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Ugly traffic signal boxes the perfect canvas to Colour our City

PAINT IT: Ipswich business owners Naomi George and Jim McKee support the Colour our City campaign, which will help beautify unsightly traffic signal boxes like this one in the top of town.
PAINT IT: Ipswich business owners Naomi George and Jim McKee support the Colour our City campaign, which will help beautify unsightly traffic signal boxes like this one in the top of town. Rob Williams
Urban art advocate Gil Burgh said Ipswich needs more street art in a QT article last month.
Urban art advocate Gil Burgh said Ipswich needs more street art in a QT article last month.

THE people have spoken and the people say "more colour".

In response to an article written in the Queensland Times, Ipswich residents have thrown their support behind a plan to have traffic signal boxes transformed into works of art.

The idea was suggested by art aficionado Gil Burgh, who for the past few years has been campaigning to enhance and beautify Ipswich's inner-city landscape.

In the article, Mr Burgh said he would like to revitalise the city with sanctioned artwork created in public places.

He said the region's "ugly-looking" traffic signal boxes would provide the perfect canvas for artists to express their creative talent.

Such an initiative has been already been implemented in Brisbane where more than 900 traffic signal boxes have been painted by local artists.

Brisbane Mayor Graham Quirk said the painted traffic signal boxes had become a favourite artistic feature of the city.

Cr Quirk said it added to the cultural and visual appeal of local areas.

"What is special about the project is that you don't have to be a seasoned artist to get involved," he said.

"You simply need to apply to the council with a creative idea and identify which box you would like to paint."

In an online poll, the QT asked its readers if they would be keen to see the traffic signal boxes in our area painted too. The results showed 86% of people supported the idea.

Senior vice-president of the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and business owner Naomi George said the project was a great opportunity to transform an eyesore into an artistic focal point.

Ms George believed the move would help attract visitors and showcase Ipswich in a more positive light.

"We have beautifully landscaped public gardens and historic homes; why not offer some amazing street art too?"

Fellow Ipswich business owner Jim McKee said he had been keen on the idea for years.

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"The potential is there to make Ipswich look so much better," he said. "When I saw the traffic signal box outside my store, my first reaction was to paint it myself."

City Infrastructure Committee chairwoman Cheryl Bromage said the council would consider the implementation of the colouring of traffic boxes in the city.

"We would be interested in speaking with Mr Burgh or any other interested artist on this issue," she said.

There are now 136 signal boxes in the city. Of these 51 are owned by Department of Transport and Main Roads and 85 are the council's.

Cr Bromage said there were several issues that would need to be considered, including the ongoing maintenance of any boxes painted with artworks.

A spokesman for Transport and Main Roads said the department would also review the campaign submission to paint the traffic signal boxes in the Ipswich area.

He said submissions to paint the metal pieces of urban infrastructure had to adhere to guidelines to ensure the paintings were suitable and did not create a distraction for motorists.

Art enthusiast Gilbert Burgh says traffic signal boxes provide the perfect canvas for artists to express their creative talent and turn the city into a brighter place.
Art enthusiast Gilbert Burgh says traffic signal boxes provide the perfect canvas for artists to express their creative talent and turn the city into a brighter place. Rob Williams

Topics:  ipswich chamber of commerce and industry traffic light



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