“It was initially about elevating the ordinary, but there was the dual focus about partnering with College Town,” said Eric Kocher, director of Hub-Bub, which now falls under the Chapman Cultural Center umbrella. “What we wanted to do was represent students’ identity.”
Monday afternoon, the boxes featuring Converse, the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Spartanburg Methodist College and College Town were all complete. Boxes for the University of South Carolina Upstate, Wofford, Sherman College of Chiropractic and Spartanburg Community College were left to finish.
Kocher said the most difficult part of the project was getting approval for the designs from the S.C. Department of Transportation. SCDOT owns the utility boxes, so any changes have to receive approval in Columbia, he said.
The newly redesigned boxes add to the ongoing gradual facelift across downtown.
“Even with the hanging baskets, it changes the aesthetic of the city as you walk through,” Sargent said. “Transforming that into something positive to look at can definitely change your feelings as you’re downtown.”
Electric Art started because it would add more art to structures that were either meant to be ignored or had been overrun with graffiti, scratches and faded stickers, Kocher said.
“There’s no point at which we reach capacity for public art,” Kocher said. “There’s no point that we say, ‘And now, we have enough.’ Public art is about the continuing transformation of our community. I think these boxes right now are a moment to signal some of that.”
By Zach Fox