, and the Public Arts Board will not be liable or responsible for any bodily or personal injury or property damage of any nature that may be suffered by the Artist, their employees, agents or subcontractors in the performance of this Project, except to the extent of any negligence or misconduct on the part of the City of Norman, Norman Arts Council, and the Public Arts Board.

Commissioning of artists is implemented without preference to racial or ethnic origins, sex, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, disability or age.

The Norman Arts Council and the City of Norman reserve the right to modify this solicitation and to request additional information or proposals from any or all participating artists. The Norman Arts Council and the City of Norman also reserve the right to accept or reject, at any time prior to the commissioning of a work, any or all proposals when the acceptance, rejection, waiver or advertisement would be in the best interest of the project. In addition, they may solicit proposals from artists not responding to this call and reserves the right to select an artist outside of the pool of artists responding to this call.


Debby Williams, Public Art Manager, Norman Arts Council