5 years later, signal box wraps explode in popularity across Queen City


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Intersections in neighborhoods across Charlotte continue to look a little brighter thanks to an idea that was brought to the Queen City 5 years ago. Signal box wraps are being used as a unique canvas for artists, while also making industrial-looking boxes a little easier on the eyes.

From silhouettes in South End to eclectic art in Plaza Midwood, signal box wraps have expanded to dozens of neighborhoods across the Queen City.

“Everybody just sees big gray box and you don’t really think about what art would bring to that corner,” said artist, Melissa Wineman.

Wineman has brought lots of buzz to the corner of Central and Pecan Avenue in Plaza Midwood with her watercolor and marker painting, which now wraps a signal box on that corner.

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The painting features an octopus, in a boat, using a pizza slice as a sail. Some other creatures are also seen eating ice cream.

“I just wanted to make a magical fairy tale of the neighborhood because a lot of it is disappearing,” said Wineman.

Since the signal box was wrapped the ice cream shop featured has moved out of the neighborhood.

The memories shared on the signal box, along with dozens of others across the area, started as an idea borrowed from other cities.

“It’s really about how can we beautify our city with something that is a necessary piece of equipment,” said Monica Holmes, a Managing Designer with the City of Charlotte.

Signal lights can’t operate without the large industrial metal boxes, but artists and city leaders realized they don’t have to be bland, they can be inspiring.

“I know that I loved growing up in Charlotte looking at all the art around town, so it’s cool to hear ‘oh we drove by and my kids saw your piece and the loved it,” said Wineman.

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The boxes are usually all similar dimensions. The wraps are made out of vinyl, making it easy to not only wrap, but remove or repair if needed. “The signal box wraps are just one more opportunity to bring people who live in Charlotte, and artists who are involved in their community, a way to bring art to life in a public space,” said Holmes.

Signal box wraps have become so popular in Charlotte there is now a special section on the City of Charlotte website where people can request one for their neighborhood.

There are some criteria that have to be met and a map shows which signal boxes are allowed to be wrapped. To learn more about adding a signal box wrap, click here.


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