Fresh Art Wraps 15 Traffic Boxes in Hyattsville

By Editorial Team on November 13, 2018

The Hyattsville Community Development Corporation (CDC) with grant support from the Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) and organizational support from the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), in coordination with the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), are pleased to announce the installation of artists’ designs on fifteen state-operated traffic signal cabinets throughout the City of Hyattsville. Traffic signal cabinets, also known as “traffic boxes,” are the steel structures located near every signalized intersection that are often subject to graffiti and vandalism.

This project was designed to use small scale murals to address blight and enhance the visual landscape along our commercial corridors. This installation comes on the heels of the program’s pilot installation of eleven cabinets throughout the County. 15 out of 22 cabinets in the City of Hyattsville were selected for their visibility, the presence of graffiti or vandalism, and the approval of SHA.

Artists’ designs were selected over the summer by a jury comprised of local artists and city residents and officials. They are Rashad Ali Muhammad (Clinton), Joel Traylor (Temple Hills), Julie Ainswoth (University Park), Jennifer Axner (City of Hyattsville), Jessica Arends (City of Hyattsville), and a group of middle school students taught by Ms. Ellen Jasinski of an informal homeschool co-op named St Michael’s (Hyattsville). The Call-forArtists was open to artists, graphic designers, illustrators, or photographers who work or live within the County. 31 artists submitted a total of 63 design options, which were then juried into 7 designs for 15 installation locations.

“Each traffic box features art that is visually appealing, dynamic and exciting: the art puts the community’s character and identity on display,” says Delegate Alonzo Washington (District 22). This project is the first of its kind for wrapping signal boxes in the State of Maryland: introducing visual art to traffic signal boxes as an innovative tool to address blight, encourage economic development, and enliven community space. Adds Stuart Eisenberg, Hyattsville CDC Executive Director: “This type of public art program sets a precedent in Maryland. With a recent statutory revision to the State Highway Administration’s procedures, we look forward to expanding this program with the support of local leaders and officials.” The CDC invites area municipalities, agencies and businesses’ to partner in future iterations of the project throughout the County.

This project furthers the CDC’s public art programmming goals and deepens its portfolio, where visually unappealing infrastructure is enlivened with eye-catching art: The CDC recently coordinated 2 murals at the West Hyattsville Metro Station with Metro Art in Transit, and in 2012, co-commissioned a vinyl bus-wrap for the County TheBus Route 17 (rebranded as the Route1Ride) with partner Maryland Milestones on behalf of Route 1 Communities. Projects like these, commissioned with the generous support of county, state, municipal, and small business leaders, add to the County’s tapestry of over 200 public artworks.

A map of locations is on the next two pages. To learn more about the Program, visit https://hycdc.org/trafficbox or call the CDC at 301-683-8267 or e-mail jfair@hyattsvillecdc.org.

(via CDC. Photo courtesy of CDC.)