A new program has begun in Calgary called the “Utility Box Program.” It started back in 2010 but just arrived to the Calgary areas in the spring of 2014. The program was set up to create public art on utility boxes using funding for regular lifecycle maintenance of these boxes.
Calgary’s communities of McKenzie Towne and New Brighton have experienced their city utility boxes being used as an art canvas. Here is more about what McKenzie Towne and New Brighton have experienced thanks to artists from the “Utility Box Program.”
The utility boxes in these areas have gone from plain utility boxes to those featuring lilacs and gas lights. Artist Michelle Wiebe is a British Columbia native that has been painting since her teenage years. She’s pained from Swaziland to Nova Scotia and has settled now in Calgary. She heard about the Utility Box Program and decided to apply with her proposal. She heard about the program on Twitter.
McKenzie Towne residents received the gas light paintings on their boxes. It was a great representation of their area with the old style lights painted on the front and back ends. Wiebe found that McKenzie Towne had a strong bond within their community so the chain circling around the box represented this. The box also featured images of the neighbourhood inside each link symbolizing community strength.
New Brighton’s utility boxes offered lilacs as the focal point. This was meant to represent the community as the flower can be seen everywhere around the community when in season.
Since the 2010 start of the Utility Box Program, an initiative was launched called The Inspiring Strong Neighbourhoods Initiative in which they partnered with artists to achieve their mission. These artists consulted the community to decide what would best represent their area on the paintings. Wiebe held a Stampede breakfast to ask members of McKenzie Towne and New Brighton their thoughts on what best represented them for the paintings. Now, residents are enjoying their new community public art.
Justin Havre is the top producing REALTOR® with RE/MAX First, Canada's very first RE/MAX brokerage. Calgary real estate is his passion; Justin specializes in Southwest & Northwest Calgary homes for sale. He can be reached at 403.217.0003 or contacted through this site.