DFP Issues Call For Utility Box Art

The Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership is seeking artist proposals for the downtown utility box art project. The goal of this project is to take ordinary objects of urban infrastructure and transform them into fun and unique additions to the streetscape.  

You might not even notice them, but there are 12 city-owned utility boxes in the downtown district in three sizes. The project plan is to install artistic vinyl wraps to make the utility boxes visually appealing. The designs will be original works of art created by local artists.  Artist proposals are due by February 15, 2018.  An ad-hoc committee will determine which 12 inspiring designs will be installed in early spring 2018. A $200 artist stipend will be paid for each design chosen. Full submission details are available at www.downtownfdl.com.

The utility box art project has been endorsed by the City of Fond du Lac Art Board and follows recommendations to incorporate more public art into the downtown streetscape by the Downtown Fond du Lac Market Analysis Report and Downtown Exploratory Committee Report. Funding for the pilot program will come in part from the Fond du Lac Area Foundation.

Amy Hansen, Executive Director of the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership and chair of the City of Fond du Lac Art Board hopes this is just the beginning for the utility box art project. “The initial phase will be located in the Downtown district,” she says. “In addition to supporting local artists, this pilot program will continue to build momentum towards our growing arts scene and has the potential to expand from downtown throughout the City of Fond du Lac.”

While this quick and relatively easy public art project will certainly add color and vibrancy to the downtown, it will also test the theory thatpublic art reduces instances of vandalism. The artists’ designs will be printed on vinyl and then wrapped around the boxes. This will provide extra durability during harsh weather and offer easier repair in instances of damage.

“Hopefully this will be the start of a movement to complete all of the utility boxes throughout the City of Fond du Lac, and also kick start more public art initiatives including murals, decorative benches, sculptures, et cetera,” Hansen says.

The mission of the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership is to establish a diverse, prosperous and healthy district that is the social, commercial and cultural heart of the city. The DFP is a 501c3 organization with an over-arching goal to continuously improve the vitality of downtown Fond du Lac.