Decatur artist Larry Holland first approached the city eight months ago about painting its iron gray traffic signal boxes. Four were initially painted earlier this summer and became such a hit with residents that by the end of September a total 25 boxes will be given individual interpretations.
Holland, an electrician by trade, has completed one himself and may do one or two more. But he’s recruited a variety of virtuosos, many he met through Atlanta’s Free Art Friday, where creators gift pieces of original art to the public, often hiding them in public places.
Holland said that $4,000 has been raised for this project, with some artists getting paid $200 per box and others $150. Artists range in age from the mid-20s to 70.
He points out the aluminum boxes presented many challenges, with some taller and skinnier, some with handles and others with grills, protrusions and hinges. All needed sanding and many needed years-long layers of stickers scraped off.
“We mostly gave free reign,” said Holland, who grew up near Boston but has lived in Decatur for 12 years. “I told them, ‘hey, this is Decatur.’ I told them lots of bright colors, nothing offensive, no political slogans, no porn.”
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