The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Local Artists Turn Downtown Utility Boxes into Artwork

Local Artists Turn Downtown Utility Boxes into Artwork

If you take a stroll down Main Street in Northampton, you may notice something a little bit different. Where there used to be four blank utility boxes, there now stand four beautiful pieces of artwork. Designed and painted by local artists, these four utility boxes are the product of the downtown art project, Paint This Box!

Paint This Box! began as a project inspired by Peter Zierlein, who had previously painted two utility boxes in Northampton. Peter saw his artwork as something that could be further replicated, so he reached out to Northampton Arts Council Director, Brian Foote, to see if they could collaborate. Brian was excited about this idea and they began to set the project in motion.

Following the success of BenchWalk, Brian contacted Jonathan Goldman who had helped lead that project. Jonathan happily joined the planning team and, within a few weeks, they had created a full plan for how to execute what was now being called, “Paint This Box!” The name was inspired by Peter who was hoping to see this project as both an opportunity for artists to be recognized and to get the Northampton community excited about public art.

Paint This Box! quickly caught on, and when the selection jury had received all of the submissions for the project, they were stuck with difficult decisions. Ultimately, the jury of Brian, Northampton Arts Council Member Joseph Pesce, and A. P. E. Associate Director Lisa Thompson decided on Mo Willems, Corinne Cascioppo, Ryan Murray, and Peter Zierlein.

On Sunday, June 11th, Mo, Corinne, Ryan, and Peter hit Main Street to paint their boxes. With great weather in the forecast, the artists were prepared to turn these seemingly boring objects into beautiful artwork. By the end of the day, when the artists hung up their brushes, they left behind four new, great additions to the expanding public art of downtown Northampton.

With Pulaski Park soon to be completed and more public art projects being thought up everyday, Paint This Box! is another step towards seeing Northampton grow as a public art community. Not only do projects like this help make our community more beautiful but they also help support the artists who call Northampton home.

Thank you to everyone who supported this project and made Paint This Box! possible. Without the generous donations from Smith College and Florence Bank, donations of supplies from Foster Farrar and Royal Talens, North America, and the generous support of the Northampton Arts Council, City of Northampton, and Massachusetts Cultural Council this project would not have been possible.

We can’t wait to see what else we can all accomplish if we work together to continue expanding Northampton as a public art community!

POZ @ Hawley Street and Bridge Street

Mo and Cher Willems @ Main Street and Pleasant Street

Brian Foote and Ryan Murray @ West Street and Main Street

Corinne Cascioppo @ South Street and Main Street

POZ @ Hawley Street and Bridge Street

POZ @ Hawley Street and Bridge Street

POZ @ Hawley Street and Bridge Street

POZ @ Hawley Street and Bridge Street

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