It is said beauty is in the eye of the beholder and to that end, the Hilliard Public Arts Commission is working toward making works of art from traffic signal control boxes at intersections throughout the city.
“It is to help beautify the city,” said Kelley Daniel, chairperson of the commission.
Sunflower-themed images were placed on the final two of eight traffic signal control boxes May 4.
Six are along the Cemetery Road corridor and two are in Old Hilliard.
“The designs are the original artwork of more than 60 artists who submitted applications to the Hilliard Public Arts Commission,” Daniel said.
“The commission selected eight of the artists who were each paid $250.”
She explained the commission plans to spruce up 10 more traffic signal control boxes later this year, drawing from the artists whose applications were not chosen in the first round of eight selections.
The intersections where the first eight installations were made are at:
• Cemetery Road and Trueman Boulevard
• Cemetery Road and Lyman Drive
• Cemetery Road and Brown Park Drive
• Cemetery Road and Leap Road
• Cemetery Road and Norwich Street
• Main Street and Norwich Street
• Avery Road and Northwest Parkway.
The installations were performed by Hilliard-based Truechoice Graphics.
“We are thrilled to help out and it is a worthy cause to brighten the city,” said Troy O’Neil, owner of Truechoice Graphics.
O’Neil said it takes about three hours for each installation and likened the process to that of wrapping a vehicle in artwork.
“It’s kind of like a big sticker,” but not quite that simple, O’Neil said.
“Each side of the traffic signal control box is separately installed with trimming and cutting to achieve conformity.”
He explained that the provided artwork is on pressure-treated vinyl and the material has aerated cross-hatches as to allow any miniscule air pockets to escape.
“The company is pleased to contribute to the project by subsidizing the commission’s program.”
In addition to the $250 stipend to each artist, the commission paid $3,800 for the installation.
The project is funded with proceeds from the Percent for the Public Art fund established by City Council in 2018, a program that sets aside 1% of the cost of the eligible capital-improvement projects undertaken by the city for the acquisition of public art, but not to exceed $200,000 per capital-improvement project.
The program funded both the large murals in Old Hilliard, including a railroad-themed mural completed in 2020 on the back of Otie’s Tavern & Grill, 5344 Center St., and a mural on the side of the Hilliard Civic and Cultural Arts Center, 5425 Center St., finished last year.
The sunflower theme on the control boxes is a nod to a mural that inspired Daniel to appeal to the city to create the public arts commission.
The sunflower was adopted as the city’s official flower by a resolution of City Council in June 1996.
Daniel painted a sunflower mural on the garage at her Madison Street residence in 2009 but was required to remove it because it violated code that limited the number of colors on residences in the Old Hilliard district.
The sunflower on Daniels’ garage, which had been boarded over, was the first piece of artwork the commission approved and can now be seen in Old Hilliard, along with the two murals, both of which incorporate sunflowers in the design.
This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: HPAC: Roads go where sunflowers grow at eight Hilliard intersections