mural on Lake StJill Strait recently created this mural near Hardy School.

Two town entities continue to collaborate on the creation of sidewalk murals.

The goal is to educate Arlington residents about how they can protect local waterways by keeping storm drains clean.

The Storm Drain Sidewalk Mural Project is a collaboration between the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture (ACAC) and the town Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD).

The initiative aims to raise awareness and encourage action, a news release said.


Residents are encouraged to visit the new murals and and then to make a helpful difference in their neighborhood by joining the town’s Adopt-a-Drain program. Each design highlights the importance of keeping storm drains free of litter and debris. Sidewalks near storm drains that flow to Mill Brook, Mystic River, Spy Pond and Lower Mystic Lake were chosen for the project.

So far, two murals have been created, and the artists' work now can be seen at these locations:

  • Jill Strait, Brooks Avenue and Lake Street, near Hardy School (Spy Pond); and
  • Raksha Soni, Norcross and North Union streets, near Thompson School (Mystic River).

Mural near Thompson School created by Raksha Soni.

Two more murals are in progress here:

  • Jacob Ginga, Mass Ave. and Mystic Street, near the Dallin Museum (Mill Brook); and
  • Robin Jones, Columbia and Stowecroft roads, near Bishop School (Lower Mystic Lake).

Arts organizer and Arlington resident Laurie Bogdan coordinated the project with funding from ACAC. Following a call for submissions, a jury of Arlington residents selected the final designs with the intent of ensuring a variety of styles and effective messaging. The jury included Bogdan for ACAC, Arlington Environmental Planner David Morgan for DPCD and local artist Karen McCarthy. Morgan also helped identify and prioritize locations based on environmental data.

“Unfortunately, anything that gets into a storm drain enters our waterways untreated. Leaves, lawn clippings, litter -- these all harm the environment when they go down a storm drain,” said Bogdan. “By strategically placing these murals near high-traffic areas such as shops, schools and pedestrian walkways, we hope to use creativity to spark conversations and encourage residents to think of storm drains as an extension of the lakes, ponds and rivers.”

“Storm drains are a vital part of our infrastructure, channeling water directly into lakes, ponds and rivers,” said Town Manager Jim Feeney in the news release. “Cleaning a storm drain is just like cleaning the banks of a water body, and hundreds of residents have already signed up to adopt a drain in their neighborhood. These artists are skilled painters whose work connects art and the environment. They’ve done great work calling attention to this issue. We’re grateful to them and to ACAC for supporting this project.”

The Mystic River Watershed Association supports Arlington's Adopt-a-Drain program, which helps residents reduce pollution in water bodies. DPCD co-hosts the town’s Adopt-a-Drain program with the Department of Public Works Engineering Division.

ACAC logo

The Storm Drain Sidewalk Mural Project demonstrates Arlington’s commitment to fostering a vibrant arts scene while promoting environmental responsibility, the release notes. All four of these storm drains are available for adoption on the Town's website.

Additional sidewalk mural locations and artists have been identified; Bogdan hopes to repeat the effort next year. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture, a local agency that is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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This news announcement was published Thursday, June 6, 2024, based on information from the Town of Arlington. Longtime YourArlington volunteer prepared it for publication.