If you’ve never stopped to admire a traffic box, then you probably haven’t paid a visit to Sugar Land recently. All along the most trafficked parts of the Highway 90 corridor, traffic boxes are showing off their new wraps – and adding a bit of beauty and culture to the city.
The Traffic Box Public Art Project
The Traffic Box Public Art Project is a joint project under the auspices of the City of Sugar Land Public Arts Division, the City of Sugar Land Public Arts Foundation, and the department of Public Works. The project selected a total of 13 traffic boxes on Highway 90 between Interstate Highway 59 and Highway 6 for the project.
The 13 artists who participated in the project represent a diverse cross-section of the Sugar Land community. The youngest artist chosen is just 18 years old.
The goals of the project are to:
Beautify the right-of-way in Sugar Land
Support Sugar Land’s reputation as a cultural center
Brighten the daily drive for commuters
Enhance an area the group sees as a potential future cultural district
Engage the community and support local arts organizations
The group expects to decorate more traffic boxes in the future.
Each phase of the project will have a theme. The theme for the initial 13 boxes is “Sweet Things,” in keeping with Sugar Land’s roots as a producer of the ultimate sweet thing: sugar cane.
The artists who participated in the project were free to do anything they wanted with their designs provided they stuck to the theme. They delivered a truly dazzling array of designs that include:
Sweet Transformation, contributed by artist Joy Chandler, which celebrates Sugar Land’s native monarch butterflies
Chef, contributed by Jamie Adams, who used images inspired by his family’s baking with Imperial Sugar
Bizzy Beeze, contributed by Mike Doane, which features the honeybees that are instrumental to pollinating sugar cane and other crops
Sugarcane in Color, contributed by Amanda Levermann, featuring vibrant depictions of the sugar cane that gives Sugar Land its name
Primroses, contributed by Rose Miao, which celebrates the sweet pink blush of the primroses that bloom along the road every spring
Joy Chandler and Amanda Levermann are both art teachers in the Fort Bend ISD. Chandler teaches at Leonetti Elementary and Levermann at Settlers Way Elementary. It’s possible their participation could inspire the young artists they teach to get involved in future community beautification projects.
The 13 boxes in the original phase of the project were wrapped with their new designs in 2018. The Traffic Box Public Art Project is currently evaluating other sites in the city to decide which traffic boxes are next in line for a makeover.
Other recently completed public arts works in Sugar Land include two mosaics, one in Brazos River Park and the other in Settlers Way Park. You can find more information about all of Sugar Land’s current and proposed public arts projects here.