Norman Public Arts Board Seeks Artists to Transform Drains into Works of Art

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On behalf of the Norman Arts Council and the City of Norman, Oklahoma, the Norman Public Arts Board seeks artist submissions for Artful Inlets.

The City of Norman operates and maintains a series of underground pipes, open channels, ditches, and roadways used to collect or convey stormwater runoff from our homes and businesses to the nearest body of water, such as a creek, stream, or lake. In urban areas, stormwater runoff from hard surfaces, like roofs and driveways, flows along the side of the road until it reaches a storm drain, which is an opening or grate in the curb connected by pipes to the nearest waterbody.  Water and other materials that enter these storm drains are transported directly to our creeks and streams without any treatment. Some of the pollutants that enter our local creeks and streams with stormwater runoff include grass clippings, oil, trash, fertilizers, pesticides, and pet waste.

The Norman Arts Council, Public Arts Board, and City of Norman are inviting artists to submit designs that will transform city storm drains into works of public art. These Artful Inlets will educate and raise awareness that pollutants that go down storm drains have a devasting impact on our local water quality.

There will be five (5) drains identified for this project. They will all be on Main Street between Porter Avenue and Santa Fe Avenue. The artwork should have a stormwater and/or water quality theme and must be adaptable to any of the five specified drains. Each selected artist will incorporate their original design into the prescribed area around the storm drain. See below for details.

It is important to note that the ornamental brick area lining Main Street sidewalks (24” to 25.5” wide by 8’ long) cannot be painted on or otherwise altered by the artist. It will be taped off and covered with plastic sheeting prior to the artist’s scheduled date and time for installation.

Submission Rules

  • Artists (or a team of artists) must be 18 years or older and a resident(s) of Cleveland County, Oklahoma. 

  • All designs must be submitted on the provided Design Worksheet.

  • Design proposals must be submitted through Submittables no later than February 22, 2019. Only applications submitted through the on-line process will be considered.

  • Artists must submit only original designs and, if selected, must install the selected, original design.

  • Submissions must include a short artist biography and information about the proposed design

  • A list of any additional materials to be used that are not provided by the Public Arts Board must also be included

Design Criteria

  • Artistic excellence

  • Feasibility of executing the proposed design

  • Incorporation of the theme

  • When designing artwork, each artist is asked to consider the following themes:

  1. Stormwater Pollution AND/OR

  2. Environmental Protection:  the importance of cleaner water

  • Each design should include a message or phrase that references one or more of the above. 

  • The design must be appropriate for a public space

  • Any materials supplied by the artist must be eco-friendly, not contribute to stormwater pollution, and be pre-approved by the Public Arts Board and the City of Norman

  • Designs may not contain any business reference, promotions, or advertisements

  • Designs may not contain any breach of intellectual property, brands or trademarks, or depiction of illegal activity

Selected Artists will receive:

  • $400.00 stipend when installation and sealing is completed

  • Clean, primed area stationed off with appropriate traffic control devices while painting

  • Tent to provide shade over the area while painting

  • Sherwin-Williams Armorseal paint – black, white, yellow, red, and blue with a non-slip additive

  • Water for painting

  • Tubs and containers for water and paint

  • Drinking water

Selected Artists must provide:

  • The original design

  • Execution of the accepted design

  • Brushes

  • Any other supplies or tools they deem necessary to execute their design

The artists will be selected based on the materials submitted in this application. Artist selection for this project will be made by a panel including City of Norman staff and members of the Norman Public Arts Board who will choose 5 artists and 1 alternate based on the Design Criteria listed above.

The Selection Panel will assign a storm drain to each artist upon selection.


  • Submission deadline is February 22, 2019

  • Artists will be selected and notified by March 15, 2019

  • Installation of the artwork will be April 12 – 14, 2019

  • Event celebrating the artful inlets including official walking tour TBA

Defined space for artwork

The area that artists are allowed to paint is a five (5) feet by eight (8) feet area on the sidewalk above the inlet and a one (1) foot by eight (8) feet area on the pavement in front of the inlet grate (see Official Design Template). 

Artists MUST use the Official Design Template to propose designs. Although the various storm drains are shaped differently, the prepared and sealed sidewalk surrounding the drains will be in a rectangular shape. Be mindful that some changes to your design may be required to accommodate the specific location and those will be approved by the Public Arts Board.

Each storm drain is made of metal with a metal grate in front of it that varies in shape and position, as represented in the photos on the template. The shape of the drain is a rectangle. You may paint into the street up to one foot beyond the grate. The design does not have to completely fill the storm drain plot. 

It is important to note that the ornamental brick area (24” to 25.5” wide by 8’ long) cannot be painted on or otherwise altered by the artist. It will be taped off and covered with plastic sheeting prior to the artist’s scheduled date and time for installation.


Debby Williams, Public Art Manager, Norman Arts Council 

Share Your Artistic Insight by Applying to Lead 2019 Undercover Artist Workshop

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Everyone has an artist lurking within. Undercover Artists is a series of art workshops — led by some of Norman's finest artists — debuting in 2017 that celebrates the creativity of amateurs and practiced artists, alike. The workshops, inviting all skill levels and a variety of ages, are equal parts fun and informative, a collaborative community experience that will let that inner artist come to the forefront for a spell (or maybe unleash a new, long love affair).

The NAC is seeking artists to lead these workshops! If you are an artist in Oklahoma and iterested, please submit an application by December 19, 2018 at 11:59pm!

We will select four artist-lead workshops for the 2019 calendar year. Selected artists will receive a $250 honorarium.

The Line Between Reality and Imaginary is Muddied in Norman Artist’s Solo Exhibition

Norman artist Jason Cytacki invites visitors to his new exhibition Reruns to remember moments that never even happened. 

Paintings of everyday Midwestern scenes and sculptural works that serve as models for said paintings will bring a rush of familiarity twisted by the fact that these exposed, not quite finished vignettes of a typical Midwestern existence are only vague recreations of fuzzy memories, a sort of modern take on “crumbling wonders of classical ruins.”

Reruns opens Friday, December 14 at MAINSITE Contemporary Art, 122 E. Main, Norman and runs through Friday, January 11.  

The exhibition will be celebrated with an opening reception from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, December 14 with a closing reception scheduled for 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, January 11. Both receptions occur in conjunction with the free 2nd Friday Norman Art Walk — presented by Norman Arts Council — that takes place monthly in the Walker Arts District of Downtown Norman.  

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Cytacki is an Associate Professor of Painting at the University of Oklahoma. Cytacki earned MFA from the University of Notre Dame in 2011 and now lives and works in Norman. His work examines the underlying framework that mediates the values, meanings and symbols of the world we inhabit. 

“Using specifically mundane imagery, each painting presents a common experience, evoking a sense of ambiguous but relatable familiarity,” Cytacki said in his artist statement. “However, each image actually depicts a hand-built miniature set, these familiar moments never really existed. The illusion dissolves upon closer inspection when visible details such as the corrugation of the cardboard and tape become apparent, suggesting fragility and artifice.”

MAINSITE Contemporary Art is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Both daily gallery hours and receptions are free and open to the public.


Norman Arts Council Seeking Gallery Assistant Interns

The Norman Arts Council is seeking 2 interns for the position of Gallery Assistant. Approximately 10 hours per week for each internship spread over weekdays, Saturdays, and some evening events. 

If you are an art or art history major, junior or senior, you may earn up to 3 credit hours towards your degree with final approval by the Director of the OU School of Visual Arts. 

The Gallery Assistant will have the opportunity to work with all NAC staff on various projects including, but not limited to: exhibition installation, special events, marketing, and other admin duties. This internship is ideal for a student majoring in the arts, but it is not a requirement.  

Specific Duties:

  • Assist the staff with administrative tasks

  • Greet guests of the gallery and provide information on artists and exhibits as requested.

  • Assist in the planning and facilitation of events.

  • Assist in the installation and de-installation of gallery exhibits.

  • Perform other tasks as determined by the Executive Director or the Associate Director.

  • Assist in the care and upkeep of the gallery before, during, and after exhibitions.

  • Keep up-to-date on the other art organizations in Norman and their primary contacts.

  • Assist with 2ndFriday Art Walks – prep, work event, clean-up.

  • Maintain Saturday gallery hours.

  • Be available for evening and weekend events as necessary and agreed upon.


Submit letter of interest and resume to:
Erinn Gavaghan
Norman Arts Council Executive Director
OU School of Visual Arts PhD Student

Deadline to apply: Friday, December 7, 2018

Norman Arts Council Accepting Spring 2019 Arts Education Scholarship Applications

Scholarship Program Mission:  The Norman Arts Council Arts Education Scholarships are intended to provide Norman children with the opportunity to attend arts programming that is offered outside of schools.  


For SPRING 2019 Programs – Monday, November 26, 2018 @ 11:59pm CST

Note: Please read application guidelines thoroughly to ensure timely completion of all requirements!


ELIGIBILITY: The Norman Arts Council invites students in grades K-8 who live or go to school in Norman, Oklahoma to apply for a scholarship to offset the cost of an arts education experience provided by an established arts organization or educator.

APPLICATIONS: The NAC has recently restructured their scholarship criteria, so there is new information. Only Applications submitted through the on-line process will be considered for funding. Applications must be 100% completed for consideration. "I don't know" or "unsure" answers will deem an incomplete application.

SELECTION CRITERIA:  The NAC is seeking applications for scholarships from students who:

  • express a strong desire to enhance their arts education experience beyond what is offered at schools

  • demonstrate a past commitment to visual or performing arts

  • have the ability to commit to the completion of the program

  • have a financial need that prevents them from funding the tuition themselves

  • priority will be given to new applicants, low income applicants, and applicants seeking funds for visual arts programs

  • $500 is the maximum award a single student will be granted

  • Applications must be 100% completed

Applicants will not be turned down for not meeting all of the criteria. It is encouraged, however, to try to meet as many as possible and to address the criteria directly in the proposal.

AWARDS:  Award notification will be by email. Due to limited funds, applicants may not receive the full funding requested and/or may not receive any funding at this time.

DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS:  Upon award notification and receipt of agreement, the Norman Arts Council will give the awarded funds directly to the organization or individual implementing the program applied for on behalf of the student. Should the program be cancelled for any reason by the organization or individual implementing, the funds will be returned to the Norman Arts Council’s scholarship program and may be applied for during the next cycle.

COMMITMENT TO PROGRAM:  Upon award notification, the student’s parent or legal guardian will receive an agreement that states they will commit to ensuring the student’s regular attendance to the program. If the student fails to attend at least 75% of the program, the student will be asked to withdraw; any remaining funds will be returned to the Norman Arts Council’s scholarship program; and the student will not be eligible in the future.

AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS:  The total amount of scholarship funds available may be awarded to one applicant or divided among multiple applicants. The Norman Arts Council reserves the right to not award any scholarships should there be a lack of qualified candidates or shortage of scholarship funds.

LIABILITY:  Award recipients and their guardians agree to indemnify and hold harmless the NAC, its employees, its agents, and its Board of Directors, in connection with any action, claim, lawsuit, charge, or proceeding, including but not limited to any civil action in State or Federal Court, or before any State or Federal agency, which is made or brought against recipients, NAC, and/or any of NAC's employees, agents, or board members, by any person or entity, based upon and/or arising out of a recipient's use of the funds.

APPEALS:  Any applicant who is denied a scholarship in whole or in part may only appeal directly to the NAC Education Committee on the following grounds: 1) discrimination against the applicant or its membership on the basis of: race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, or disability, which is shown to have materially and adversely affected the outcome of their application; 2) illegal activity on the part of the Education Committee or a member of the Education Committee, which is shown to have materially and adversely affected the outcome of their application.