This street-surface painting by Pam Seiser is called "Inky." Follow the link at the end of this article to see more examples of storm drain art in Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo by Jackson Fox

Storm Drains that Send a Message

ORIGINAL ARTICLE BY Where We Live, AARP Livable Communities HERE

By painting the town red (and other colors), artists are helping keep Alaskan waters clean

Storm drains from the streets of Fairbanks empty directly into the Chena River, a habitat for moose, beaver, fish, and migratory birds.

Unfortunately, many people mistakenly believed the drains connect directly to the sewage-treatment plan, and used them to dispose of harmful substance like used motor oil.  To change that harmful behavior in an educational and creative way, Tanaka Valley Watershed Association, a local environmental nonprofit, teamed-up with the Fairbanks city government and local businesses.

Established in 2014, the Storm Drain Art Contest seeks proposals for street art based on the themes Storm Water Pollution (to draw attention to litter, vehicle fluids, and pet waste), Wildlife (art featuring native birds, fish, and mammals) and Quality of Life (focusing on the life-giving and recreational uses of water).

Proposals are put to a public vote, and the chosen artists — who range widely in age and experience — are commissioned to crate their scenes using Fairbanks’ street grates, sidewalks, and roadways as their canvas, earning $100 for the work and $50 for materials.

Additional partners include the Fairbanks Stormwater Advisory Committee, the Downtown Association of Fairbanks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Improvements in water quality since the contest began have led to national recognition for the city’s environmental efforts.

In another beautification project, Cushman Street, one of Fairbanks’ main thoroughfares, was upgraded by bringing three chaotic traffic lanes down to two (a technique often referred to as a “road diet”; adding trees, planters, and better lighting; and improving the roadway’s traffic signals, directional signage, and street drains.

Embossed into the iron of the new drains are the words “Dump No Waste” because runoff “Drains to River.”

See More Street Art Photos:
“Storm Drain Art Contest:  Decorate the Drains!  Inspire the Inlets!  Graffiti the Grates!”


Upcoming Events

Attending any of these upcoming events? Have other events to share? Let us know! Email us at NNN@ITCMI.ORG to share your event information or to get on our list serve for event updates.


FUNDING OPPORTUNITY - CDC's office for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (OSTLTS) is pleased to announce a new notice of funding opportunity, CDC-RFA OT18-1804:  Technical Assistance for Response to Public Health or Healthcare Crises.  Visit the STLT Gateway to learn more about the purposes of this funding opportunity and expected awardee strategies and activities.  This funding opportunity is a novel approach to emergency response that will allow CDC to expedite funding to qualified organizations to they can provide expert technical assistance and other support to entities engaged in a public health or healthcare crises.  Applications are due no later than 11:59 p.m. (ET) on March 16, 2018.  CDC will collect responsive proposals from eligible applicants and retain them as "approved but unfunded" until a crises occurs.  CDC will make funding available to relevant organizations once the agency determines the need for a public health emergency response.  If you have questions about this funding opportunity, contact the OSTLTS Partnership Support Unit at

LGBT HealthLink's 2018 E-Summit - Save the Date - Join us for Bacon, Eggs, and Data as the first course to our full workshop menu!  Time and topics to be announced next month!  REGISTER HERE

EVENT -Dialogue for Action® - April 11-13, 2018; Hilton McLean Tysons Corner; McLean, VirginiaDialogue for Action® is an annual national conference that brings a diversity of stakeholders together to discuss the best ways to reinforce cancer screening, prevention, and risk reduction initiatives in their communities.  The Wednesday through Friday schedule is packed with unique opportunities for participants to immerse themselves in engaging presentations facilitated conversations, relationship building, and more.  LEARN MORE

The NW NARCH program, in collaboration with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board and the OHSU Prevention Research Center, are offering a new fellowship in cancer prevention and control research.  The training will be offered in conjunction with the last two weeks of the Summer Research Training Institute at the Indian Health Board in Portland, Oregon, June 17-29, 2018.  In addition, fellows will attend a one-week session in the fall of 2018 that is focused on additional topics in cancer prevention and control research among tribal people.  Fellows will work with peer and career mentors to develop and implement cancer control projects, and will be supported to attend professional meetings to present their research findings.  Please feel free to distribute your lists.  For more information, please see the NPAIHB website at or contact Ashley Thomas by email at or by phone at 503-494-2907.

Funding Opportunity - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - Policies for Action:  Policy and Law Research to Build a Culture of Health - HERE