Drivers who frequent Hwy. 90A may have noticed the installation of several art-wrapped traffic boxes over the last few months. This public art project that was completed in October by the Sugar Land Cultural Arts Division could be showing up in other areas of the city, Cultural Arts Manager Lindsay Davis said.
“The city has received very positive feedback from the community, so we are currently looking into future iterations of the project,” Davis said.
The project, in partnership with the city’s public works department and the Sugar Land Cultural Arts Foundation, was outlined in the 2018 Public Art Program, and planning began in February, Davis said.
There are 13 traffic boxes total. The first wrapping took place in early August, and the last wrapping was completed in early October, Davis said.
“This idea has been percolating even before the city adopted its public art plan in 2016,” she said. “It was a matter of outlining the scope of the project so that it included our local arts community. The traffic box wrap project was a good opportunity to partner with the Sugar Land Cultural Arts Foundation on a public art project, so these 13 boxes are the result of partnership and community building through public art.”
Roughly 80 artists applied to have their work showcased in this project, and each of the 13 selected artists were compensated for their unique work. The project cost roughly $1,300 per box, Davis said.
“This was truly a community-led project from start to finish,” she said. “All artists were regionally located as a mandate of the project scope. Our local arts leaders assisted with every aspect of the project, including hosting an educational session for artists, calling on citizens to select the artist designs, and working with community companies to fabricate and install the wraps.”
Heather Pizzitola, owner of a Sugar Land-based graphic and web design firm, was one of the artists selected to have their work featured on a traffic box. Her work, “Sweet Things of Sugar Land,” can be seen at Hwy. 6 and Imperial Boulevard.
All artists’ submissions were to focus on the theme of sweet things associated with the city. Some boxes feature honey, desserts and sugarcane plants while others showcase butterflies, flowers and birds.
“It’s kind of fascinating,” Pizzitola said. “All of these artists had the exact same description of ‘sweet things,’ so it’s interesting to see how every person represented it totally differently.”
Pizzitola, who grew up in Sugar Land, incorporated prominent city architecture and landmarks in her design. City Hall, Constellation Field, the Smart Financial Centre and the Imperial Sugar refinery along with kites representing the annual kite festival and airplanes representing the city’s regional airport are all depicted in the wrapping.
“It’s very exciting,” Pizzitola said. “One of the great things about Sugar Land and just the whole Houston area is that it’s growing and booming, and there’s lots of new people. I feel like most of the people I meet are not from here, which is full of great things. Being native to the area, having driven through these streets as a little kid, it’s really cool seeing something that I made on the actual streets where I’ve grown up driving.”
The community is invited to celebrate the 13 selected artists 5:30 p.m. Nov. 7 during an exhibition and reception at the Sugar Land Art Center & Gallery, 104 Industrial Blvd., Ste. Q, Sugar Land.