Local artists painted traffic boxes around the city to add colour and character to neighbourhoods, as well as to try to paralyze the negative connotations that come with street art.
According to Toronto’s official website, StreetARToronto, or StART for short, is a program that aims to advocate and build awareness of street art and its positive role in adding beauty to the city, while disproving of graffiti vandalism and its harmful effects. The Outside the Box program was implemented by StART.
Emilia Jajus, Humber alumni who graduated from the business administration program, was one of the artists a part of the Outside the Box project. Her personal favourite traffic box is located on Danforth and Logan that she made into a double sided fireplace.
“I chose this design to bring warmth to Toronto,” said Jajus. Artists had to pitch their design ideas to a committee of people to be approved before they could begin transferring their ideas from their minds to the traffic boxes.
To be a part of the Outside the Box project, artists had to send in an application and provide information about their previous works, explains Jajus. From there, it was judged by a jury to determine the artists.
“The city did a call out on their website for artists and artists were invited to submit their proposals,” said Monica Wickeler, another artist who is a part of the project. Wickeler found out about it through her fellow artists.
“I try to paint wildlife and animals that you would find in the city,” said Wickeler, who explained that she likes to show the juxtaposition between the city life and wildlife. One of her favourite boxes is located on Park Lawn and Lakeshore.
Harmony Babstock, 20, arts student at Ryerson University, lives in the Entertainment district of Toronto, where she’s seen redone traffic boxes. Her and her roommates think that it brings colour to the city, especially in a time like winter, Babstock explains.
“Art is the kind of difference you notice because the more you look at it, the more you see things you didn’t see before,” said Babstock, explaining how she did not notice the traffic boxes before some of them got a makeover.
Other artists who are a part of the program are Adrian Hayles, Allan Ryan, Bareket Kezwer, Colin Turner-Bloom, Evgeny Cherkassov, Evond Blake, Jabari Elliot, Jeff Blackburn and Jerry Silverberg.
A complete list on where to find the boxes can be found on Toronto’s official website under the Outside the Box project.