Storm Drain Murals Unveiled

Local Artist Jenifer Wofford Creates Vibrant Storm Drain Murals to Raise Awareness of
Stormwater Pollution

JW_SealSan Francisco, June 8, 2016 – The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) unveiled a series of six colorful murals placed at storm drains in the Mission Bay neighborhood. Local artist Jenifer Wofford designed the murals to draw attention to the reality that trash and chemicals allowed to flow into storm drains can lead directly to San Francisco Bay.

“This partnership with the Arts Commission enables the SFPUC to convey public service messages through a deeper connection than a sign or brochure can create,” said Tommy Moala, SFPUC Assistant General Manager, Wastewater Enterprise. “Our goal is to get people to stop and think about the impact their everyday choices can have on the environment.”

Mission Bay is one of the small areas of San Francisco that is served by a separate sewer system, in which stormwater flows directly to receiving waters through storm drains without treatment. In contrast, the combined sewer system in the rest of San Francisco collects wastewater and stormwater in the same set of pipes and transports it to the wastewater treatment plant. Storm drains require greater public awareness due to the potential for pollutants, such as motor oil, pesticides, and trash, to be washed into the Bay.

“The Arts Commission was delighted to engage a local artist on behalf of the SFPUC to develop a creative approach to this particular communication and environmental challenge,” said Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny, “Rather than a standard-issue sign, Jenifer Wofford has created an artwork that literally stops you in your tracks and forces you to think about the consequences of your actions. The message is communicated in an artful way, without words, and also enlivens the urban environment by transforming a simple storm drain into something unexpected and playful.”

Jenifer Wofford is a well-known local artist who often uses humor to address social and political issues. For this project, she created a series of six murals collectively titled, “SF Bay Guardians,” with each mural depicting a different animal common to the San Francisco Bay standing guard in front of the storm drain and keeping various bits of trash and other pollutants from entering the bay. These cute animals gaze pleadingly to passersby. The artwork draws an immediate connection between pollution at the storm drain and the lives of these friendly marine animals.
More about catch basins and storm drains:

Media Contacts:
Jean Walsh, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission: 415-606-6055 (cell);
Kate Patterson, San Francisco Arts Commission: 415-252-2229;

San Francisco Arts Commission

401 Van Ness, Ste. 325
San Francisco, CA 94102

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