Have you ever been walking on the street and seen one of those hydro boxes covered with eye-catching landscapes and colours?
This is more than the work of a rogue artist or two, but instead, an intentional project meant to beautify those dark green metal boxes sitting in NOTL neighbourhoods every day.
Back for its fifth year, the Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro Box Beautification Competition is now open for people to vote on their favourite transformations of hydro boxes in town.
The hydro boxes selected for the competition are located at the Niagara District Airport, Niagara River Recreational Trail at the Field House, and the marina at the corner of Ricardo and Melville streets.
This year’s show, taking place in the Walker Room Gallery at the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre, started on Aug. 11 and runs until Oct. 21.
Artists residing, working or operating in the Niagara region were invited to participate, bringing their unique perspectives to the theme of the design, which includes nature, Niagara-on-the-Lake history or landmarks and more.
This year, preference will be given to submissions that focus on the theme of transportation, as well as art that harmoniously complements the hydro box location – whether it be water, air or land.
A jury will evaluate the submissions and choose two winning designs. Additionally, the community is invited to participate and select the recipient of the coveted People’s Choice award.
Visitors to the exhibit will be able to cast a vote for their favourite artwork until Sept. 10. The announcement of the winning design, including the People’s Choice winner, will take place on Sept. 14.
Tim Curtis, president of NOTL Hydro, expressed his enthusiasm for the competition and said he’s “amazed” at the quality of the submissions.
“Through this collaboration, we aim to bring beauty to public spaces, providing enjoyment to all who pass by. We are proud to be a part of this endeavour that celebrates the vibrant artistic community in the Niagara region,” he said in a media release.
Rima Boles, director of the Pumphouse, said the competition’s goal is to bring art to “unexpected places” by beautifying “otherwise plain” utility boxes.
“This event is a testament to the transformative power of art in enhancing our public spaces,” she said in the release.
The transformed hydro boxes are expected to be unveiled in late October.