Ann Arbor DDA OKs Art Wraps

A proposal to wrap downtown Ann Arbor traffic signal electrical boxes with vinyl imprinted with artwork has received $20,500 of support from the Ann Arbor Development Authority.

Boise, Ann Arbor public art commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Corrected after initial publication: Not an example of a vinyl-wrapped traffic box with artwork by David Spear. This image was included in the Arts Alliance proposal for the PowerArt project. This image was actually hand-painted by Spear.

The proposal was developed by the DDA – working with the Ann Arbor Arts Alliance and the Ann Arbor public art commission. The DDA board action came at its Oct. 2, 2013 meeting.

The art commission voted at its Sept. 25, 2013 meeting to support this first phase of the project with the same amount as the DDA – $20,500. While the first phase of the project would wrap 14 traffic signal boxes, the Arts Alliance is proposing two more phases, for a total of 42 wrapped boxes, and a total cost of $121,000.

The Arts Alliance will administer the project, taking an administrative fee of 30% for the first phase and 25% for the second two phases, if the first phase is judged to be successful. The $41,000 cost of the pilot includes the 30% administrative fee for the Arts Alliance. [.pdf of PowerArt proposal]

Deb Polich, executive director for the Arts Alliance, is married to Russ Collins, a member of the DDA board. Collins did not attend the Oct. 2 DDA board meeting.

The PowerArt proposal from the Arts Alliance indicates that the program was modeled on one that has been implemented in Boise, Idaho, where city officials there contend that vinyl art wraps have helped deter graffiti, even on traffic signal boxes that are not wrapped with art.

This brief was filed from the DDA offices at 150 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 301, where the DDA board holds its meetings. A more detailed report of the meeting will follow: [link]