Utility Box Art: Rosscarrock and Killarney Get a Jurassic Paint Job

The utility boxes in both neighbourhoods are part of the City of Calgary Inspiring Strong Neighbourhoods project

You have probably noticed our over the past several years our city's utility boxes have been used as canvases for art. It's part of the Utility Box Program, which began in 2010 as a way to create public art using funding for regular lifecycle maintenance of the boxes. In April 2014, the Inspiring Strong Neighbourhoods Initiative was launched. It expands on the utility box program by partnering artists with communities. Those artists were then asked to consult with the community and design boxes that reflect the community that they are working with. Avenue decided to check in on a few of the boxes to see how local artists interpret Calgary communities. This is our first stop.

The Communities

Rosscarrock and Killarney are neighbourhing post-war southwest communities (though technically Killarney was annexed by the city in 1910). You'll find them on either side of 17th Avenue Southwest between Bow Trail and Richmond Road. Killarney in particular has seen a boom of redevelopment and infilling in the past decade. 

The Artist

Emma Bresola is a children’s book illustrator, painter and graphic designer who has been painting since she was a child. Originally from Italy, she moved to Calgary with her family in 2010 for her husband’s work. You can also see more of her work on her website emmabresola.com.

The Boxes

Bresola's first summer in the city, she and her children went to the Calgary Zoo, and noticed that everyone was crazy about the dinosaurs in prehistoric park. From that observation sprang the creation of the dino characters she’s drawn on utility boxes in 2011 and 2012.

Whereas Bresola's first boxes were part of the Calgary Roads initiative to decrease vandalism, this latest round of utility box projects is a more pointed concept, requiring input from the neighborhoods the boxes were in. On July 1, Bresola held a community involvement workshop with the Rosscarrock Community Association where she invited participants to come up with portraits of themselves as dinosaurs. These community creations were used in her colourful utility box design in Rosscarrock, where she incorporated sketches and suggestions into her painting, "Dino Portraits." Bresola held a similar workshop in Killarney, this time asking residents to combine dinosaurs with their favorite sports. Both of the new boxes are now painted and can be seen at the locations on the map below. 

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