Kristin Tillotson, Star and Tribune
Those boring, gray utility boxes don’t have to be so … utilitarian. Neighborhoods in Minneapolis are prettying up boxes on their streets with local artists’ imaginings.
The city of Minneapolis is about to apply the rule of form covering function to those unsightly gray utility boxes on its streets.
What began as a few pilot beautification and graffiti-reduction efforts could blossom into a citywide color explosion. Later this week, the city’s Art in Public Places program will announce an artists’ call for 12 designs that neighborhoods will be able to choose from to give signal boxes a makeover.
A handful of neighborhoods have already upgraded the eyesore necessities, often targets for random, not-so-pretty graffiti, with either paintings by artists or wrapped-vinyl designs like those on the sides of buses, and more are applying for permits to do so.
First came the downtown Hennepin Avenue utility-box project, launched in 2008 by the Hennepin Theatre Trust. Through legacy grant money, several local artists, including Miles Mendenhall and Sree Nair, were hired to paint boxes along Hennepin between Spruce Place and Washington Avenue. Over the next few years, the Kingfield and Corcoran neighborhoods adorned some of their boxes…read the rest.