Painting Outside the Box
photos from the first ever Traffic Box Project in St.
The Allied Arts Council hopes the community becomes involved
with the public artwork. “I hope that while it is being painted
it will create an event where the community can watch the piece
develop over time. I hope that it will spark discussion and
interactions with the artist, and discussions amongst community
members—discussions not only about the processes of the artist,
but discussion about the importance of art and community,” said
Neil Lawley, a member of the selection committee.
“The creation of artwork for public view sometimes has a
mysterious origin, or is just something people view, and it
becomes a pop up gallery on the street. It is a spontaneous
feeling that you get, when art is new and interesting,” said
Another goal of the project is to decrease the instances of
graffiti on the traffic boxes by making them artful objects.
Other communities that have done similar projects have seen a
decrease in vandalism and graffiti once the traffic boxes are
painted, because the public view them as attractive pieces of
art. By creating the art outside, the art then becomes
accessible to all, rather than boxing it up, and only allowing
few to see it.
“Public art has a place in the community for many reasons. A lot
of times there is nothing but advertising taking up every inch
of spare space, and sometimes it is negative, but public art
gives us another view. It helps beautify the area, and helps
bring awareness to your surroundings,” said Shafer.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Shafer grew up in Kansas City,
Missouri where he later attended the Kansas City Art Institute
majoring in photography and digital media. While at the Art
Institute Shafer became known throughout Kansas City for wheat
posters and stickers carrying various messages with his infamous
machine mask that later became his Sikenomics trademark.
Sikenomics is Shafer’s clothing line, established in 2006,
featuring his own designs inspired from his childhood, hip-hop
culture, and fine arts from his college years.
Shafer’s design is based on a quote by Yogi Berra “ain’t what it
used to be.” “The quote speaks to the way we Americans perceive
how our future will be and how we deal with the realization that
the future isn’t all what it was hyped up to be, but rather what
we make of it. No matter how great or small the disappointments
about how the future ‘ain’t what it used to be’ we make do and
carry on to make the future a better place one day at a time,”
For more information on the selected artist or the traffic box
piece, please visit
Funding for this project is through the
David H Morton Memorial Fund for
the Arts and the Allied Arts Council.
Visit St. Joseph's
St. Joseph is home to many pieces of
public art. Some well known and some hidden treasures.
To look at more public art visit the
St. Joseph Public Art