Ben Cober is behind the effort to hire artists paint the dozen or so gray utility boxes that dot the neighborhood (and are frequent targets of graffiti).
He is collaborating with the Victory Heights Community Council, Seattle Department of Transportation, the Seattle Parks Foundation, and the Seattle Neighborhood Matching Fund, with the goal to grow the beauty and identity of our neighborhood through the addition of local artists’ works to our myriad signal and utility boxes, such as the one above at 15th Avenue NE and Northgate Way.
Why do this? Utility boxes are common elements of streetscapes and provide essential electrical and communication services to our communities. By covering these permanent, nondescript elements of our neighborhood with artwork, they transform into displays of beauty and intrigue, help develop community identity, and can create a more interesting pedestrian and commuter experience while deterring graffiti. In these extraordinary times, we have the opportunity to support local artists, and create vibrant, daily visual reminders of the sites and culture that give us pride and hope as Seattle citizens. Examples of these projects can be seen throughout many iconic Seattle neighborhoods, including Ballard, Fremont, downtown, First Hill, West Seattle, U-District, South Park, and many more.
How Can You Help?
Ben is forming a citizen committee to help define an artistic vision for the signal boxes and select finalist artists from a pool of applications. Participation may require attending several video meetings and reviewing artist applications. If interested, please email VHArtBox@gmail.com this week.
He’s also looking for artists who want to be part of this (paid) project. Email him for details, the deadline is August 9th.