Photo: Todd Gill
City horticulturist Roxanne Worthy and her crew work tirelessly to beautify the gardens around the downtown square by planting and maintaining flowers, shrubs, trees, and decorative grasses.
But try as they might, the gardeners can’t do much to hide the man-made silver utility boxes that stand as eyesores among the natural living landscape they’ve created. That will soon change.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Department has commissioned Fayetteville artist Jason Jones to paint murals on the utility boxes.
“I had seen some electrical boxes painted in Colorado, and I thought that would be fun to do on our square,” Worthy said. “The boxes aren’t really pretty, and we’re always trying to hide them.”
Worthy said she saw a mural Jones had volunteered to paint at the Yvonne Richardson Center, and approached him about painting the boxes on the square.
“I gave him the freedom to come up with what he thought would look good,” she said. “He came up with the idea to do paintings of beneficial insects for the garden. I thought it was a great idea.”
Jones said he wanted a design that would cover up the boxes, but that wouldn’t take away from the beauty of the garden once it is in full bloom.
“I wanted something with some earthy colors, that didn’t compete with the awesome landscape up there,” Jones said. “I thought that friendly insects would be a little bit educational, too.”
The entire project on the square will cost $850, and will come from the parks maintenance budget. The idea was approved by the city’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Board and the Fayetteville Arts Council.
The two said they hoped the idea might catch on, and spread to other parts of the city.
Jones said he’s already been contacted by someone about the possibility of painting some utility boxes at a local elementary school.
Jones said the paint he plans to use requires an outside temperature above 50 degrees before it can be applied, so it might be February before he begins painting the murals.
“It’s a great project,” he said. “I can’t wait to get started.”