Utility Boxes of all shapes and sizes populate many intersections in Downtown Chattanooga protecting wires and switches that make our traffic signals, street lights and phones work. And while these boxes serve desirable utility needs for our city, they can be an unappealing piece of our landscape and can attract unwanted graffiti and stickering.
Prompted by this and the desire to add more vibrancy and art to our streets, ℹ River City Company and ℹ EPB along with the Chattanooga Department of Transportation, CDOT, and in partnership with Public Art Chattanooga are launching ArtSpark. For ArtSpark, local artists will have the opportunity to propose a design which will be printed on a vinyl covering to wrap around a selection of utility boxes in Downtown Chattanooga.
Starting on July 9 and lasting until September 4, artists can submit his or her ideas for the competition, that will cover up to 20 utility boxes that dot major intersections around downtown from Aquarium Way to 13th Street and from Broad Street to Georgia Avenue.
“While Downtown already has a wonderful sampling of colorful and dynamic art, we see these utility boxes as blank canvases that our local artists can recreate with color, energy, curiosity and meaning,” states Amy Donahue, Director of Marketing and Communication for River City Company.
EPB is working with additional partners including the UTC – Southeast Center for Education in the Arts (SCEA), Hamilton County Public Schools and ℹ ArtsBuild on ArtSpark Goes to School which is a robust pilot educational program centered on electricity that will conclude with up to five EPB owned utility boxes being covered with art designs from local high school students.
“EPB is excited serve with dynamic organizations in ways that ignite student imagination, enhancing quality of life for everyone in our community through public art,” states Elizabeth Hammitt, EPB Director of Community and Environmental Stewardship.
For this competition, a local artist is defined as someone whose primary residence is in the 16 county Thrive Regional Partnership designation. The selected artists will receive a design fee of $1,000 per selected proposal. Artists are welcome to submit a design for one box or a design that would cover multiple boxes.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to interject art throughout the civic environment,” says Katelyn Kirnie, Director of Public Art Chattanooga. “ArtSpark is a wonderful partnership and program that leverages existing infrastructure to highlight the artistic talent found right here in our community.”
Design selection will occur in September with the final designs being printed and vinyl wrapped on the utility boxes by this December.