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PaintBox

Local artists can paint a City of Boston-owned utility box with their original designs.

The goal of our program is to recognize and celebrate local artists. Utility boxes are professionally painted with local artists' original designs. Located in neighborhood business districts, these painted boxes contribute to the vitality and attractiveness of the urban streetscape. Our program is a great opportunity for artists looking to enter Boston's public art community.

Have questions? Contact:

Arts and Culture
Paintbox Template

Utility box painted by Elliot Portman

How PaintBox works

Eligibility and selection process
  • Applicants must be artists of at least 18 years of age.
  • Artists are responsible for implementing and documenting the project.
  • Artists can only receive one PaintBox stipend per year.
  • Artists must agree that the Paintbox can be painted over at any time by the City of Boston.
  • Artists may submit up to three designs for one utility box.
  • We may not approved PaintBox projects for historic districts.
Design Restrictions and Requirements
  • Designs should cover the entire utility box and avoid large monochrome areas.
  • The City will not approve any design that includes logos or advertisements of any kind.
  • The City will not approve any imagery that may be confused for directional signage.
  • Please discreetly incorporate your signature and the text "City of Boston" into your design.
  • Except for the artist's signature, website, and City of Boston, designs may not incorporate text.

Applications for the PaintBox program are currently closed.

PROJECT AWARD AND APPLICATION INFORMATION

Artists will receive $200 after approval to cover the cost of supplies and $300 upon completion. To receive the final payment, artists must submit the following:

  • A photo of the electric utility meter number (if visible)
  • Photos of the completed PaintBox

Artists will be required to submit a W-2 form and a City of Boston vendor ID form after receiving their notification letter in order for any payment to process.

PaintBox by Mattaya Fitts
Utility box painted by Mattaya Fitts.

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

No, this program is for artists that are at least 18 years of age. If you are looking for youth art programs and opportunities, we encourage you to check out the Mayor's Mural Crew and Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF). You can also sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about all new opportunities for artists.

Artists living outside of Boston can apply, but preference will be given to artists that have a connection to the sites. The goal is to make local artists more visible in their neighborhoods.

No, artists can only paint one box per year. However, artists can submit up to three designs for consideration.

Applying for the PaintBox program is easy! Just follow these steps:

If you have any questions about the technical application process, please reach out to bac@boston.gov with the subject “PaintBox”.

We encourage artists to apply online, and to contact bac@boston.gov if they are having technical difficulties.

If the applicant does not have access to a computer or phone, applications will be made available at Boston City Hall by appointment. Please visit the City’s website to learn about public hours and reach out to us via email to arrange a time to pick up a copy.

Designs that cover the entire utility box and avoid large monochrome areas work best.

We cannot approve any design that includes logos or advertisements of any kind, or anything that looks like directional signage. 

The only text allowed on the box is the artist's signature, website, and the words "City of Boston".

We will identify boxes for artists to paint, but we’d love to know which neighborhood you want to paint in! In your application, you can specify your first and second choice for neighborhood location.

Yes! Artists whose designs are selected will receive a $500 dollar stipend for painting a utility box. Once selected, you will receive $200 to cover the cost of supplies for your project. Upon completion of your utility box, you will submit a photo of your finished design to receive the remainder of the grant money.

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