Before and after photos of the box at Union and North.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Last year, the seemingly ordinary utility boxes throughout the downtown were transformed into colorful and vibrant pieces of art.
Now, it is time to do some more.
The Artscape Committee announced the return of the paintbox program, which is an art competition with eight winners decorating the utility boxes on North Street. The project takes the boring, gray utility boxes and turns them into public art.
"We were so overwhelmed by the support of the community from last year's paintbox project. We were overwhelmed by the number of submissions we had and the quality of those submissions. We're really just beyond excited for the next round," Artscape Vice Chairman Sean McCusker said at a press conference Wednesday morning at Hotel on North.
Last year, some 60 artists submitted work for eight boxes spanning from the Berkshire Museum to Persip Park. Now, a new batch of utility boxes will be painted as eight more have been chosen spanning from Persip to Berkshire Medical Center.
Berkshire Money Management is sponsoring the program and is providing $250 for artists to buy materials for the work and then an additional $150 for being chosen. The submission deadline for this year's project is on April 10 with judging in May. In June the artists will be given the first stipend and the work is expected to be completed and unveiled at Third Thursday in July.
"I thought it would be a cool thing for people to experience," said Allen Harris of Berkshire Money Management. "I liked the idea to take something ordinary and make it pop."
The paintbox program is just one of many public art ventures the city has embraced over the years. Whether that be Sheeptacular or the placing sculptures downtown every year, the Artscape Committee heads many efforts to bring art and culture into everyday life. And it has the support of the mayor.
"We know that art is the thing that enriches lives. I think the city of Pittsfield has really launched itself in a lot of great ways around arts and culture and how important that is to community life," Mayor Linda Tyer said.
"Any time I have an opportunity to celebrate something special that involves art and culture, I'm always 'sign me up.' I'm looking forward to this next round of the paintboxes. This was a great first endeavor where we saw some really great artists who delivered some interesting and important messages around community life."
Tyer said she particularly loves the "community spirit" involved in the undertaking. That community spirit is something McCusker also promoted when he urged artists to go out to the boxes and be inspired by the area's surroundings and history.
"There is a lot of history and a lot of culture in Pittsfield to be inspired by," McCusker said.
Submissions can be sent in via mail or email. The application is below.
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