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Traffic boxes, like the one at the intersection of Court Street and Union Street, depicts Athenian culture, nature and abstract art. The city plans on adding 10 more wrapped boxes this academic year. (Kevin Pan | Slot Editor)

New city art coming to Athens streets

The City of Athens will add ten more decorated traffic boxes and a mural on Stimson Avenue this academic year.

As a part of the Essence of Athens, a book filled with ideas to improve the artistic appeal of the city, the Athens Municipal Arts Commission will work on several projects.

The Essence of Athens and Athens Municipal Arts Commission began because art was not well represented in the city, Paul Logue, the Athens city planner, said.

Logue said Athens is an arts community and people should not have to go to a museum or theater to see it.

“(The Essence of Athens) was a relatively inexpensive method of showcasing local artists in utilizing things that are already in our built environment,” Logue said.

One of the current projects is the addition of 10 more wrapped traffic boxes throughout the city, Carol Patterson, chair of the Athens Municipal Arts Commission, said.

The art on the boxes usually depicts Athens culture or nature, Patterson said.

“One of the designs this time is a quilt image to represent the Dairy Barn,” she said. “There is one titled ‘A-Town from Bong Hill’ and is an oil painting from the perspective up on Bong Hill.”

The boxes will cost about $10,000, according to the city website. Art on each box will cost about $1,000.

One new project is a mural on Stimson Avenue, said Patterson. The city will soon announce it is looking for artists for the project.

When it comes to graffiti throughout the city, Logue and Patterson said showcasing public art is a way for the city to address that.

Logue said before the city had wrapped art on the traffic boxes, there were stickers and tags on them. He no longer notices them on the wrapped boxes.

“There has been studies that have shown when you do these types of things, it reduces graffiti in general,” Logue said. “A lot of graffiti artists are artists on some level and there’s a little bit of respect there that you don’t want to tamper with someone else’s art.”

Patterson said she knows of a wall within the city that is privately owned but has a significant amount of graffiti on it.

“The owner has begun to talk to us about painting something on it and putting graffiti protection over that,” she said. “That might end that particular wall’s problem.”

Hideka Mori, a senior studying accounting, said she does not like graffiti when it does not relay a positive message. 

“I’ve been to New York before and have seen a lot of public art,” she said. “There should be limitations to where it is, though.”

@TF_Johnston

tj369915@ohio.edu

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