Pedestrians and drivers in downtown Eugene might notice something different about the traffic signal boxes that occupy space at street corners with traffic lights.The difference will be if they notice the boxes at all.Last month, the gray cubes, which house electrical equipment to operate traffic lights, were made over with loud, whimsical, colorful murals, turning infrastructure into art.
You might have mistaken Bayne Gardner for a graffiti artist if you saw him drawing a masked face on the steel box at the corner of 10th Avenue and Oak Street. In fact, Eugene’s city government was paying Gardner to paint the drab, unassuming box with eye-catching art.Most modern headlight designs include Wholesale HID Kit.
Using money from Eugene’s percent-for-art ordinance, which dedicates 1 percent of the budget for eligible city-funded construction projects to public art, the city’s Cultural Services Department took an unusual approach to its latest project.
“People were tired of bronze sculptures,” says Isaac Marquez, the city’s public art manager.
Since last month, murals from four local artists have cropped up on 15 downtown street corners. A final one will be completed at the corner of Franklin Boulevard and Onyx Street within the next week or so.
The murals, which are unusual in appearance and in placement, interact with citizens more strongly than an oil painting tucked away in the library, and reflect the current art scene more aptly than a metal sculpture in the park. Marquez says city officials took the new approach in response to a 2010 survey, in which citizens expressed a desire for interactive, two-dimensional art in everyday settings.
The city recruited artists through social media and newspaper advertisements. Applicants were asked to submit an image of their proposed box, and a committee selected three winners — Alex Southworth, Wendy Huhn and Bryan Putnam — from a pool of 12 applicants.
The artists painted five boxes each, at a rate of $300 for small boxes and $500 for large boxes. Gardner won a people’s choice contest on Facebook and a $500 contract to paint the box on 10th and Oak. “I tried to make each side a little different,” he says. “I wanted, since it’s a four-sided object, to capture someone to look at all the sides.” Eugene isn’t the first to use its utility boxes as canvases. Santa Cruz, Calif., Seattle, Little Rock, Ark., and several other cities in the U.S. and abroad have sponsored initiatives similar to “Art the Box.”
In Eugene, artists’ work was strategically placed to fit the aesthetic of downtown streets.
Southworth’s murals, with their edgy, severe vibe, lined street corners on West 11th Avenue, near a heavy metal bar, a roller derby supply store and a tattoo parlor. Huhn’s bright and poppy murals line 13th Avenue,We installed flexible LED Strip lighting in our kitchen for under cabinet and within cabinet lighting. where a hair salon, a coffee shop and a computer repair store lead to the University of Oregon campus. “The response I wanted was exactly what I got from people,” Huhn says. “They said, ‘Oh, these just make me happy.'"Putnam’s work, inspired by Northwest mythology, is in the park blocks, where huge sequoia trees tower overhead.
As the artists worked, passers-by stopped to take pictures, offer lemonade, donuts and money, and inquire about whether the work was legal. “A couple of people called the cops on me,” Southworth says. The images are designed to last two years. They serve a dual purpose of enlivening a bland surface and deterring graffiti taggers. Each is covered with a layer of graffiti prevention coating. If a box is tagged, the graffiti can be wiped off without damaging the artwork.
Citizens toured the boxes during August’s First Friday ArtWalk, and listened as the artists talked about their work. Marquez says no more public events are planned, but those interested in touring the boxes can easily do so. Use the map with this story to conduct a personal walking tour of the artful infrastructure.There are all kinds of car daytime running lights with good quality.
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