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Brightening up Boston’s neighborhoods with PaintBox

Eighty-three artists painted utility boxes throughout the City with unique designs.

Stumbling upon new art in your neighborhood just got a whole lot easier. This past year, we’ve had 83 City of Boston-owned utility boxes painted by local artists in various neighborhoods throughout the city as part of our ongoing PaintBox program in collaboration with the Streets cabinet. 

For several years now, we’ve invited local artists to apply to paint a box with their own unique designs. The goals of the program are to celebrate local artists, revitalize the streetscape, and give artists an opportunity to try their hand at public art. 

PaintBox gif

In 2021, we received a record-breaking 438 applications from artists in Boston and beyond. The result was 83 newly painted boxes in 13 neighborhoods. Boxes range from vibrant, abstract designs to recognizable neighborhood landmarks, fictional creatures to detailed wildlife, people to pets, and everything in between.

Photo of artist Maria Carolina Ticona with her PaintBox.
Photo: Artist Maria Carolina Ticona with completed PaintBox at the intersection of Bennington Street and Byron Street in East Boston.

“This has been an incredibly beautiful experience. From getting to paint in my neighborhood, to doing a piece about grieving your home country, to visually bringing some mangoes and cayena flowers from my home in Venezuela, to receiving beautiful comments while painting from elders and elementary school kids! Thank you to the City of Boston for supporting your local artists and making PaintBox 2021 happen!”

- Artist Maria Carolina Ticona

We encourage you to see how many you can find throughout the city! Let us know your favorites by tagging us on social media at @ArtsinBoston. 

If you’re interested in painting a box yourself, stay tuned! We plan on reopening applications next spring.

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