FortisAlberta seeks local artists
Creativity is being used to try to prevent vandalism in Airdrie.
Creative Airdrie has partnered with FortisAlberta to create a competition for local artists to showcase their work in a non-traditional space. Artists from Airdrie and area can submit their work for a chance to be featured on FortisAlberta utility boxes throughout the city.
“Last year, the RCMP came to us and said there was a graffiti problem, not just in Airdrie, but in various communities,” said Mona Bartsoff, corporate communications advisor for FortisAlberta. “They asked us if there were ways for us to cover our utility boxes to defer the vandalism problem.”
Last year, FortisAlberta wrapped company-owned utility boxes in Strathcona County with generic artwork as part of a pilot project.
“We had a great response from the local law enforcement agency,” Bartsoff said. “It ended the problem, and furthermore, we had a lot of positive remarks from people in the community saying they really liked that approach.”
With the success of the pilot, Fortis expanded the concept into 14 other communities across its service territory, with five to 10 utility boxes being covered in each.
“In the other communities, we have eight sort of generic images,” said Bartsoff. “They’re very attractive. They’re mostly scenes from nature - poppies, beautifully-tall grass, two mountain scenes - all just very lovely scenes of nature.”
A utility box was recently wrapped on Airdrie’s Main Street.
“It’s quite nice, but we’re really trying to promote our local and regional artists,” said Linda Bruce, executive director of Creative Airdrie. “Creative Airdrie approached Fortis about doing something a little different. We should use (local art) whenever we can.”
There are five utility boxes in Airdrie to be wrapped with local artwork by mid-October.
“We would love to see as many of our local artists, photographers, painters, any of our visual artists, take advantage of this,” Bruce said. “We want to help people understand that we have some great work in our community.”
Interested artists should send a high-resolution jpeg format photo of their work to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sept. 12. FortisAlberta will choose 12 images.
The public is encouraged to choose the featured art by voting for their favourite images at Airdrie’s FortisAlberta building, located at 15 Kingsview Road or online at www.creativeairdrie.ca
Voting will take place from Sept. 14 to 30 in conjunction with ARTember.