Public Art: Madison’s Got it Covered

How can we beautify Madison? The Madison Arts Council has colorful designs by local artists on three dozen utility boxes around downtown and east side of the city. Since my pace has slowed down in the last week due to my leg injury, my partner drove me around for a from-the-car-photo-shoot of our curbside art scene!

“Leo Virgo Cusp” by Sandra Klingbeil, E. Johnson and North St. Abstract Art Utility Box Photo: Rebecca
North St. and E. Washington Ave. Wasp Utility Box Cover  Photo: Rebecca

Here’s an unwrapped box, for perspective. They are tagged with graffiti frequently and then require repainting, making maintenance costly. Wrapped boxes are vandalized much less frequently in my observation.

Green, undecorated utility box Photo: Rebecca

The pilot utility box wrap program began in 2016, using photographs taken by a local artist Craig Wilson who uses kites to get his dramatic, panoramic shots. Examples are the picnickers, the kayakers and the cyclists.

“Choice Seats” by Craig Wilson, Concert on the Square Aerial Photo, King and Pinckney Sts Box Photo: Rebecca
“Serpent of the Color Source,” by Michael Velliquette, Photo: Rebecca
“Pockets” by Briony Foy at Williamson Street and the Capitol City Trail Bike Path, Photo: Rebecca (red on snow is spray paint!)
Regular utility box, complete with graffiti, Photo: Rebecca
“Crammed Kayaks” by Craig Wilson Downtown on the Square Photo: Rebecca
“Yellow Lilies” by Helen Klebesadel at E. Mifflin St. and Wisconsin Ave, Photo: Rebecca
“Waiting to Ride” by Craig Wilson, West Washington and Carroll Sts. Photo: Rebecca
“Serpent of the First Hands” by Michael Velliquette, South Hamilton and West Main Sts., Photo: Rebecca
“Crop Circles” by Briony Foy at on Wisconsin and Gorham, Photo: Rebecca

Which is your favorite box? If you were asked to cover a utility box, what themes and colors would you use in your art (or photo)? I’d love to see your comments below. I would like to make a kite photo of our summer “Paddle and Portage” contest, where people carry canoes and kayaks over the Capitol Hill in a race from one lake to another.

Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco. ¡Olé! –Rebecca

For more Six Word Saturday fun, see Travel with Intent.


Rebecca Cuningham

17 thoughts on “Public Art: Madison’s Got it Covered

  1. Love the idea! The Yellow Lillies is my fave but they are all very nice! Great idea because it prevents gang tagging. We do that here in Valencia with the shutters of businesses to prevent the ugly graffiti (which I don’t call graffiti, I call it what it is, vandalism)…Lovely photos and a great post. Have a great Tuesday afternoon and a lovely week ahead,
    All the best,

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    1. Thanks for asking. I only made a mention of it in comments on the winter poem last week. I pulled a muscle in my leg trying not to fall while skating (is there a life lesson there somewhere?) I’m now able to stand on two legs again and am using crutches for distances longer than a meter. R

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