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Utility box beautification

Utility art
Utility art

Recently approved utility box artwork

Colorful and creative artwork continues to pop up all over town as part of Coeur d’Alene’s Utility Box Beautification project. The city’s Arts Commission recently selected 18 new pieces of artwork created by 13 local artists that will soon be on display on utility boxes across the city—from Appleway, to Fourth Street to Riverstone.

Since the city implemented the beautification project three years ago, 35 utility boxes have been wrapped with the vinyl artwork created by artists, graphic designers, photographers, illustrators and other individuals eager to share their artistic imagination. That number will increase to 53 once the latest art selections are installed later this summer.

Joe Sharnetsky, chairman of the Arts Commission, said the program has been well-received by the community.

“No matter what we put up, everybody just absolutely loves them,” Sharnetsky said. “It beautifies the city, brings smiles to people’s faces and best of all it stops graffiti because when you remove that blank canvas people no longer want to paint on it.”

More below.

Seems like a great idea to me. What do you think?



Local artists who have their talent on display include students from elementary, middle and high schools who have designed their own creations for 12 utility boxes at six schools.

Sharnetsky said he expects the popular program to continue. “I’ve got two more years on the commission and I would like to see as many (utility boxes) covered as possible.”

Cost of the each utility box wrap, including art scanning, printing and installation and artist fee, is $1,490 to $2,323, depending upon whether it is a single or double box location, and is made possible through two art funds.

In 1999, the city adopted an art ordinance that provides 1.33 percent of eligible capital improvement projects be dedicated to fund public art. Additionally, the Lake City Development Corporation contributes 2 percent of its tax increment funding to public art within its redevelopment districts.

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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.