Held every summer since 2016, UpStream Art is a project hosted by the City of Springfield in which artists are commissioned to paint inspirational murals around storm drains and sidewalks. These colorful creations raise awareness of the connection between City streets and local waterways while supporting artists and beautifying the City.
The project consists of a Call to Artists in spring, a panel of judges selecting the winning designs, a two-day mural painting event in summer, followed by tour opportunities. Tours include the Virtual Tour and Self-guided Tour Map published on this page.
The murals convey a simple-yet-important reminder: storm drains across the City create a direct connection from Springfield’s streets to the waterways. Some cities treat their stormwater before it reaches the rivers, but Springfield does not. That’s why it’s important that we and our neighbors make sure no contaminants, debris, or litter from around our homes and businesses wash into the drains.
Our goal for UpStream Art is to inspire community members to do their part in preventing pollutants from entering storm drains.
What is stormwater?
As our community grows, the ground often gets covered up with asphalt, concrete and buildings. Without realizing it, we are disrupting an important part of the water cycle.
Instead of rain naturally filtering into the ground, in urban areas it flows over roofs, driveways and streets as stormwater. Stormwater can pick up pollutants and transport them to our local waterways via the storm drain system. Pollutants include everyday items like pesticides or fertilizers in our yards, oil in our cars, and even soap. When introduced into the waterway, pollutants have a harmful effect on aquatic life and the health of our rivers.
To learn more about how you can help prevent water pollution, read this Prevent Stormwater Pollution resource and check out our Clean Water at A Glance factsheets.