Students painting in front of stormwater drain

Students use art to teach community about stormwater

Do you know where the rain that washes into storm drains goes? Ask the students in Chris Smith’s Senior Art Portfolio class at DeForest Area High School, and they’ll tell you all about how the water that enters our storm drains travels to area lakes, rivers and streams carrying any trash and pollutants it runs across with it.  They may even give you some tips on actions we can take as a community to reduce stormwater runoff and improve the quality of the stormwater that enters our waters.

These students participated in a new program led by the Madison Area Stormwater Partnership, Dane County and the Dane Arts Mural Arts (DAMA) that uses art as a vessel to learn about water pollution and solutions. The goal of the program is to educate future generations about simple actions they can take to protect our precious water resources and have them teach others.  After learning about stormwater, students were asked to draw pictures and write simple messages to help others better understand where their stormwater goes and why it’s important to “Keep It Clean”. Drawings were collected by local artists at Dane Arts Mural Arts and used to inspire several storm drain mural designs. Students and Kelli Bialkowski, Village of DeForest Director of Public Services, were presented with several options to choose from and selected their favorite.

On Thursday, May 10th, a DAMA artist painted the selected mural design with the help of DAHS students on the storm drain located at 815 Jefferson Street, near the high school. This mural is one of 20 unique designs to be painted on highly visible storm drains across Dane County. You can follow the online story map that will eventually highlight all 20 storm dran murals across Dane County as they are painted.

For more information on the Storm Drain Mural Project or to learn about simple actions you can take to protect our waters visit


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