Clean Water Art Contest

Did you know that most storm drains in Montgomery County lead directly to our streams?  No?  You are not alone! There is a BIG misconception that the water and trash that enters storm drains will be cleaned.

The truth is that the trash, pollution, chemicals and yard waste that flow into our storm drains eventually also flow into our local streams, which then pollutes our rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.

What can we do about this problem?  The answer is educate!


Art for the Environment:

A key way that you can help us educate others is through your art.  Use your creative skills to spread the word to stop litter and other pollution from ending up in our environment and eventually ending up in our waterways!

The Clean Water Art Contest seeks to use art to educate the public about the connection between our communities, streams, and the Bay.  This contest is held annually, stay tuned for the next one!

Past contest winners have their art recreated on storm drains throughout Montgomery County and outreach materials shared throughout the year at events!  Many people are inspired by the art to protect our communities, environment and waterways.

Winners of the 2020 Contest:



Painted Storm Drains:

Storm Drain Art

Contest Details:

Who Can Enter?

Any resident of Montgomery County, MD. All ages can submit art, however, entries by those under 18 years of age require a parent or guardian signature.


What is the Prize?

The winners will see their art painted on storm drains (and possibly trash cans and bus ads) in Montgomery County (and maybe even longer)!

The art will be visible to the public and will play an important role in educating County residents on water quality issues. Plus, the art will help beautify the County and add a pop of color and beauty to typically boring storm drains.



Stay tuned for the next contest.

How Do I Enter?

Step 1. Determine if this contest is right for you.  The Clean Water Art Contest is limited to residents of Montgomery County, MD.  Employees of Montgomery County, MD government, contest judges, or family of contest judges are not eligible.


Step 2. Read the Rules and Restrictions (.pdf, 328KB) it explains the details, timing, and requirements of the contest.  For additional info, check out the Clean Water Art Contest FAQs (.pdf, 683KB).

Step 3.  Get creative! Think about what message you would like to communicate about water quality, pollution and our streams. Sketch out some ideas, test them on family and friends. Also think about what medium you would like to create the art – on a computer, hand drawn, etc.

Step 4.  Create your art work.  Utilizing the guidelines in the Rules and Restrictions (.pdf, 328KB), you can submit up to two (2) art designs to the contest.

Step 5. Depending on the medium your art was created in, either convert it to a .PDF, .jpg, or .png file or take a picture of your art in those formats. Try to make the picture as crisp and clear as possible and capture the entire piece in one picture.   (If you are submitting two designs, they should each be a separate file.)

Step 6. Complete one Entry and Release Forms (.pdf, 194KB) for each design. In an email, send the Release Form and the art file (.pdf, .jpg or .png) to  (If submitting two pieces, each file and accompanying Release Form should be in a separate email). If you do not receive an automatic reply, your entry might not have been received.  Call 240-777-7778 to assist with your entry.


Required Documents

There are two required documents that every contest participant should download:

  • Rules and Restrictions (.pdf, 328KB)  This document has all the information you need to successfully enter the contest.
  • Entry and Release Forms (.pdf, 194KB) This document has the Entry and Release Forms that must be completed and submitted with the original art work.

Documentos en Español


The winners will be selected by a panel of judges.  One winner will be chosen by public voting on one of the department’s Social Media platforms.  The public will have one week to “like” their favorite art designs.  The art design with the highest number of likes by the closing date will be a winner.

The public voting period time will be announced soon.  Anyone wishing to vote without using social media can email to request the images of the finalists via email.  You will be able to vote via the same email.


Helpful Resources


Share This Contest with Friends and Neighbors!

The 2020 contest is hosted by the DEP and the East County Regional Services Center in collaboration with the Department of Transportation, Montgomery Parks, Audubon Naturalist Society Chevy Chase, MD, Arts on the Block and One Montgomery Green.

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