New Utility Wrap Art on Newcastle Way
Posted on 11/17/2023
Utility Box Wrap Close-Up

Have you noticed the wonderful new art wraps on the utility boxes on Newcastle Way at Coal Creek Parkway? With help from a grant from BECU, the Newcastle Arts Council partnered with the City to commission this work from artist Odette Allen at Apiary Art & Design.

The original project began as an ode to Lake Boren and our beautiful Newcastle community. Members of the Newcastle Arts Council advocated for this project because they wanted to bring more beauty to our City.

I wanted people to go outside and see something that brought them joy when they looked at it,” said Newcastle Arts Councilmember Erica Bonilla. I think that art has a wonderful way of capturing people’s attention in all moments. My hope was that someone could be having a regular day, and seeing the utility box could bring just 1% more happiness and positivity to that. Hopefully a little bit more!

Artist Odette Allen, a Newcastle native, brought a unique twist to the project. Many of her designs incorporate native plants and animals of the Pacific Northwest, which immediately caught the eye of Newcastle Arts Councilmembers. Their wish in this project was to showcase the native flora and fauna of our region.

“These little creatures are our neighbors, too, so we need to take care of their habitats and protect them from harm,” said Bonilla. “Most of the birds and plants on the utility box design are native to Washington State. The animals on the box include the blue heron, a sharp-shinned hawk, and rainbow trout, along with maple leaves from the vine maple trees found all over Lake Boren.” The design also features purple-eyed grass flowers, which can be found east of the Cascades, on the Olympic Peninsula, and on the San Juan Islands. 

The newly beautified utility boxes aren’t the only recent public art project in town. The Newcastle Arts Council just installed a Free Little Art Gallery right next to City Hall, and we encourage you to visit! This project is a type of art exchange, where you can share your art and swap it with pieces from others in the community. You can follow the Free Little Art Gallery and see what’s new on their Instagram page. 

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