City box art competition voting opens soon

Commission chose eight submissions for people to vote on, two will win prize



Jennifer Hackman (second from right), Pullman economic development manager, speaks about new art initiatives during the Pullman Arts Commission meeting on Tuesday.

JAKOB THORINGTON, Former Evergreen reporter

Facebook and Instagram users will soon be able to vote on eight submitted art designs to decide which two will go on utility boxes in Pullman.

The Pullman Arts Commission narrowed 60 submissions from community members down to eight during a meeting on Tuesday. The final two designs are left up to voters.

“I think we need to cover more boxes,” commission member Judy Dunn said.

The artists’ names will remain anonymous during the first round of voting on social media at the commission’s request to avoid favoritism for an individual artist among voters.

Arts Commission chair Jeri Harris said all the submissions were great and it was difficult to choose only eight of them.

“As much as you like a submission, remember where they’re going to be,” she said. “It’s going to be street traffic.”

She said they had to choose designs that would wrap on utility boxes well and be easy for passing drivers to see.

The submissions will be available for view and to vote on once the commission posts the poll on its Instagram and Facebook pages. They will also be on display at Neill Public Library.

The winning designs will be revealed at this year’s Pullman ArtFest and the winners will receive $100.

The commission is also looking for artists, businesses, food vendors and performers for ArtFest, which will take place May 14-16. The registration period will be available through March 31 once it opens.

Jennifer Hackman, Pullman economic development manager, facilitated a discussion with the commission on how to incorporate art into the city’s downtown plan.

She offered ideas such as filling vacant buildings and unused spaces with art showings in windows and community art events in locations like parks.

“If you’re sitting on an empty building and you don’t want it to be vacant, if you put an installation in that window its going to create attention around that space,” Hackman said.

Harris said Hackman gave the commission a lot to think about but starting major art projects in the city is difficult because of the lack of funding from the city.

Harris said the city council shut the commission down on getting a major source of funding about seven years ago. She hopes this city council will be more receptive to the idea, she said.

“Maybe it’s worth having another conversation,” Hackman said.