Corn, a pharaoh and a face are painted on fire hydrants

The DeKalb Citizens’ Community Enhancement Commission (CCEC) is seeking applicants for another year of the Paint-A-Plug program, where the community is encouraged to adopt a fire hydrant and turn it into a work of art.

There is no specific theme for the fire hydrants, but artists are encouraged to incorporate different elements of the community or their neighborhood into their art. You may have seen some of the previous creations including an ear of corn, an NIU Huskie and a pharaoh across from the Egyptian Theatre.

While no fee is required to participate in the Paint-A-Plug program, approved artists are responsible for providing their own materials for painting. For 2023, $50 gift cards for the purchase of paint and supplies are being provided by Helen’s Hair Designs and Spa to the first four artists to have their Paint-A-Plug designs approved.

Paint-A-Plug is not limited to only DeKalb residents. The CCEC encourages NIU students and alumni, DeKalb School District students and faculty, employees of DeKalb businesses and area artists to participate.

Questions on the program can be e-mailed to

How Paint-a-Plug works

Step 1: Download an application and design proposal

Step 2: Fill out your application and design proposal and email it to

Step 3: The CCEC and Fire Department will review and notify applicants (with greater detail) of approval or denial.

Step 4: If approved, you will be expected to paint your designated hydrant between April 1 and November 1.

Step 5: When done painting your hydrant, take a picture of your art, email your picture to and share it on social media using #ProudlyDeKalb.

Step 6: Check in on your art throughout the year; if it needs a touch up, please inform the City you will be maintaining your hydrant and do so.