Painted utility boxes transform Lakeview streets into an art gallery

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

Local artists are transforming utility boxes, usually eye-sores, into works of art and they're getting paid to do it.

'I thought first, utility boxes?' local painterJoseph Pearson said while chuckling.

Although it was different, Pearson couldn't resist the opportunity to beautify his community. But he says the real treat, is being able to step outside the studio.

'They see the work,' Pearson said, 'but they don't see the hand that did it so it's an opportunity to actually be in the public and meet and greet.'

Jeannie Tidy, the founder of Community Visions Unlimited, came up with the idea to help beautify the city and support local artists.

'This gives them a way to display their art, have it out in the public and people can appreciate it without having to go to a museum or gallery,'Tidy said.

And she said the project has been wildly successful.

'It's become so well liked that we really have people calling us on a daily basis now asking us to come to their neighborhood,' Tidy said.

It's not hard to see why. Not only is the graffiti and stickers removed to make it an ideal canvas, but once the artwork is up, it actually deters vandalism.

'It works,' Tidy said. 'Imean, not one of the boxes has been graffitied since they've been up and some of them have been up two years now.'

So far the organization has done 30 utility boxes. The idea has become so popular, the project is now expanding to other parts of the city, and that's when Ana Borden jumped at the opportunity to paint a utility box in her neighborhood.

'I love this city so much,' saidAna Borden, an architect and artist. 'I'm born and raised here and I really was honored to have the opportunity to leave a mark here with a paint brush.'

Borden said the goal for all the artists is to get the utility box to blend in with it's surroundings, and she said that's where she found her inspiration.

'Each of the four sides is a one point perspective,' Borden said.'So when you're coming into the intersection, you have a glimpse of what's just beyond it.'

Tidy says the goal is to raise enough money to complete 369 utility boxes by the end of the year.


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