Downtown boxes to be ‘Amped Up’ with beautification project, local artists can submit ideas this month

February 15, 2024 | 12:15 am

Updated February 15, 2024 | 1:30 am

Photo by Josh Kelly

Nearly 2 dozen of Owensboro’s downtown traffic signal boxes will soon have a fresh, vibrant look. The Chamber Young Professionals is spearheading the “Amped Up Artistry” project to liven up the boxes with art that represents Owensboro.

The idea arose after some CYP members noted seeing signal boxes (meaning the boxes on the ground containing the controls, not the actual signals hanging over intersections) in other cities.

Stephanie Bertram, with the organization’s Community Development Committee, said the project turns something that would typically go unnoticed into something attractive.

“We’re having local artists decorate what essentially is an eyesore on the corner and turning it into something that resonates with their local community. It’s much prettier to look at than a (plain) electric box,” Bertram said.

Bertram and Owensboro Municipal Utilities noted the boxes will not be painted. Instead, they will be covered in vinyl wrapping. Bertram said the wraps are expected to last between 7-10 years.

Bertram said they anticipate the boxes to reflect bourbon, barbecue, and bluegrass. The committee said they are open to art showcasing wider Kentucky themes. Once the art has been submitted, Bertram said an approval committee will review and approve the work before it is placed. They expect to begin wrapping the first boxes this spring and summer.

The project’s first phase will only affect 10 of the boxes in the downtown area. Bertram said the group is trying to help beautify the town with unique features and to provide some ownership and pride amongst community members.

“Transforming traffic boxes into works of art can enhance the aesthetic appeal of a neighborhood or city space, making the environment more visually appealing for residents and visitors alike,” Bertram said. “Engaging in public art projects like this can foster a sense of ownership and responsibility among community members. It encourages active participation in the improvement and maintenance of public spaces.”

OMU owns all traffic boxes, and the project will not affect the traditional power inside the box. OMU Public Relations and Communications Manager Sonya Dixon said they are excited to partner on the project.

“It is a great opportunity for us to be part of the continued beautification of the downtown area. We are excited to see the work of local artists prominently displayed on OMU traffic signal boxes, and we thank the Chamber Young Professionals for spearheading this project,” Dixon said.

The committee is still accepting applications from artists. Artwork can be submitted to [email protected] no later than March 1.

February 15, 2024 | 12:15 am

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