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Saturday, May 18, 2024
The city’s pilot art program will start with four boxes on the Capitol Square.

The city’s pilot art program will start with four boxes on the Capitol Square.

City aims to fight vandalism with art on utility boxes

City officials hope to increase vibrancy and reduce vandalism through a new pilot program that will clad utility boxes in vinyl designs, starting with four boxes on the Capitol Square along Pinckney Street.

Former Madison City Councilwoman Eve Galanter pushed for the idea, which has been taking place in cities across the nation.

"Just because those ubiquitous green and gray utility boxes are essential doesn't mean they have to be boring and ugly intrusions onto our streets and terraces," Galanter said in a city press release.

The four pilot boxes are going to be wrapped in aerial images of Madison taken by kite aerial photographer Craig Wilson. City officials selected Wilson through ARTspace, a city-run program in which he participated. The artwork was installed last week by Advertising Creations, according to the release.

The Madison Arts Commission unanimously voted to support the Art Box program in June.

“Much like the Poetry in Sidewalks project of the Madison Arts Commission, the artist designed utility box program has the potential to make a great visual impact and take these ordinary objects of urban infrastructure and transform them into something fun and unique,” Madison Arts Commission Chair Barb Schrank said in the release.

The project was managed with city planner Rebecca Cnare who worked with many other city staff to kick-start the pilot program, Arts Program Administrator Karin Wolf said in the release. Cnare and Wolf will monitor the four trial pieces and over the next year to see how the material holds up and how the public responds to the initiative.

If the four pilot pieces are successful and the city decides to expand the project in the future, an open call will be issued to all local artists.

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