City Calls for Artist to Paint Boxes

Andrew Bell paints the first of what City officials hope will be many murals on utility boxes as part of the Chelsea Painted Box program. The City is calling on artists to apply for the right to paint the ubiquitous and often graffiti-targeted

Chelsea Painted Box, a new program calling for artists to paint utility boxes throughout the city, has begun. Painted Box is part of Chelsea’s effort to deter graffiti and promote art.

The program is being  administered by the Chelsea Cultural Council.

“The Arts have always been important to our city,” said City Manger Jay Ash. “Chelsea Painted Box is a great way to encourage creativity and to provide a way for artists to express themselves. It’ll be great seeing all those drab utility boxes be colorful and vibrant.”

A first box has already been painted by then Chelsea resident Andrew Bell during the Chelsea Art Walk this past June. Bell, who moved to follow a job as an art teacher in western Massachusetts, painted the old gray box on the corner of Hawthorne St. and 4th St.

Once a victim of graffiti, that box now displays a pleasant sky blue with pink magnolia blossoms painted across it. Many residents were amazed by the result.

“It looks fantastic!” praised Quinnee Valenzona, a Chelsea High School student. “The whole area around the box looks more energized. It’ll be great seeing all of them painted.”

Residents of Chelsea are being invited to participate in the program through an application process. Applications are available both on the City’s website and at City Hall. The application requires a proposed design for a box, as well as other necessary information. The Cultural Council will evaluate the applications, select designs and assign boxes on a rolling admission. Those selected will receive a letter of acceptance that will include important details so that they can begin painting. Once a box is painted, the artist will be awarded a stipend of $200. Applications may be submitted year-round.

“It was a great experience getting involved with public art in Chelsea,” said Andrew Bell. “Programs like this were so successful in other communities and it’ll be great to see how it turns out in Chelsea.”

Said Councillor Calvin Brown, “Chelsea is looking better every day, and this is another way to make sure that is the case. I like what Andy did with this box, and look forward to what others may do while they help beautify our community.”

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