Utility Box

Jake Mahan, Greg Astle and Chance Remien install a vinyl sheet of Deborah Fox’s artwork on a utility box Thursday near the corner of Maple Way and Broadway.

The art is part of Jackson’s centennial celebration.

Deborah Fox’s colorful eagle stands sentry on the corner of Maple Way.

Erin Ashlee Smith’s bright cutthroat trout rises at the corner of Broadway and Milward.

On Redmond Street a snowboarder in Kelly Halpin’s surrealistic “The Dream” runs toward the peaks.

Across town 11 once-bland utility boxes have been transformed into head-turners. The beautification project was a collaboration between the town of Jackson and the nonprofit Jackson Hole Public Art. The art went up last week in conjunction with the town’s 100th anniversary celebration.

On Thursday Clean Slate Group employee Chance Remien headed up a crew of three men who carefully applied 3M Controltac vinyl sheets of art. They used a torch, small squeegees and razor blades to make the vinyl smooth over rivets, flare over vents and fit on doors. Each box took the crew two to three hours.

The nonporous laminate “is similar to what you wrap a vehicle with,” Remien said.

Clean Slate Group is based in Bozeman, Montana, and has wrapped boxes across the West, he said. Its crew here was impressed with the works Jackson’s Public Art Task Force chose.

“They picked a lot of variety,” Remien said.

Diversity was one of the aims of the project, said Carrie Geraci, director of Jackson Hole Public Art and a member of the task force. More than 60 pieces of art were submitted during a weeklong call for entries.

“I think it shows the depth of creativity in our town,” Geraci said.

The box wraps are expected to last seven years. The artists received $500 for the use of their images.

On South Cache, two of Mike Piggott’s pieces he calls “Stumps” adorn a box. He submitted one positive and one negative image; the outlines of tree stumps are white-on-black in one painting and black-on-white in the other. The symbol finds its way into many of his works, he said.

“In my mind logs represent units of power or energy,” Piggott said. “They also represent our natural resources.”

Care was taken in matching each work of art with a particular spot.

Nicole Gaitan’s rendering of the Teton Range enhances the wait for cars turning onto Broadway from South Park Loop Road, a spot where High School Butte blocks any view of the actual Tetons.

Greta Gretzinger’s “Moose at the Door” greets downtown visitors, as does Fred Kingwill’s watercolor called “Capitol Christmas Tree.”

Near Piggott’s stumps on South Cache are logs in a more traditionally used motif in Eliot Goss’ “Cabin.”

The five-way intersection at Broadway, Pearl and Flat Creek features work by two artists for whom megafauna are the subjects: Rob Kingwill’s “Antlers” and September Vhay’s bison, titled “Yellowstone Thunder.”

At the intersection of Broadway and Highway 22, Amy Ringholz’s owl swoops down on unseen prey in “Blindsided.”

Before the boxes could be wrapped, they had to be cleaned. Jackson Public Works employees spent hours scraping off bumper stickers, yard sale signs and tape residue, then scrubbing the boxes.

The Clean Slate Group did a good job installing the work, Geraci said.

“We’re really thrilled with how everything looks,” Geraci said. “I’ve been getting texts and calls and people stopping me in the grocery store. People seem like they are enjoying it. It was a nice little beautification project.”

(1) comment

greg lewarchik

they are a great addition to town, a definitie plus

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