The Utility Box Public Art Program began in 2010 as a pilot project by the Roads department to reduce graffiti vandalism. It’s popularity across the city cemented it’s permanency in 2011 and over 100 boxes have been painted by local artists since its inception.
As we mentioned in last month’s newsletter, the utility box in Flint Park (at the Flint/Fairmount intersection) was selected to be painted this summer after the community association’s request. We are pleased to report that the box was painted over a few days in mid-August and has added a beautiful, colourful feature to the north end of the park, just a stone’s throw from the new playground.
We were fortunate to be able to sit down with the artist, Negin Bagherynejad, seen in the adjacent photo, while she was working on her art. Negin (Negheen) is an Iranian-Canadian artist who moved to Calgary over five years ago and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Calgary in 2013.
This is Negin’s first project with the City and she is excited to be a part of this community-beautifying program. She is passionate about public art with a strong interest in doing murals and other painted art such as this project. She is very pleased that the City has invested in improving the physical landscape using utility boxes that wouldn’t typically inspire artistic expression. She feels that public art makes the city livable and vivid, gives the city a great face and spirit and makes people see different things in the City beyond the brick, glass and pavement.
This particular piece of art represents two main themes: first, the bridge between two cultures with a eastern influence (the woman on one side is strumming a traditional Iranian instrument called a ‘daff’) meeting the western culture, and second, the seasons – all four seasons are captured in this stunning piece of art. The final result is about a feeling of happiness and bringing joy into the city.
Negin has been very busy this year being involved with the Iranian Art and Culture Festival (TabestoonFest) as the art director for the past five months. After the utility box project is complete, she plans to travel back to Iran for a brief holiday and then return to work in the art community, possibly setting up her own art-related business.
You can follow Negin online: