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Call to Artists for 2022 PaintBox Program Announced

Local artists are invited to apply to paint City-owned utility boxes with their original designs.

Mayor Michelle Wu and the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Art Commission, the Boston Transportation Department, and Public Works, today announced applications are open for the 2022 PaintBox Program. Every year, artists are commissioned through this program to paint utility boxes in neighborhoods across the city and contribute to the vitality of the urban streetscape. 

“This program has proven how we can beautify and brighten our public spaces, no matter how small,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “In past years, artists have incorporated cultural traditions, personal experiences, and Boston’s history into their artwork, and I can’t wait to see this new round of PaintBoxes pop up throughout our neighborhoods.”

The Call to Artists is open to all artists at least 18 years of age, with a strong preference for artists that currently live, work, or organize in Boston. The City is especially interested in artists who are new to the PaintBox program. Artists must submit an artist statement, a portfolio of past work, a design for their box, and a description of their connection to their preferred neighborhoods.

“This is a great opportunity to support Boston’s emerging artists and to bring art that uplifts and inspires people to every street corner,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture. “We love seeing the excitement that this program brings to artists and residents every year, and we look forward to seeing what this new group of artists creates.”

The City will notify selected artists in June, and boxes must be completed by October 1, 2022. Artists will receive a $500 stipend for painting their box.

PaintBox was first launched in 2008 by the City of Boston, in collaboration with the Boston Art Commission, the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services and the neighborhood beautification program Love Your Block (formerly Boston Shines). In 2021, 83 boxes were painted across 13 Boston neighborhoods as part of the program.

“After participating in PaintBox I feel like a better artist and neighbor,” said 2021 PaintBox artist Emma Tavolieri. “I had a blast throughout the entire process; creating a design, getting supplies, checking out a new neighborhood, talking to residents, and leaving my mark on the city I love.”

The Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture will be holding two virtual info sessions on Thursday, May 12 at noon and 6 p.m. ET for artists interested in applying. Interested artists can also submit written questions using this form or by emailing Amber Torres, Public Art Project Manager, at

The deadline to apply for the program is Friday, May 27, at 5 p.m. The full Call to Artists can be found online, and artists can learn more on the Paintbox website.

Images below (top to bottom): PaintBox by Erica Imosi, PaintBox by Ansis Purins, and PaintBox by Emma Tavolieri

Artist Erica Imosi looking on at her Blue, wave designed PaintBox

Red and Yellow PaintBox by Ansis Purins

Yellow PaintBox with image of Dog in the center by Emma Tavolieri

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