Project Switch Box Art Looks to Add a Splash of Color to City

They’re a needed part of providing our utilities, but the switchboxes have become part of a steel grey blight in some neighborhoods.

Revere officials are calling out to local artists to help spruce up the boxes.

With 20 switchboxes throughout the city, six have been accepted so far for artists to work on.

“We’re hoping this will kick start public art throughout the community,” said Elle Baker, of Revere on the Move. “The project has the full support of Mayor Arrigo.”

So far, one box on Revere Beach by Kelly’s is being worked on by Bruce Orr of Lynn. Joseph Koury, of Boston, is working on a box on Revere Street. Kevin O’Neil, of Revere, has a box on Broadway. Kathleen Heiser, of Revere, has one on Endicott Avenue. Bobby McKenna, of Revere, is working on a box in front of Beachmont MBTA Station. Jeffrey Ivers, of Lynn, has one on Revere Street and Jay MacDonald, of Revere, is doing one on Broadway.

For those interested an application can be found on Artists must submit a sketch of their design. It has to be original artwork and no advertising.

Artists are free to select their own switchbox given the location, maybe close to where they live or work.

“We encourage all artists, all budding artists to apply,” Baker said.

Each artist receives $250 to go toward the cost of supplies and materials. This was made possible through a Revere Cultural Council grant of $3,000.

“There’s really three wins here. I see it as bringing vibrancy to each neighborhood. It celebrates the talent of local artists and it’s a step toward eliminating graffiti,” Baker said.

If all goes well all the artwork will be wrapped up by the Fall. Next spring the artwork will begin again.

Switchbox art can also be seen in other communities such as Stoneham, Malden, Salem, Santa Cruz, Calif., and Phoenix, Az.

“They become a conversation piece,” Baker said.

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