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Art scheme to brighten up unsightly utility boxes

Unsightly utility boxes on High Street in Swansea will soon be decorated to improve the look of a key city centre gateway.

Utility box

Students from the University of Wales Trinity St David's Swansea College of Art have developed designs for the utility boxes as part of a scheme called Swansea Streetwrap that's brightening the appearance of the city.

Part of the Station2Sea project, the scheme has come about thanks to a partnership between Swansea Council, Coastal Housing Group and Volcano Theatre.

The Surface Pattern Design students have been encouraged to develop patterns in response to Swansea-related themes, taking inspiration from the High Street area and cultural hotspots like Swansea Museum, the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and the National Waterfront Museum.
The designs are now on display at Volcano Theatre until Saturday February 3, where members of the public are invited to call in and vote for their favourites. The winning designs will then be applied to up to 10 utility boxes in and around the High Street area.
Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Major Projects, said: "This scheme follows on from several other successful projects in recent years as the council continues to work with a large number of partners to improve the look and feel of High Street. This is important because High Street is a key gateway in and out of the city centre for many thousands of pedestrians and motorists every day.
"Although fully functional and safe, many of the utility boxes in and around the High Street area don't look particularly good at the moment because of a combination of dirt, rust and peeling paint, so it makes sense to give them a new lease of life by harnessing the creative power of local university students who specialise in art and design."

During the project, careful attention will be given to the utility boxes to ensure they continue to be functional, safe and easy to open, following the example of similar successful schemes across Europe.

Carrie Rhys-Davies, Programme Manager for Station2Sea, said: "We're so pleased to see this project come to fruition. This will help transform High Street's terrain into a colourful canvas that inspires civic pride and makes a case for the value of innovative high-quality design in positively influencing how people experience their local area."   

Dr Sean Jenkins, of UWTSD, said: "UWTSD's Swansea College of Art has played an important role in contributing to the vibrant art and design culture of Swansea for many decades, and this recent project continues that tradition in a highly visible way."

Funded by the Arts Council of Wales through its Ideas:People:Places initiative, Station2Sea is a programme of arts-led projects developed to address the needs and concerns of particular constituencies, delivered by innovative collaborations that aim to stimulate new ways of working and a progressive, engagement-focused approach to urban regeneration.


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