Columbia Showcases Storm Drain Artwork at Mural Art Crawl

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COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia is to have its first Storm Drain Mural Art Crawl Wednesday evening.  The crawl will start at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Roots N' Blues N' BBQ offices on East Broadway in downtown Columbia.

The project is a collaboration between the City and Thumper Entertainment, the company that puts on the Roots N' Blues N' BBQ festival.

City of Columbia Public Works Public Information Specialist Steven Sapp said the city got the idea from Springfield, Missouri, where a similar project was put in place a few years ago to encourage residents to be environmentally friendly.  

"We thought it was a great opportunity for Columbia because we have a ton of artists lurking around," Sapp said.

The murals are part of an eco-friendly approach to teach residents the difference between storm water drains and sewer drains.  

"Whenever we put stuff, trash-wise, into the streets or into those storm drains, it's not being treated, motor oil, cigarette butts, things like that are going directly into our creeks and streams," Sapp said.

 The vibrant artwork brings attention to the drains and reminds people to be environmentally aware.  

There will be a total of nine storm water drains that will be decorated and the mural art crawl is a chance to check out each project.  Local artists painted the murals and some projects took up to five to six weeks to complete.  Sapp said there were more artists interested than how many the city could accommodate.  He said he hopes to have a second annual mural art crawl next year and eventually, cover downtown storm drains with artwork.  

"It's a great visual reminder to us--take care of our storm water, don't let trash get into it and that's really the ultimate goal," said Sapp.

Storm water educators will also be at the crawl to teach residents about the effects of storm water.