Friday, June 19, 2015


Press Release

Toronto artists turning traffic-signal boxes into street art

Photo courtesy of (Click to enlarge)

The City of Toronto's Outside the Box program will see local artists busy on Toronto's sidewalks next week, transforming the exteriors of traffic-signal boxes into works of street art. 

Following an overwhelmingly positive response to a Call for Artists earlier this spring, 52 local artists were selected to hand-paint 64 traffic-signal boxes. The boxes, located in 43 wards across the city, were chosen on the basis of community recommendations. 

Thirty-eight of the boxes are being painted in June (the majority next week, June 22 to 26), which will ensure an influx of bright, colourful, eye-catching art across the city ahead of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. The remainder will be painted in late August. 

"This is an exciting project that enhances the beauty of our city while reducing graffiti vandalism," said Councillor Jaye Robinson (Ward 25 Don Valley West), Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. "One highlight for this year is the incredible number of emerging artists participating in the program, including students. Three-quarters of the artists are new to the program." 

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"Not only does this program result in cleaner and more vibrant communities, it also provides opportunities for emerging artists, and continues to support more established street artists," said Councillor Cesar Palacio (Ward 17 Davenport), Chair of the City's Licensing and Standards Committee. "We were truly pleased with the diversity and quality of applications this year." 

The City is also working with the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area (BIA) this summer to pilot a partnership program that will help bring even more street art to busy retail areas. 

“The partnership with the City of Toronto and the Outside of the Box project is a great example of collaboration, common vision and supporting arts and culture in the public realm," said Mark Garner, Executive Director of the Downtown Yonge BIA. 

Toronto has more than 2,200 traffic-signal boxes at signalized intersections across the city. The boxes, which contain the hardware used to control the operation of traffic signals and their timing, are often covered with posters and are a prime target for graffiti vandalism. The Outside the Box public art initiative is helping to beautify infrastructure and streets, support local and emerging artists, and reduce the impact of graffiti vandalism. This year is the program's third year in operation. 

In addition to the hand-painted boxes, some traffic-signal boxes will continue to be coated with a graphic anti-graffiti wrap featuring original artwork by Gary Taxali and photographic images by the late Moira McElhinney. Seventy-five new boxes are scheduled to be wrapped this year.

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Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games.

Follow @StreetARToronto on Twitter and Facebook. 

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