Utility cabinets set for a makeover

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SANDPOINT — Through a partnership with STCU, the city’s utility cabinets will soon feature black-and-white historic photos in some areas, and colorful artwork in others.

“I think this is awesome,” Councilwoman Shannon Williamson said on Wednesday. “I am really excited about it, and I think it is going to add a lot of character and hide some of our flaws that are necessary, but undeniable.”

Linda Heiss, the city’s grants and performance administrator, said the project will be done in three phases. STCU is providing $7,500 for each phase. In the first phase, seven boxes in five downtown locations will be wrapped — Cedar and Third, Fifth and Church, East Superior, First and Pine, Dock Street. The photos and artwork will be printed on weather-resistant and graffiti-resistant vinyl.

The idea was brought to council in June by Arts Commission Chair Elle Susnis, who said a number of cities, including Coeur d’Alene and Spokane, feature artwork on their utility cabinets.

“It has been on the radar of the Arts Commission for some time,” Susnis said. “It is a great way to support the two-dimensional artists and photographers in our community who might not otherwise have a chance to be involved in public art.”

A total of 14 locations were chosen by the members of the city’s historic and arts commissions. Members of the two commissions then went to each site with history experts from the Bonner County History Museum, who brought several historical photos along to determine which photos would work best at each location.

The chosen photos vary, depicting historic scenes of people, boats, bridges, street cars, skiing and more. One photo for the First and Pine location, for example, depicts a woman named Dorothy Culver around the year 1920 with her horse and dog. The trio is said to have gone around town doing tricks all those years ago, Heiss said.

Arts Commission members will be putting out a call for artists for the artwork portion of the utility box project this month.

The boxes that will be wrapped in the historic photos will be done this month, Heiss said, and the artwork will be selected and wrapped in October. The next phase will be done in 2020, and the final phase in 2021.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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