Friday, July 10, 2015

Painted Utility Boxes Project, Part 1

Corner of Culver Road and Norris Drive. (7/6/15)
Whether walking, running, bicycling, or (especially) driving, it is easy to miss objects of potential interest. It is not unusual to overlook statues, storefronts or flags in the sensory overload that can occur as one makes his or her way down any urban area. Sometimes we are too involved in our own world at the time to recognize or notice that which is present in the environment around us.

Easy to miss; the utility box
above in context. (7/10/15)
With summer break in full swing, I find myself looking for "projects" to keep busy. There is only so much yard to mulch or grass to cut, so I recently began working on a photo project I've long had in mind. Just as there has been a recent increase in the number of Free Little Libraries in our neighborhoods, it is difficult not to take note of the many painted utility boxes that continue to brighten many of our Rochester community's street corners. The majority of them have been on display (seemingly under the radar) for more than five years, and last week I notice a few utility boxes sporting new-looking industrial brown or green camouflage, signaling that I need to get started before it's too late.

Despite the number of painted utility boxes in our community, a quick online search reveals very little concrete information about the public art initiative that resulted in their creation. Only one (not pictured here) was even noted in a newsletter dated a few years ago. I have also noticed that utility boxes that had featured artwork have been recently repainted industrial light green.

Corner of Monroe Avenue and Suter Terrace. (7/6/15)
Do you see what I see? (7/6/15)
Corner of Monroe Avenue and Rosedale Street. (7/6/15)
Some, like those pictured here, are utility boxes that I have passed frequently while running or bicycling in the past. The pictures posted today are on the Southeast side of the city, the part of Rochester in which I reside. In most cases, the artwork is unsigned and therefore anonymous (only the one at the top of the post had any signature, which was indecipherable). Solely based on the angular style, however, the three below (all on stretch of Monroe Avenue) appear to have likely been painted (or at least designed) by the same artist.

Corner of Culver Road and Monroe Avenue. (7/6/15)
Over the next few weeks, I will be using my "cross-train" and "rest" days to bike the hoods searching for utility boxes in hopes of finding those that are decorated to digitally document them. With any luck, there will be other unplanned photos to be taken... it's up for me to just pay closer attention.

Corner of Oxford and Monroe... the "color" of things to come? (7/10/15)

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