Traffic Signal Boxes Become Artists' Canvases | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Traffic Signal Boxes Become Artists' Canvases

Tony Davenport puts the finishing touches on his painting on a traffic signal box in downtown Jackson.

Tony Davenport puts the finishing touches on his painting on a traffic signal box in downtown Jackson. Photo by Elizabeth Waibel

Some of downtown Jackson's traffic signal boxes got a fresh coat of colorful paint recently thanks to a group of local artists.

The city commissioned local artists to decorate the traffic signal boxes, which sit at each intersection, with paintings that interpret uniquely Jackson and Mississippi scenes, such as the King Edward Hotel and magnolia motifs. Artists completed the first round of traffic boxes last week, and the city hopes to have more local painters beautify more traffic boxes later this summer.

"These types of projects foster creativity, celebrate and support our artistic community, and add to the overall cultural and tourism value of our city," Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. said in a statement.

The city hopes to have a total of 30 traffic signal boxes painted this summer and to eventually have artists decorate all 300 traffic signal boxes in the Jackson metro area, the statement said.

Other cities around the country have turned their traffic signal boxes over to artists as a way to beautify downtown areas, showcase neighborhood landmarks and discourage graffiti. Johnson got the idea for painting traffic signal boxes after visiting Clayton, Mo., and seeing its public artwork.

The traffic signal box project is part of the mayor's Public Art Initiative, conducted in cooperation with the Greater Jackson Arts Council. The city plans to designate 1 percent of every major capital improvement project to public art projects, a statement said.

The initiative will also make a list of existing public art around the city to make visitors and residents aware of the statues, fountains, sculptures and other art already in Jackson.

The Greater Jackson Arts Council recently sent out a call for artists to paint the next round of traffic signal boxes. For more information, call 601-960-1557.

Have you seen Jackson's newest public art? Tell us about your favorites in the comments, and share your photos on Twitter @JxnFreePress or on Facebook. We'll post our favorites to our website.

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