The City of Morgantown has received approval from the West Virginia Highway Division to install six new utility box murals designed by area artists in downtown Morgantown.
“The utility box murals are a great opportunity to showcase local artists and help create a vibrant downtown,” said Vincent Kitch, director of arts and creative cultural development for the city. “We hope to develop more of these opportunities throughout the community.”
Kitch said the utility boxes will make downtown more creative and beautiful while providing opportunities for Morgantown artists to express themselves.
In collaboration with Main Street Morgantown, six local artists were chosen to develop original artwork concepts for the utility box murals. Selected artists include Eli Pollard, Maggie McDonald, Connie Mae Moeller, Taylor Pate and Patricia Colebank, as well as Caroline Murphy, DA’s Head of Layout Design. Each design will be converted to vinyl wrap and placed on utility boxes throughout downtown in April.
“There’s a lot of talent in the Morgantown area,” said Barb Watkins, director of Main Street Morgantown, a nonprofit for downtown revitalization. “The mural project is a way to support our local artists and beautify the downtown area.
Using vinyl wraps, Kitch said, is an effective way to upgrade utility boxes or trash compactors because artwork can be easily transferred to the wraps this way.
The installment requires special approval from the state Department of Transportation and the city has made that request. Three major mural projects are also in development in the downtown core, including one underway in the Pleasant Street parking lot.
“Downtown Morgantown is the heart of the city, so Main Street Morgantown was looking for ways to make downtown an arts, entertainment, dining and shopping district,” Watkins said. “We were also looking to bring the community together and find ways to attract locals and visitors.”
This project was funded in part by an organizational arts grant from Your Community Foundation. The Organizational Arts Grant is made possible through a collaborative effort between YCF and the Greater Morgantown Arts Council, with funding from the City of Morgantown, the Monongalia County Commission, and the Douglas H. Tanner Memorial Fund for the Arts.
“Over the next year, we hope to see many more mural and public art projects grow,” Kitch said. “Public art can be transformative for communities and truly create a sense of place and showcase the creativity of a city, district or neighborhood.”