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RVAH2O Storm Drain Art Project coming to VCU

Art for the drain to remind the brain not to pollute the waterways.

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Last year the RVAH2O project invited artist to submit ideas for artistic storm drains located around Tredegar. The purpose of the design was to remind everyone that it all drains into the James. The oil, paint, or cigarette butt can eventually find its way into our local waterways. Obviously that’s not good for us or the environment. This year the city’s Department of Public Utilities which runs the project decided to paint 4 drains along Harrison Street and adjacent to Grace.

We don’t know what the winning designs are yet but they’ll show up over two weekends, May 27-29 and June 3-4.

You can check out some of last year’s drains here.

Full Press Release:

Storm drain art soon will become the latest genre to adorn the streets of the Virginia Commonwealth University campus.

Through the RVAH2O Storm Drain Art Project (http://www.rvah2o.org/storm-drain-art/), an initiative of the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU), four local Richmond artists have been selected to paint their message on storm drains to educate the public about the importance of keeping our river, waterways and streets pollution-free. These winning artists were among 24 entries in RVAH2O’s online contest issued by DPU in March 2017. They will paint four storm drains in the heart of VCU: along Harrison Street and adjacent to Grace Street.

RVAH2O’s online contest invited local artists ages 18+ to submit design entries for the 2017 RVAH2O Storm Drain Art Project. Design criteria included depicting “It All Drains to the James”; environmental protection of waterways; and the James River’s ecosystem, natural habitats and wildlife.

The panel of judges included members of the Richmond Public Art Commission and members of the DPU stormwater team. The four winning artists are:

  • Donna Bailey, “It All Drains to the James”
  • Douglas Fuchs, “The James in the Drain”
  • Jenny Haebel, “Consider the River”
  • Alison Tinker, “Protect the River – It’s What You Otter Do!”

“The Storm Drain Art Project drew a strong caliber of local artists who have taken a clever approach to illustrating the benefits of a pollution-free James River,” said Jonét Prévost-White, DPU Operations Manager. “We look forward to bringing the Storm Drain Art Project to the VCU campus,

Each artist will be assigned a storm drain to paint over two weekends: May 27-29 and June 3-4. Artists will be compensated with a $400 stipend for their work and materials, such as tools and brushes. They also will receive instruction on how to paint storm drains, which will include precautions to prevent paint from getting into the drain.

DPU will provide each artist with non-slip paint, basic brushes and water tubs. DPU also will closely monitor the drain painting and will provide standard construction inlet protection (gutter buddies) for each drain, as well as small tents that the artists can use for shade and protection during the process.

This is the second consecutive year of the RVAH2O Storm Drain Art Project, initiated in 2016 using the online contest and entry portal. In May 2016, six artists were selected to paint storm drains along Tredegar Street, adjacent to the James River. They remain today a visual reminder of the importance of the James River in our lives, as well as the lives of plants, animals and fish that rely on the river and its natural habitats for survival.  

“Once again, we selected a highly visited area of our city for the Storm Drain Art Project,” added Prévost-White. “VCU supports a strong culture of environmental excellence and stewardship. Its students are frequent visitors and enthusiasts of the James River. They are a great audience to embrace our message.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Floodwaters bring out the skilled river riders to take to the waves at Z Dam. These photos were shot Saturday afternoon.

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Photos: An Angry James

The James was running at about 19 feet above flood stage on Friday. Here are a few snapshots.

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Training not rescuing

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Wetlands living up to its name

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James River Predicted to Reach Record Level High on Friday

On Friday the river is expected to hit 19.1 feet the highest level in 24 years.

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The photo above is from last summer but you get the idea. This graph from the Westham Gauge tells the more accurate story but in a less visually dramatic way.

As you can see on Friday the river is expected to hit 19.1 feet the highest level in 24 years. Minor Flood stage is the orange band above and starts at 12 feet above 15 feet and you’re into Moderate range. It shouldn’t have to be said but if you go down to the river to check it out stay safe and observe from a good distance.

Update from James River Parks:

Due to projected river levels, JRPS will be closing the following areas:
Pony Pasture Parking Lot
Huguenot Flatwater Parking Lot
Portions of Belle Isle
Pipeline Trail
Please note that access to the river from Texas Beach Tower and 42nd Tower will be flooded.
Update from the City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities:

The City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU) will activate the Dock Street and Brander Street flood walls as a cautionary measure in response to the heavy rainfall in the western parts of the James River Basin area.

The closure of the Dock Street gate will occur at noon today and will close Dock Street from 17th to 21st.  Traffic will be detoured up 21st Street to Cary Street or Main Street. The floodwall will re-open when water levels recede to a level safe to reopen Dock Street to traffic.

The closure of the Brander Street gate will occur by close of business today and will impact the entrance to the City’s Waste Water Treatment Plant and Ancarrow’s Landing.

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