Storm drain art initiative beautifies communities and educates about stormwater pollution

Working together to create multiple murals around storm drains in downtown Port Huron, Megan Strachan and Edward “Eddie” Lee are two of the artists who recently took part in one of Friends of the St. Clair River’s latest initiatives using art as a way to raise awareness of the importance of storm drains and reducing pollution in our water.

The duo created their designs individually and then painted the storm drains and surrounding pavement together, turning them into eye-catching art installations with vibrant colors and cartoon-style figures.

“There are storm drains everywhere — in parking lots, neighborhoods, and all around our community — and we just walk by them,” says Sheri Faust, Executive Director of Friends of the St. Clair River. “We don't stop to think about their connection to our water, the water where we fish, kayak, swim, and drink. So we just wanted this art to make people stop, even just for five or 10 seconds, and think about that storm drain and its connection to the river.”

Support for the initiative also came from River Rec Teen Zone, the City of Port Huron, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, and the St. Clair Art Association which helped to not only cover the costs of materials for the artists but compensate each of the project’s artists.

Located on Michigan Street, Strachan’s mural depicts a frog with a tiny hat with the message “Only rain in the drain” written on its belly while holding an umbrella amidst the puddling rain which flows into the storm drain. Strachan’s signature red mushrooms play a cameo in the mural, a nod to her business The Toadstool Treasury.

“I do a lot of stuff with resin on the side, I've gotten into making jewelry recently,” she says. “We like to go on hikes, we’re pretty outdoorsy and we like to forage a lot, and I’ll make jewelry out of the mushrooms that we find if they're not edible.”

Eddie Lee and Megan Strachan collaborated on the project creating two murals surrounding storm drains in downtown Port Huron.
Throughout the creation of her storm drain mural, Strachan’s first large-scale public artwork, Lee was able to offer advice and support using the skills he honed last summer by participating in the Making Muralists project at the Military Street tunnel.

“He's already been doing big canvases and I've never really done anything bigger than like an 8x10, so that was really cool getting out of your box with some bigger work,” Strachan says.

Just a short walk away from Strachan’s artwork Lee’s storm drain mural can be found off of Grand River Avenue across from Gina’s Art Gallery and Port Huron - Country Style Marketplace. Three fish native to our local waterways, a sturgeon, a muskie, and a trout, circle each other in the artwork alongside the message “Keep our waters fresh.”

“I've always liked the woods and conservation,” he says. “We're a really wasteful society and there's so much more that we could do.”

In addition to art, Lee is also an avid musician and plays a variety of instruments including the drums, guitar, cello, banjo, and several others. More of his work can be seen at the Exquisite Corpse Coffee House where he will be a featured artist in the gallery throughout August.


Related: secondwavemedia.com/the-keel/devnews/Kayla-Faust-storm-drain-muralist.aspx

Read more articles by Liz Fredendall.

Liz Fredendall is a photojournalist and communications professional with nonprofit experience. In addition to her work with The Keel, Liz manages communications for the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, runs her own photography business, and writes for several publications. During her free time, Liz enjoys reading and exploring the Blue Water Area with her husband Erick and their corgi, Nori. Contact Liz at editor@thekeelph.com or follow her on Instagram @lizfredendallphoto.