ITE Journal April 2018 - 34
The BID has worked with business leaders and officials to
commission local artists to display their artwork on traffic signal
boxes. After solicitation of art for the TSB Art Project, artists were
given six weeks to develop a 2-D and 3-D model of their work. The
artists were required to submit five samples of previous works.
Moreover, the artists were required to fill-out an application with
their artwork. Artists were encouraged to think of art work that
would best represent the City. Traffic signals, signs, and other traffic
elements could not be used as part of their design.
The City's "Discovery Gallery" ordinance requires a vote from
the public to evaluate the submitted artwork. Per the ordinance, the
voting committee may consist of a BID board member, a downtown
retailer, an artist, City staff, and an architect/engineer to select
the winning design(s). The BID Community Director formed a
selection committee to select the two best designs.
There was a total of four submittals from local artists in 2017.
Votes were cast for the top two pieces of artwork. The winning
artists were each compensated $250 USD for their new wrap designs.
The artist's work was then provided to a vendor for the vinyl-wrap
conversion. The vendor's manufacturing and application costs for the
artist wrap was approximately $950 USD per cabinet. The Community
BID was the original funding source for the cabinet wraps. Currently,
the Great Falls Downtown Development Partnership funds the TSB
Art Project as it has expanded outside the BID.
to a 300 dots per inch (DPI) resolution image. The vendor then
processed the image to the cabinet dimensions recorded by the BID
on a cabinet specification sheet. Once the artwork was selected,
a mock-up of all cabinet faces was prepared by the vendor. Vinyl
pieces were then created to fit each panel of the cabinet surfaces
(top, front, back, right side, left side). The digital printing of the
cabinet vinyl pieces can take one to two working days.
Application of Wrap
To fit the cabinet precisely, the adhesive used for each vinyl
piece was activated using a small hand-held blow-torch, plastic
smoothing tool, and pen knife. During the installation process, it is
imperative that the cabinet vents are not covered. This is to ensure
proper air flow entering and exiting the cabinet. A single cabinet
application required two laborers (from the artist wrap vendor) at
approximately four hours per cabinet.
Photographs Courtesy of Research Team
Advertisement and Selection
Digital imaging of Artwork from Vendor
Photograph Courtesy of Great Falls Business Improvement District
Measurements of the cabinet were taken by the BID's vendor
prior to processing the image to the final artist wrap. The BID
Community Director emailed the vendor the artwork for
processing. The process included digital imaging of the artwork
These pictures show the before, during, and after process of the artist wrap
application to a traffic signal cabinet in Great Falls, MT, USA. The artist's
drawing is of Charles Marion Russell, an artist of the Old American West
who lived in Great Falls in the 1890s until his death in 1926.
These four designs were submitted as 3-D models by local artists, and two
were selected for installation.
Ap r i l 2018
i te j o urn al
To perform the work, the Community BID filed a blanket
agreement and memorandum of understanding between the City
and MDT for exterior cabinet maintenance. The City and MDT
are not responsible to maintain the exterior of the cabinets. If the
cabinets are vandalized with graffiti, the BID can clean the vinyl
with an anti-graffiti solution to wipe it clean or a new plot of the
vinyl could be ordered and reapplied if the traffic signal cabinet is
hit or damaged from a vehicle strike.
Since installation of the public art displays, the City has seen a
decrease in traffic signal cabinet graffiti. Per manufacturer recommendation, as with the artist painted boxes, the artist wrap may
need to be "touched-up" after four years from installation.