This painted signal box in Bedford is representative of similar boxes that will be decorated in West Concord. Courtesy photo

Thinking outside the (signal) box

on West Concord public art

By Holly Camero — Correspondent 

Driving through neighboring towns, Helene Clayton couldn’t help but notice the brightly painted signal boxes in many of them.  

Clayton, a West Concord Junction Cultural District Committee member, “thought it would really be great if we could do something like that in West Concord.”  

Grant money from the Massachusetts Cultural Council was available, so Clayton got approval from the public works department and the Select Board to paint the boxes.  

The committee put out a call for art in mid-February, inviting artists 18 and older to submit original designs that reflect the spirit of the village.  

“We really are looking for designs that will complement West Concord,” Clayton said.  

A signal box spotted on Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington featured a whimsical feline space odyssey. Photo by Celeste Katz Marston  

Artists from Concord and beyond are welcome to submit proposals, although Concord residents will get priority, she said.  

The committee will choose designs by three artists, each to paint one of three traffic light signal boxes. The DPW will prime the boxes, and they will be ready to paint by June 1.  

Artists are asked to complete their designs within 14 days from the day they begin painting, and all boxes must be done by June 30. Each artist will receive a stipend of $700, which includes the cost of supplies.

The artwork is expected to remain on display for at least three years.  

Enhancing byways’ beauty 

“This project could enrich the quality of life for citizens of West Concord and visitors as well; it also is a way for us to support local artists and create an exciting public space through visual art,” Clayton said.  

“Public art, we feel, enhances the beauty of our town and also will complement some of the murals that have already been done in West Concord. We thought this was a good project that could … create some excitement and vitality and some beautification of West Concord.”  

The boxes are at the intersections of Main Street and Baker Avenue, Main Street and Commonwealth Avenue, and Main and Church Streets.  

“A couple of these boxes are really at the entryway into West Concord, so it’s sort of a greeting and entices people to come into the center and see some vibrancy,” Clayton said.  

She hopes the painted boxes will make people happy.  

“As one of the Select [Board] people said, every time she drives through Belmont and sees the boxes, it makes her smile. So that’s what we’re anticipating and hoping for,” Clayton added.  

Proposals must be received by March 25 at 4 p.m. Applicants will be notified by April 2. For more information, email