The story behind the painted utility boxes in Providence

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Artists of the paint were hired to paint supply boxes on the South Side and downtown.

Public art finds a canvas in the most unexpected places. The Avenue Concept’s Providence Utility Box Project, made possible in part by a community grant from the Rhode Island Foundation, includes utility boxes made by emerging local black, indigenous, and colored artists based in Upper South Providence and downtown identify, have painted. Student artists from ArTwerk, an interdisciplinary advanced design studio at RISD, also painted four more boxes at the base of College Hill this summer, and artists Forrest Curl, Kobe Jackson and Rene Gomez painted three more utility boxes in Biltmore Park this summer.

Sara Breslin.

1. Sara Breslin, untitled
Sara Breslin was the founder of the honorary artist in the exhibition “Beyond the Diagnosis”. The work consists of a portrait of a woman surrounded by flowers and butterflies while a bunch of leaves frames her face.

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Arthur Cayo, “City Life Utility Boxer”.

2. Arthur Cayo, “City Life Utility Boxer”
Arthur Cayo started painting heart murals on boarded up buildings in the summer of 2020. For Cayo, art is an outlet to release energy in a positive way. The utility box he has painted contains two images: one shows a skateboarder performing a trick and the other of two people hugging in a dark room.

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Keira Gonsalves, untitled.

3. Keira Gonsalves, untitled
Keira Gonsalves is attending the University of Rhode Island with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts while also running her small art company Stone Soup. Her work encompasses the topics of pain and healing and contrasts the positive experiences around healing with the reality of a painful transformation. Gonsalves’ utility box consists of a portrait on one side and a flower on the other.


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