Five Enhanced Utility Boxes Pop Up Around the City
The City of Portland Police Department and the Portland Public Art Committee announced an open call for artists back in June to submit their proposed designs for artistically enhanced utility boxes. Painting these boxes around town was made possible in part by generous donations from NBT Bank and Port Property Management.
Five artists were chosen: Kerrin Parkinson, Congress Square Park;
Jared Goulette, Cumberland and High Street; Katey Carnahan, Cumberland and Franklin Street; Alicia Uth, Woodfords Street and Stevens Avenue; and Michael Lewis, Middle and Pearl Street.
An artists’ panel reviewed submissions from twelve artists. The enhanced utility boxes are intended to beautify the urban landscape, increase civic participation and support the local arts community.
In a June interview District 2 Councilor Spencer Thibodeau said he was excited that the program will “add a cool bit of culture to the City and deter graffiti.”
Spencer had hoped that Bramhall Square may be a good location for an enhanced utility box. Ultimately the only utility box chosen on the Western end of the peninsula was in Congress Square.
The project mirrors similar efforts in cities around the country from Burbank to Boston, which have also been shown to reduce litter, deter graffiti, and increase interest in the area of the utility box locations.
The selected artists received a $300 stipend from funds donated to the Portland Public Art Committee. Artists are responsible for the cost of all materials required to complete and protect their artwork with a clear and washable sealant.