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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

CALL TO ARTISTS: Northampton Public Arts Festival 2021 Application Guidelines

The Northampton Arts Council is looking for artists to submit work for consideration for the Traffic Light Utility Box Mural Program. The Traffic Light Utility Box Mural Program is designed to encourage community pride and beautify the streets of Northampton, Massachusetts. Murals will be installed in public places and must be suitable for viewing by all ages. The Commission anticipates selecting artwork for up to 7 utility boxes and The Northampton Arts Council will fund $350 per utility box, inclusive of all artist’s fees, paints and materials.

The deadline for the application is Monday May 3rd, 2021

This project is open to all artists. The Commission encourages applications from both new and established artists. Artists may apply as an individual artist or as a group. Group submissions may be for a single utility box. 

Selection Process & Criteria 
Submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee from the Northampton Arts Council. Once the artwork is selected, the committee will send a notification by email.

Criteria used to select artists will be: 

• Evaluation of artistic excellence including quality of the art and artist originality;
• Creative and innovative concepts; and
• Appropriate regard for the nature of the space and the audience.

Selected artists will be notified by May 8th, 2021 

Mural Specifications
• The artwork that is included on the application must resemble the art that will be painted on the box.
• Because the size of the box may vary slightly, be prepared to adjust your artwork to the size of the box.
• The City of Northampton, or its contractors, must have access to the components in the box at all times.
• Some boxes may have safety stickers, locks, and control panels that will have to remain free of any art image.
• Artists may want to block off the box to keep the public from brushing against wet paint, but care should be given to leave at least five (5) feet of the sidewalk open for pedestrians and compliance with ADA requirements.
• The levers/handles/keyholes on the boxes should not have any coating over them.

Painting & Materials 
Artists are responsible for their own materials and for painting the utility boxes. The Northampton Arts Council will contract to have the boxes cleaned and one coat of metal primer applied before Thursday May 13th, 2021.  

Artists are responsible for cleanup of their area and safe disposal of all paint materials.

Below is a comprehensive checklist of highly recommended supplies for the best painting outcome and your personal comfort. This may not be a complete list as all artists work differently: 

• Paint Stool or chair for comfort
• Bucket to hold water for paint brushes
• Paint brushes
• Painters tape, masking tape
• Drop cloth or plastic sheeting, newspaper for protecting surrounded area
• Biodegradable cleanser
• Rags and/or paper towels
• Shade/umbrella

Prepping Utility Box:
The boxes will be cleaned and one coat of metal primer will be applied onto the boxes before Thursday, May 13th, 2021. 

Insurance & Indemnification
Selected artists must sign a Release of Liability and Indemnity Agreement. 

Artists may begin painting utility boxes on Thursday May 13th, 2021. Painting must be completed by Sunday, May 16th, 2021.

Repair and Removal
Artists will be contacted if graffiti is discovered to discuss options for graffiti removal. The Council cannot be held responsible for damage caused by graffiti removal.

The Council may remove a mural from a Traffic Utility Box, at any time, for any one or more of the following reasons: 

  • The mural or any part of it:

    • Requires excessive or unreasonable maintenance;

    • Is damaged irreparably (including vandalism or graffiti), or to an extent that restoration is unreasonable or impractical;

  • The utility box is damaged or needs maintenance, repair, modification, or replacement.

How to Apply

All materials should be submitted through the 2021 Public Arts Fest Application. Proposals will be reviewed by the Northampton Arts Council. All items must be included as part of the submission package or applications will not be reviewed.


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