Painting the Town: Shaker Arts Council adds seven artist-designed utility boxes to its tour

Since 2016, the Shaker Arts Council (SHAC) has worked with local artists to enliven the utility boxes the line the city streets. It began with a senior project by Shaker Heights High School student Maisha Afrikah Lewis, followed with a box designed by student Ananda Prioleau in 2018.

"On Lotus Pond" by Anna HsuThe public art project has taken off in the past six years, with both Shaker High seniors and professional artists who live or work in Shaker Heights contributing utility box designs each year.

The boxes are included in SHAC’s self-guided Public Art in Shaker Tourdivided into Green Line and Blue Line tours, clustered around the two RTA Rapid lines the run through the city.

Last week, SHAC unveiled the seven winning boxes in the 2022 Painting the Town project, bringing the total number of boxes and other public art sculptures and murals to 30 throughout the city. All of this year’s boxes are on the Green Line tour.

The most unique addition this year is the box designed by artist and photographer Georgio Sabino III, titled “Butterflies and Dragonflies II.” For the first time, the box design is interactive and features augmented reality—when the attached QR code is scanned with a smartphone or tablet, the images on the box become animated. “Butterflies and Dragonflies II” can be seen on the median at Shaker Boulevard and Coventry Road.

“Each year the Shaker Arts Council is delighted to add more art-wrapped boxes by talented local artists to our city’s public realm,” says SHAC president Sally Levine. “This year of particular note is the box by Georgio Sabino III on the median at Shaker Boulevard and Coventry Road. Scan the design's QR code and you will see the box come alive.” 

“Each year the Shaker Arts Council is delighted to add more art-wrapped boxes by talented local artists to our city’s public realm,” says SHAC president Sally Levine. “This year of particular note is the box by Georgio Sabino III on the median at Shaker Boulevard and Coventry Road. Scan the design's QR code and you will see the box come alive.” 

This year’s high school student-designed box was done by recent Shaker graduate Carmen Joachimsmeyer–Gordon, “Three Goddesses,” can be viewed at the Shaker Heights Middle School, 20600 Shaker Boulevard.

The other artists include Allison Wooley’s “Fishbones” at South Park Boulevard and Lee Road; Anna Hsu’s “On Lotus Pond” at South Woodland and Torrington Roads and Hsu’s “Summer Recess” at South Woodland Road and Belvoir Boulevard; David Thal’s “Transitions and Connections” at South Green Road and Fairmount Boulevard; and Alicia Vasquez’ “Sun and Moon” at Warrensville Center Road and Fairmount Circle.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.