Salem’s first ArtBox, located on Essex Street in front of its sponsor’s popular café, received positive reviews after it was painted in 2011. Inspired by its success and the city’s increased artistic momentum, a group of local art appreciators and community leaders came together at the end of 2011 to spearhead ArtBox, a program to transform City-owned utility boxes into original works of art.
Beyond adding to Salem’s spirit of creativity, sense of place and cultural identity, these boxes are meant to beautify and inspire. ArtBox is now an annual program that is running into its third year!
ArtBox 2014 Winners
After careful consideration of several strong entries, a jury selected six winners that will be painting utility boxes around Salem this summer as part of ArtBox 2014. See below to learn more about the artists, their inspiration, and when they will be painting their respective utility boxes. Congratulations to these talented artists who are all Salem residents!
June 7 – 13 Scott Froeschl will paint his work entitled “Inner Pieces” in Lafayette Park. “Inner Pieces is an open window into the secret inner workings of these metal boxes. The possibilities are revealed from behind the thin metal veil. The whimsical style is meant to create a depth through trompe l’oeil, catching the eye of vehicle as well as pedestrian foot traffic.”
June 14 – 20 Sheila Farren Billings will paint her work entitled “More Power” at the corner of Margin and Mill Street. “The electrical plugs refer to the electrical box and will be painted rainbow colors with bold, black outlines. The colors and design model energy and movement.”
June 21 – 27 Matthew Curley will paint his work entitled “Coastal Shapes” at the corner of North and Federal Street. “Using geometric shapes, I interpret the natural forms seen in Salem’s rocky coastline. The use of such shapes brings an aspect of Salem’s natural landscape into the contemporary architectural landscape. The design intends to remind viewers of what can be seen on our own shoreline.
July 5 – 11 Heather Reid-Barratt will paint her work entitled “The Great Eye” at the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall and the Shirley Cervoni Walkway. “The symbol of the eye has held great importance to human societies across the span of time. It is a symbol of knowledge and infinite wisdom, of secrets, and mystical societies.
July 12 – 18 Emily Larsen will paint her work entitled “Salem’s Mini Aquarium” at the South River Harborwalk. “From the devoted care of cats and dogs at Northeast Animal Shelter to the beach cleanups organized by Salem Sound Coastwatch, the City of Salem has a long and proud tradition of protecting animals and their habitats. A deep appreciation is what inspired my design: a fish tank that celebrates local threatened and endangered species.”
July 19 – 25 Jennifer Hale will paint her work entitled “Over the Bridge at Dusk” at North and Foster Street (in front of the parking area for Leslie’s Retreat) during the fourth week of July. This work “…is inspired by my runs on Franklin Street. Salem has some of the most breathtaking sunsets and as I run the beach or the historic streets, I cannot help but feel blessed to call this my home city.”
Thank you to the ArtBox 2014 jury: Ken Reker, Associate Professor of Art and Design, Salem State University; Karen Ristuben, President, Rocky Neck Art Colony; Trevor Smith, Curator of the Present Tense at the Peabody Essex Museum; and North Shore artist Norman Laliberté.
A special thanks as well to local sponsor Waters & Brown Paint and Decorating for providing paint supplies!