Park City Art Project Livens Up Utility Boxes

May 9, 2019

Art on a utility box located on Swede Alley
Credit KPCW Radio

Traveling about town, you may have noticed art starting to turn up in unlikely places—on electric utility boxes throughout Park City. 

The project is called EmPOWERment, and it’s something Park City and Rocky Mountain Power have been collaborating on for a couple of years. A local resident originally asked City staff to explore art opportunities on electric utility boxes, something that has been observed in other resort communities. The Public Art Advisory Board funded the project, while Rocky Mountain Power allows the use of the boxes. All nine of the designated boxes around town should be covered with art by next week.

The City put a call out for artists in Summit County last year, and after receiving 14 proposals, chose nine artists, ranging from elementary school students to professional painters. Park City-based artist Bridgette Meinhold is one of them. Meinhold created a watercolor painting of Park City’s mountains in a snowstorm that can be found on a utility box off Kearns Blvd. and Sidewinder Dr. Meinhold says when she thinks of sustainability in Park City, protecting the environment is what comes to mind.

“We're at the top of our watershed, and we get the snow right here and we get our water right here," Meinhold said. "So, we're the only ones to blame if something happens with our water, and so we need to take care of it right here, right now—for our own sake and for everybody else down the line.”

Park City Special Events Manager Jenny Diersen is the City liaison to the Public Art Advisory Board. She says the project engages the community in one of the City’s top priorities—arts and culture—while also highlighting the City’s energy goals.

Art on a utility box on Swede Alley
Credit KPCW Radio

“There's so many people that have ideas about our critical priority of energy and sustainability, and whether it was working with kids, or local artists, or other community members, they all have really great ideas on how our community can all progress together,” Diersen said. 

Diersen says the City is hoping to initiate phase 2 of utility box art soon, with the next request for proposals emerging this summer. The art, which isn’t painted on but printed onto a sticker, is estimated to stay on the boxes for two to five years, depending on the weather.