Aberdeen installs artwork on local utility boxes

The Enhance Aberdeen Committee is turning utility boxes into art in the Hub City.
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 5:17 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Enhance Aberdeen Committee is turning utility boxes into art in the Hub City.

The project is a collaboration between the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce, Aberdeen Area Arts Council and Northern State University. Last summer, local artists were asked to submit designs to be implemented on four boxes around town.

The idea was inspired by projects in other cities.

”We were just looking for new projects to do in town. This came to our attention, that many other communities around the country have been doing this utility box art, and it was something that we decided we wanted to get on board with here and make happen,” said Chamber of Commerce Marketing & Collaboration Director Lisa Anderson.

While the project brightens up infrastructure in Aberdeen, it also gives local artists, including Northern State art students, a chance to show off their work.

”All the artists are local. We did a call for art late in the summer, and we waited until the Northern students came back just so they could take part in it. It’s a great opportunity to showcase their art,” said Anderson.

As a bonus, the artists receive compensation as well.

”They do get a little bit of a stipend for their efforts and their talent, their artwork,” said Anderson.

A box on Northern State University’s campus was completed in October, and two more boxes at the intersections of 6th Avenue and Main Street and 6th Avenue and State Street were completed Tuesday. A fourth box near Wells Fargo Bank will be completed next year.

A QR code that showcases the artist and other Aberdeen artwork was also placed on the boxes.

”The QR code will go to a page on the Art Council’s website. What that will do is it will showcase the artists, it will add their artist statement, and it’s a great way for visitors in town, when they want to do some sort of an outdoor art walk, they can just scan the code and it will have a map there where they can go see the other pieces in town,” said Anderson.

Anderson says the project was a fun way to both beautify and enrich the community. The group hopes to decorate more boxes in the future.

”Obviously, just the aesthetic appeal of having something other than a green or silver box sitting on the corner, and it’s also a great way for people to contemplate art. I think it’s a great way for people to get exposed to different kinds of art. As we add more boxes, we’re hopefully going to get into more different types too. It’s just a great way to showcase art in general,” said Anderson.