Utility Box Public Art

The Utility Box program is currently on hold. The City is gradually transitioning key components of the public art program, such as the Utility Box program, to Calgary Arts Development (CADA). Please visit the CADA website for more information on active and upcoming public art initiatives, and to sign up for email updates. Both The City and CADA are committed to working with artists and the public to create a positive, meaningful and enriching program for the future.

Beginning in 2010, over 200 utility box public artworks were created by local artists, students and community partners throughout Calgary. 

The program repurposed money that would have normally been used to repaint utility boxes a standardized colour. Instead, temporary works of art now add interest and creativity to our street corners. They create a sense of place and identity for communities and greatly reduce instances of graffiti.

Utility box gallery

Utility box mentorship

From 2017 to 2019, we paired experienced public artists with students, community groups and emerging artists to create utility box designs. Read more below. 

2019 Program

Portraits of Whitehorn

Professional artist and teacher Natalie Lauchlan worked with grade one and two students at Colonel J. Fred Scott School to explore the idea of what it means to be unique, and what elements make up the community of Whitehorn in Calgary. Natalie and these students spent time discussing the richness of multiculturalism and exploring the idea of diversity through perspective, place and understanding.

Students created art works that are featured on three utility boxes, as well as two garbage bins, in the area around their school. Portraits of Whitehorn features painted elements of the community that are special to the students as well as self-portraits of students who come from more than 10 different countries, and speak a multitude of languages.

Portraits of Whitehorn is a reflection of the children who call Whitehorn home, and the beautiful diversity within this community.

This project was supported through the City of Calgary Public Art Program. 

Artist Mentor: Natalie Lauchlan

Artists: Grade one and two students of Colonel J. Fred Scott School​.

2018 Program

Painting Our Borough

This summer, local artists created a series of artwork for utility boxes in Marlborough and area. Getting to know the community and the people who live here, they explored the theme of being at home here – discovering what home means to the residents of this neighbourhood and who the individuals are that call this place home.

This project was supported through the City of Calgary Public Art Program, in partnership with Liveable Streets. The boxes are placed along routes where Liveable Streets implemented complete streets to create a safer more liveable neighbourhood for those who call it home. Complete Streets is an approach to street design that strives to accommodate all transportation modes including walking, cycling and transit and driving.

Artist Mentor: Mary Haasdyk
Artists: Scott Clark, Debbie Lee Miszaniec, Jessica Semenoff, Lusine Manukyan, Emilija Angelovska, Ashley Oshiro, Sharon Fortowsky, Nicole Wolf, Michael Grills, Melisa Centofanti.

Indefinite Arts

Local artist Andrew Tarrant has been selected to be our lead mentor, working alongside our artists to complete a public art project that will have several utility boxes painted with beautiful, unique artwork.

The project is funded by the City of Calgary’s Public Art Program. In addition to our mentor artist, all participating artists will receive a fee for the completion of their artwork.

The public art project is one of several ways the Centre is meeting the goals of its strategic plan, This is Our Moment. This is one of several special projects that will be open to artists over the coming months.

Artist Mentor: Andrew Tarrant
Artists: Brad McCaull, Tony Goodison, Amber Harriman, Debbie O’Gorman, Matt Carberry, Brian Ehnis, Lynn Cameron, Rhonda Kottusch, Paul Yue, Tom Martens, Jarret Quinn, and Rebecca Kimber.

2018 Mentors

Mary Haasdyk

Mary Haasdyk is a Calgary-based illustrator. Growing up both in Calgary and South Africa has given her an interest in cultural diversity as well as in people. She received her BFA from Alberta College of Art + Design and is currently studying illustration there. She enjoys drawing and painting both traditionally and digitally, often building up layers of each of these to create her work. She also enjoys visiting the zoo and making lists.

Andrew Tarrant

​Ceramic artist Andrew Tarrant is known as an accomplished practitioner of sprigged decoration. His work is a contemporary view of classical pottery forms influenced by historical and mythological themes and a modern humor. Influenced by various cultures and civilizations throughout history his work presents as both unique and opulent from small, personal, utilitarian objects to larger, one of a kind vessels. Born in the United Kingdom, and moving to Canada at a young age his early memories of England promoted the evolution of his artistic career. Since graduating from the Alberta College of Art + Design in 1990 he has created work for clients worldwide, representing in numerous collections and shown in many exhibitions including the Faenza 53rd International Competition of Contemporary Ceramics.

2017 Program

The City of Calgary Public Art Program, in collaboration with Alberta Printmakers and Loft 112, facilitating a six-week long workshop series focused on the development and execution of temporary public art on utility boxes in the communities of Hillhurst – Sunnyside and the Kensington District in Calgary.

Ten selected mentees took part in this six-week long opportunity under the guidance of two mentors, visual artist Marek Pospiech and writer Caitlynn Cummings. The 2017 mentees chosen through a competitive selection process are Jack Bride, Emily Cargan, Mark Eadie, Jacqueline Huskisson, My-An Nguyen, Nikki Sheppy, Jarret Sitter, Andrew Tarrant, Emily Ursulaik, and Helen Young. The artists were involved in public engagement activities throughout these communities.

2017 Mentors

Marek Pospiech

Marek Pospiech is a postgraduate graphics student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, interested primarily in graphics and drawing. In 2012 he graduated from the Institute of Art of Raciborz with a BA in Professor Kazimierz Cieslik's Painting Atelier. In 2014 he received an MA from the Academy of Fine Arts at Professor Mariusz Palka's Relief Atelier and Professor Kazimierz Cieslik's Painting Atelier. Currently he is a PhD student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, Poland.

Caitlynn Cummings

Caitlynn Cummings has an MSc in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and writes fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and drama. She has worked for many Canadian literary organizations, including Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs, the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program, and Filling Station magazine. Chapbooks of her short fiction include Mezzo Millimetro (LoftonEighth Press, 2016) and Chloe (100 têtes Press, 2013). Her work can also be found in CV2, New Writing Scotland, Women in Clothes, This Magazine, Alberta Views, The Calgary Project, dead (g)end(er), Cordite Poetry Review, ditch, and Glass Buffalo. She is currently at work finishing a novel about Norse artist-prostitutes in 1850s Scotland.