A new switch box art project adds a little color to Revere

Pictured is the first switch box to be painted by an artist as part of the Switchbox Art Project in Revere. Bruce Orr, from RAW Art Works in Lynn, used acrylic paints on this box at Revere Beach Boulevard. (Owen O'Rourke)

REVERE The bland gray switch boxes throughout the city are about to get a burst of color.

Revere has joined several Greater Boston communities who have asked artists to turn the 4 x 5-foot metal electrical boxes into works of art.

The Switchbox Art Project is intended to beautify the city and showcase original works of public art.

“We have a two-fold mission,” said Elle Baker, Revere on the Move’s neighborhood organizer. “One is to stamp out graffiti,  beautify the city and celebrate our past and future visions, and allow artists to express themselves.”

The city received a $3,000 Massachusetts Cultural Council grant to support the initiative. The Council is a state agency whose mission is to promote the arts, humanities, and sciences. Each artist gets $250 to cover supplies.

So far, work is underway on the switchbox on Revere Beach Boulevard by Bruce Orr, an art therapist at RAW Art Works in Lynn.

“It’s a cool opportunity,” he said. “I’m a great believer in public art and I love having the chance to add a little bit of color to the world. It’s a fun challenge to create something for a specific place.”

His acrylic work features a boy making a sand sculpture as a tribute to the sand castle competitions on Revere Beach.

“It also honors kids and their creativity and their imaginations,” Orr said.

Revere has signed agreements with artists for five switch boxes. There are 14 left. All are expected to be completed by the end of September.

If selected by the city, the artist will be paired with the metal utility boxes to add warmth and personality to the public spaces, Baker said.

Artists are encouraged to submit an application at

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