Hey, artists: Boston will pay you $500 to paint original designs on utility boxes

You have until May 31 to submit designs.

The city of Boston is offering a $500 stipend to approved artists to paint utility boxes with original designs.

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture is “seeking artists of all levels to contribute to the public art landscape” as part of the annual PaintBox program. Prospective painters 18 or older can apply online by May 31.

Applicants are asked to submit up to three designs along with a resume or portfolio, an artist statement, and a description of the design. They can also list their top two neighborhoods for their assigned utility box.

Participating artists will get $200 after design approval to cover the cost of supplies and another $300 once the design is finished. Artists can choose to waive the stipend. Designs have to be done by Oct. 31.


There are some minor requirements to the designs. They should cover all four sides and the top of the box and avoid large areas with only one color. They can’t include logos, ads, or imagery that could be confused for directional signage like stop signs. The designs also can’t have text except for the artist’s signature, website, and the phrase “City of Boston.”

The city is also warning artists that their work could be painted over at any time without warning because of deterioration or vandalism.

Thirty-two utility boxes across the city were painted as part of the PaintBox program in 2020.


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