Ashland artist Pokey McFarland paints a utility box Friday at 2nd and C Streets with a theme of mountains and trees. Jim Craven / Daily Tidings - Jim Craven

Artists paint Ashland utility boxes

Seven drab green utility boxes around Ashland have been transformed into pieces of art.

Artists braved weekend heat to paint the boxes for the city of Ashland's Utility Box Beautification Project.

Artists were asked to submit designs for the project's theme of "Reflections of Ashland."

"It said that the designs should reflect the culture of Ashland," said artist Zelpha Hutton. "I thought, 'What is the culture of Ashland?'"

A visit to Blue Heron Gallery & Gifts downtown provided her with an idea when she noticed several dogs tied up at the nearby Agave restaurant while their owners dined. A bicycle was also outside.

The scene — often repeated at cafés all around town — inspired Hutton to create a playful design featuring dogs tied to a table with a bowl of water and a bicycle nearby. The utility box she painted is in front of U.S. Bank on Second Street.

In addition to support from the city government and Ashland Public Arts Commission, the utility box project was made possible by a $1,500 grant from the Jackson County Cultural Coalition and donations of paint and services from Miller Paint Co., The Party Place and Meyers Painting.

See other painted boxes: in front of Trinity Episcopal Church near intersection of Lithia Way and Second Street; near the intersection of Lithia Way and C Street; in front of Ashland Sanitary & Recycling on Oak Street; near the Historic Ashland Armory on Oak Street; by a parking lot near Oregon Stage Works on A Street; near Ashland Yoga Center near intersection of A and Fourth streets.

— Ashland Daily Tidings

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