Thursday, November 7, 2013

Art Outside the Box

Last Saturday was the walking tour of the CARAG neighborhood Utility Box projects featuring the art wraps of four Minneapolis artists. I was one of the fortunate artists selected to have my Cherry Tomato art applied as part of the community effort to cut down on graffiti. Taggers found the previously tan boxes an inviting canvas for their marks, much to the dismay of the neighborhoods.  It's a constant and costly battle besides being an eye sore.

This project was made possible through the Innovative Graffiti Prevention Micro Grant from the City of Minneapolis Solid Waste and Recycling Devision, with additional support from the Uptown Association, the CARAG neighborhood and local businesses.  The other artists were Gail Katz James, Kirk Sklar and Mark LaCroix.

Following the tour, we met at a neighborhood community center to hear from local police who reported that similar projects reduced graffiti markings by 50% or more. There is an unspoken respect for not tagging on top of existing art. By chance that it is, this utility box material can be easily washed to remove markings.  This project also furthers Uptown Association's tradition of providing local artists platforms for community art. This is the same association that produces the very popular Uptown Art Fair now in its 50th year.

I brought a print of my original Cherry Tomato illustration and described how I had to create additional art to wrap around the Utility Box template.  I chose Cherry Tomatoes because of the importance of fresh local food whether we grow it ourselves, like I do within my flower bed in the backyard, or purchase it from the many local Farmer's Markets.

Below are more pictures from the event.
Kirk Sklar with his neon Koi

Gail Katz James with her photographed sculpture piece

Mark LaCroix with his You Are Here Map piece
Walking tour with CARAG neighbors
Local police and event organizers

Group artist shot