Local artists showcased through “Art of the Box” pilot program

KCCI announces 2021 community catalyst project
Harmony Anita Davis With Student
Photo courtesy of KCCI Tallahassee

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The City of Tallahassee and KCCI are transforming six functional traffic control boxes into local works of art during Placemaking Week, Sept.19 – Oct. 1. The initiative is part of the “Art of the Box” pilot program, which aims to engage people of all ages, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds by broadening their exposure to, and interest in, public art.

Each traffic box will be wrapped in a piece of art submitted by a local artist. Artists were selected through a free online application process that was open to all residents.

“The Art of the Box project enhances streetscapes and promotes a distinct sense of place,” said Mayor John Dailey. “In Tallahassee, we are committed to supporting local artists and making art accessible for everyone, and this project furthers these efforts.”

Locations, artwork titles and artists include:

  • Intersection of E. College Avenue & Adams Street with “Infinite Possibilities” by Christopher Barnhart
  • Intersection of W. Osceola & Wahnish Way with “Moving On” by Walter Thorner
  • Intersection of Tharpe and Ocala with “Thin Red Line of Hope” by Mary Liz Tippin-Moody
  • Intersection of Market Street and Timberlane Rd. with “Florida at Night” by Powell Kay Kreis
  • Intersection of Buck Lake Rd. and Pedrick with “Southern Magnolias” by Nipa Eason
  • By the bridge walkway at Anita Davis Preserve with “Harmony” by Perdita Ross

A map of the locations and additional information about the artists can be found at www.artofthebox.org. This project was led by KCCI and The City of Tallahassee with additional involvement from Fast Signs, COCA and Leon County.

“This initiative supports and provides added exposure to local artists and celebrates our value to the community,” said Mary Liz Tippin-Moody, one of the local artists whose work is featured on a traffic control box. “The Art of the Box initiative is an energizing and inclusive boost for this community’s practicing artists.”

As part of Placemaking Week, KCCI also announced that its 2021 Community Catalyst team will build upon the Art of the Box pilot program by developing a sustainable plan to enhance art in public spaces.

“The 2021 Community Catalyst project marks KCCI’s 13th year of shaping Tallahassee’s identity through placemaking endeavors, which help drive economic development, bring a wide variety of people together, and help retain talent,” said Betsy Couch, executive director of KCCI. “We want our next team of volunteer catalysts to continue the momentum created by Art of the Box pilot project, specifically by transforming utilitarian items into beautiful works of art.”

Anyone interested in volunteering as a Community Catalyst for the 2021 project can apply online at kccitallahassee.com/apply. The application closes Friday, Oct. 30.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with KCCI on Art of the Box, an artsy way to beautify the city and support artists during COVID,” said Kathleen Spehar, executive director for the Council on Culture & Arts – COCA. “Utility boxes are like blank canvases, perfect to showcase artwork that beautifies the city and tells its visual story. COCA’s public art program offers over 250 artworks and two art walks at tallahasseearts.org, and with KCCI, we’ll continue to splash the city with art!”

A sampling of past KCCI Community Catalyst volunteer projects include the following:

TLH/ #iHeartTally. This Community Catalyst team leveraged public art to cultivate community pride and celebrate the city’s uniqueness by creating the larger-than-life “TLH” statue located at the edge of Cascades Park in the emerging SOMO District. Within months of installation, TLH was named a “Tallahassee Icon” by local media outlets and quickly became a go-to spot. Working in collaboration with neighbors, businesses and local government, the group also created a mobile statue of the popular #iHeartTally hashtag and painted a colorful mural above the entrance to Tallahassee’s most popular public parking garage in the heart of downtown.

Frenchtown Farmer’s Market. To help resolve Frenchtown’s food desert, KCCI volunteers worked in conjunction with Frenchtown neighborhood leaders and established Tallahassee’s only all-local, twice-weekly market. Funded by donations — including a $100,000 USDA grant in 2015 — the Frenchtown Farmers Market lowers the barrier to entry for local farmers and food entrepreneurs by providing equipment and business development services. It serves approximately 4,000 customers and sales exceed $50,000 annually.

Cultivate Cascades. The team, working with more than 30 partners, successfully advocated for a comprehensive amphitheater in Cascades Park that would meet the community’s needs for an outdoor performance venue and created the “Discovery” playscape. Discovery, presented by First Commerce Credit Union, is one-of-a-kind in North Florida and has become a popular attraction in Cascades Park. It received national recognition in 2018 when it was featured a national design publication, Assembly: Civic Design Guidelines, as a best practice example of a public space that incorporated water as a play element. It was one of 52 spaces showcased in the United States, and 1 of 4 spaces in Florida.

Reimagining Waterworks. The 2016 Waterworks team set out to bring new life to the historic, yet deserted, Waterworks building nestled between Cascades Park and Downtown Tallahassee by gathering resident feedback and collaborating with community partners to determine its best use. As a culmination of these efforts, the Old City Waterworks Building is being preserved and fully refurbished in accordance with Tallahassee Trust for Historic Preservation guidelines as part of the city’s plan to revitalize the area and create an 18-hour downtown. North American Properties is revitalizing the Waterworks building as part of a larger mixed-use development project bordering Cascades Park, which is generating more than $350 million in economic output.

For more information about KCCI, or if you would like to apply to be a 2021 Community Catalyst, please visit https://kccitallahassee.com/.

Categories: Art