On: June 4, 2016
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The Mayor’s Office & Greater Ashmont Main Street invite Boston area artists to make art out of our electrical utility boxes, an overlooked urban form in our district. In 2016, the Boston Art Commission will again be partnering with several Main Streets organizations and other community groups on the PaintBox initiative. Greater Ashmont Main Street is one of these groups this year. Submit your design ideas today!The PaintBox program, organized by the Boston Art Commission, is geared towards the recognition and celebration of local artists. Artists paint City of Boston utility boxes with original designs. Once professionally painted, these utility boxes in neighborhood business districts contribute to the vitality and attractiveness of the urban streetscape and deter graffiti.


  • Up to three (3) designs by each Boston artist will be considered at a time. The PaintBox design template can be downloaded here.  When submitting your proposed template, please reference that you are interested in the Greater Ashmont Main Street section of Dorchester. IMPORTANT: All artists wishing to be considered for the Greater Ashmont Main Street district should submit their template sketches to BOTH the Boston Arts Commission via uploading it with the form AND to Greater Ashmont Main Street by emailing it to Leslie MacKinnon at leslie_mackinnon@mac.com Leslie is the Co-Chair of our Beautification & Public Spaces Committee and this will insure all submissions are properly tagged as having a Dorchester specific interest and expedite our review.
  • Even though you are submitting a Greater Ashmont Specific project, you must still fill out the general application form here (scroll down for web form), including uploading your template design.  Again, please reference Greater Ashmont Main Street as a preferred location in your application.
  • Selections will be made by the Boston Art Commission & Greater Ashmont Main Street in a collaborative process.
  • Submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • Artists must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Artists will be notified if and when their designs are selected.


  • Preferences for specific boxes and/or neighborhood will be considered but cannot be guaranteed. PaintBox projects proposed for some historic districts may not be approved. Greater Ashmont Main Street has between 9 and 11 eligible paint box projects to assign.
  • Artists must avoid dark palettes in order to prevent boxes from overheating in the sun.
  • Artists must supply their own materials, tools, and water while painting.
  • The utility boxes must be scraped, cleaned and primed (with automobile spray primer) before painting.  Please tape over functional areas– hinges, vents, locks, meters, keyholes, and any cautionary text – as the operational use of the boxes cannot be obstructed by paint.
  • Artists are responsible for protecting their work from the elements and possible vandalism by using durable materials and a protective varnish and coating of wax. As you develop your designs, please keep in mind that large, empty monochrome areas do not help to discourage vandalism.
  • The area around the box must be maintained at all times, including passage on the sidewalk for pedestrians and unobstructed traffic lanes, as well as protecting the area from drips, etc. A dropcloth must be used while priming and painting.
  • Please subtly incorporate the text ‘Sponsored by the City of Boston’ into your design.


Participating Boston artists may receive a $300 stipend from the City of Boston upon completion of their box. Artists are responsible for the cost of all materials required to complete and protect their artwork. In order to receive payment, artists must submit the following:

  • A photo of the electric utility meter number (if visible) – this is part of a collaboration with the Environment Department to promote energy efficiency through improved tracking for our street lights and traffic lights.
  • Photos of the completed PaintBox
  • A completed W-9

Visit publicartboston.com to see examples of PaintBoxes in the city.

Please contact Leslie MacKinnon, co-chair of the Greater Ashmont MS Beautification & Public Spaces Committee at 617.312.0009 or leslie_mackinnon@mac.com with any questions.