SHREWSBURY – Certain areas of Shrewsbury are set to receive a splash of color in the coming months.
The Shrewsbury Cultural Council (SCC) will be sponsoring artists to wrap electrical boxes throughout town with colorful designs meant to celebrate Shrewsbury’s unique culture.
Five electrical boxes have been tentatively chosen to be decorated. The boxes are located at the Shrewsbury Public Library, Lakeway Commons (between Starbucks and Whole Foods), White City Shopping Center, Shrewsbury’s Secret Garden (19 Stoney Hill Road) and the entrance of Shrewsbury High School.
The SCC hopes that the public art will be an eye-catching, interesting addition to Shrewsbury that helps the community celebrate the town’s culture. Sarah Lividini, chair of the SCC, told the Community Advocate that she hopes the art will emphasize the town’s culture instead of physical landmarks.
“We’re hoping that the boxes are not just reproductions of places in town, but more toward the spirit of the town and the different cultures we have in Shrewsbury – both ethnic cultures and ways of looking at the world,” she said.
Moira Chan, another member of the SCC, agreed with Lividini.
“We didn’t want it to be just a historical look back at what the culture of Shrewsbury has been,” she said. “We want to think about what it currently is and what it could be. It’s a very diverse little town. We wanted to focus more on culture rather than location.”
The colorful electrical boxes will hopefully intrigue both town residents and passersby.
“It’s such a small little town, and you pass it very quickly on Route 9 without really focusing on it, so a couple of bright pops of color [will be nice] to get people looking and talking and wondering,” Chan said.
The SCC would like to incorporate the boxes into a scavenger or treasure hunt that would encourage families to travel around town and explore the local area in search of the artwork.
Supporting local artists is also a goal of the project. The artists whose designs are chosen for the project will receive a stipend from the SCC.
According to its website, the SCC receives funds from the Massachusetts Cultural Council annually to sponsor “deserving projects that take place in our schools, cultural organizations, community centers, libraries, elder care facilities, town buildings…parks [and] wherever our community comes together.”
The project was designed to involve as many people as possible. Chan noted that the SCC chose the electrical boxes over other art forms like murals. While murals generally occupy one artist, several artists or groups could work on the boxes’ designs.
“This way, you can go around and find the box that your neighbor created or that the kids at the school did. It brings a bit more pride and ownership into the mix,” Chan said.
The SCC has made preliminary plans to have Shrewsbury High School’s National Art Honor Society students decorate the box at the high school’s entrance. The stipend would be given to support the school’s art program.
Lividini said that art and color are incredibly important to public spaces.
“I think bringing art into a town makes the whole community more aware of art and looking for the things we already have in town. I think this will just go to promoting the idea of seeing beauty and art in our town,” Lividini said
Lividini and Chan credited SCC members Kalaimangai Anbalagan, Lauren Blumberg, Shi Wen Chen, Brian Clark, Barbara Luby and Jane Siebels for their hard work organizing the project.
The SCC plans to have the boxes completed by mid-September for the Spirit of Shrewsbury Festival.
The SCC is currently accepting applications to participate in this project. Anyone – amateur and professional artists, nonprofit organizations, cultural groups, youth groups and more – can apply. The application and additional information about the project can be found at tinyurl.com/mrxwu5sn.