Taken by ACYC Staff



  Call for Artists Opens


  Submission Deadline

FRIDAY | APRIL 16, 2021

  Selected Artwork Announced

APRIL 22 - 24, 2021

  Artists Paint the Drains 

The Arts Council of York County's newest public art project is centered around local water heritage and water quality. The ACYC accepted design concepts from regional artists to enhance storm drains in Old Town Rock Hill, SC.


Selected artists turn their concepts into reality in the form of small-scale, semi-permanent, outdoor murals that adorn Old Town storm drains, raising awareness and educating the public about the effects of stormwater runoff on water quality.

Why Storm Drains?

Storm drains lead directly to our waterways. Each time it rains, trash and pollutants on our streets are washed into the storm drains and are carried into our rivers, streams, and lakes. Stormwater pollution can significantly degrade our fish and wildlife habitat, our drinking water, and recreational opportunities. By painting Rock Hill’s storm drains, we are reminding residents that our neighborhoods are all connected to our rivers, streams, and lakes.



Old Town Rock Hill, SC | 2 new drain locations will be added annually.



  • Black Street at the York County Library | Rock Hill

  • Caldwell Street at Amélie's



Stormwater Pollution:

Keep the Catawba Clean

Don’t Clog the Catawba

Only Rain Down the Drain

Environmental Protection: The importance of clean water

York County/Catawba River Ecosystems: Local wildlife/habitats and natural beauty


Open to artists 18 and older who live in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region. Preference will be given to artists who reside in York County.


  • Educational value – should educate and engage residents on themes.

  • Aesthetic value – should be pleasing and add beauty to the community.

  • Family friendly.

  • Please use the template provided to propose design concepts. Be mindful that some changes to design may be required to accommodate the specific location. We encourage artists to submit a design that can be easily adjusted and/or scaled to match the specific dimensions of the site.

  • Proposed work must fit within the designated space, and utilize all parts of the drain, including the mouth of the drain, the slatted metal grate. Please include the components in your conceptual drawing so the selection committee can see how the artwork will be laid out. Storm drain size and shapes vary, so your final design may need to be modified to fit the assigned drain.

  • All artwork must remain within the confines of the storm drain structure and should not extend to adjacent areas of decorative pavers, concrete, asphalt, or surrounding landscape.

  • You may sign your work, but it must be no taller than 2 inches. 

  • Design cannot contain business promotions or advertisements.

  • Design must be original to the artist, and one-of-a-kind.

  • Design cannot include any breach of intellectual property, brands, trademarks, or depictions of illegal activities.

  • Designs may not incorporate any physical objects attached to the drains.

  • Computer-generated designs will only be considered if accompanied by examples of your work as a painter. Stenciled designs will not be considered.

  • The submitting artist must also be the artist who paints the storm drain.

  • More than one artist may work together. The Artist Payment will be shared by the team. 

  • You may submit multiple conceptual sketches for consideration, but only one design per artist or group will be selected.


The Arts Council of York County, Old Town Association, and the City of Rock Hill reserve the right to remove artwork at any time for any reason without warning. The committee reserves the right to paint over any final design that does not meet the criteria above or does not hold true to the original conceptual sketch submitted by the artist.



Please submit one design concept per entry via the Arts Council’s Storm Drain Art Google Form (available October 16, 2020 - January 8, 2021):

  • Digital sketch of your design idea on the provided template (pdf or jpg),​​

  • Title of your concept,

  • Brief concept description,

  • Brief artist bio,

  • Three references with contact information,

  • Spill response plan: how will you clean up a spill to prevent paint or other materials from entering the storm drain (e.g. drain buddy/inlet guard), and how will you dispose of the dirty water. (300 word max)


  • Portfolio of work,

  • Resume,

  • Headshot or personal photo.


​FREE | There are no entry fees to submit your design concept to the Storm Drain Art Competition.


A committee of judges will select 2 designs that are graphically bold with clear messages relating to the suggested themes, and with the potential to engage a wide range of audiences. All proposals will be evaluated on artistic merit and unique storm drain integration. General scoring categories will include: artistic qualifications and previous work examples (if available), educational message, creative use of space, overall appeal, and place of residence.



$200 per drain

½ of the payment to be issued in advance, and ½ upon completion

If the design is created by a group of artists, the $200 payment is to be divided between the members of the group.



Planning Committee Responsibilities

  • The planning committee will submit selected artwork to Rock Hill City Council for final approval.

  • The planning committee will coordinate painting days and times with artists.

  • The planning committee will ensure that the storm drain has been cleaned and prepared for painting. It may not be possible to fix all cracks, so artists should plan to incorporate surface imperfections into their design as needed. 

  • The planning committee will erect temporary signage to direct pedestrians away from the area on painting days, and will coordinate with adjacent property owners and businesses to minimize disruptions.

  • The planning committee will provide safety cones, and a fluorescent orange safety vest.

Artist Responsibilities

  • Artists will take reasonable precautions to ensure they are visible and out of the path of vehicular traffic while painting and are not creating hazardous conditions for pedestrians.

  • Artist will communicate with the planning committee regarding their preferred painting windows well in advance to allow adequate time for surface prep as well as sidewalk closure signs and barricades.

  • Artists are expected to complete their work within 3 consecutive business days, provided there are no weather delays.

  • Artists should plan for variable weather conditions and be prepared to postpone work during rain events. Artists should wear appropriate clothing and stay hydrated.

  • Due to their adjacency to the street, most storm drains are in exposed, unshaded locations. Artists are encouraged to begin work early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day.

  • Outside murals are subject to the harshest environmental conditions. The Storm Drain Art project requires the use of Sherwin Williams® ArmorSeal for the colored paint, and SealKrete® for the clear seal paint protectant used as a base coat to seal the concrete and as a topcoat to protect the artwork.

  • Artists will take precautions to ensure no paint is spilled into the storm drain inlet or on the surfaces outside of printable areas. Artists will properly dispose of waste/rinse water (i.e. Not on the ground or down the storm drain).




Each participating artist agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Arts Council of York County, Old Town Association, City of Rock Hill, and Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation 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, agents, or subcontractors. This “hold harmless” agreement shall survive beyond the term of the Artist’s service contract. 

The Arts Council of York County, Old Town Association, City of Rock Hill, and Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation 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 Arts Council of York County, Old Town Association, City of Rock Hill, and Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation.

Vandalism and Maintenance

Artists should understand that the finished works will be on working drains, and that time and weather will eventually cause artwork to fade. Artists should also be aware that vandalism could occur.

Artists must accept the possibility that their artwork may be altered, removed, or damaged at any time after completion.



Each artist further grants the Arts Council of York County, Old Town Association, City of Rock Hill, and Rock Hill Economic Development Corporation the following exclusive rights: (a) Reproduction (including electronic images) for fundraising, educational and promotional purposes. (b) The right to remove the artwork (or selections of the artwork from the site for any reason, including but not limited to:

  1. Endangerment of public safety,

  2. Damage to the drain (including vandalism) requiring repair or maintenance,

  3. Replacement or maintenance of the drain.

  4. Wear and tear of the design.

SUBMIT | 2021 Submissions are now closed.

The Arts Council of York County's Storm Drain Art Project was inspired by other initiatives such as RVAH2O, Up Stream Art, Blue Water Baltimore, and the cities of Thornton, Malibu, Sioux Fals, Pueblo, and Keizer.


Please contact the Arts Council of York County 

803-328-2787 | Melanie Cooper at



Center for the Arts

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*Open from 5 - 6 PM by appointment 
Friday | 9 AM - 5 PM
2nd & 4th weekends each month:
Saturday | 10 AM - 2 PM
Sunday | 2 - 4 PM


Gettys Art Center

Monday – Friday | 9 AM - 5 PM



New Year's Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Easter Monday

Memorial Day

Independence Day

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Thanksgiving Thursday & Friday

Christmas Eve  Day

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By entering Arts Council events, you understand and agree that your photograph or image may be taken in any public place. You further grant permission and consent to the Arts Council of York County to use any such photograph, motion picture, or image for any reasonable purpose.

The Arts Council of York County is headquartered in Old Town Rock Hill. Downtown Rock Hill is a state-recognized Cultural District in South Carolina.


Support for this project is provided by the SC Arts Commission (which receives funding from the NEA), Rock Hill Accommodations Tax Grant Fund, York County Accommodations & Hospitality Tax,  the ACYC Annual Campaign, and Comporium Communications.  For visitors information including lodging, contact the York County Visitors Center at 888-702-1320. 


The Arts Council of York County received a Bridge Grant from South Carolina Humanities, Funding for the Bridge Grants has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and EconomicSecurity (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan.

Arts Council of York County | T (803)328-2787 | F (803)328-2165 | | ©2020 All Rights Reserved