NEW ORLEANS — You’ve probably seen those utility boxes around the New Orleans area that have been transformed into works of art. They’re the work of the non-profit group Community Visions Unlimited.
Every year, the group gives fans of the boxes an opportunity to take one home. Not an original, but a replica that’s painted by the same artist.
Friday night, Sept. 29, the New Orleans Yacht Club played host to a silent auction of the miniature art boxes.
“We don’t care if they’re formally trained or just a great self-taught artist,” CVU founder Jeannie Tidy told WGNO about the artists.
Tidy says the CVU uses expensive paint for the works of art. Each one costs about $700 to complete.
“The artists all get paid. And we furnish them with a paint kit. And we have volunteers who go out and prep the boxes and get them ready for the artists,” she said.
Often, the neighborhoods where the utility boxes are located will pay for the artwork. When possible, the CVU will provide them free of charge in areas where neighbors cannot afford the cost. The silent auction of the miniature art boxes helps raise money to paint more of the boxes.
So far, more than 150 boxes have been painted around the New Orleans area. Tidy says more than 40 have been painted in the past year alone.
She says that the works of art often help the artists find other work. She says people who like the boxes will inquire about the artists who do the work. Tidy says she connects the artists with the customers who often commission other works of art.
On this night, fans of the art boxes could take their favorite one home, albeit a bit smaller than the original that caught their eye.