Vinyls unveiled for traffic signal boxes in Willmar

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WILLMAR — A total of 10 vinyls were unveiled Thursday for images that will soon adorn traffic signals lining First Street in Willmar.

The Willmar Area Arts Council started the Traffic Signal Box project in March of 2015 by applying for a Legacy Planning Grant through the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council. The intent was to issue a request for qualifications from interested artists, select and commission 12 of them to submit a detailed rendition of what they would put on a traffic signal box.

The council received one response.

When they started asking around, they discovered none of our artists were interested in standing on a busy street corner to paint a box.

So, they rethought the project and asked for artists interested in creating an image that could be transferred to a vinyl wrap which would be placed on a traffic signal box. This time there were nine responses.

The next step was to apply for a Legacy Grant to actually do the project. A grant was awarded for $9,850 and the council is using $2,500 from the Laura Welle Memorial Fund to meet the cash match for the project.

The boxes to be covered are on First Street, from Civic Center Drive to 28th Avenue South, as well as the box at the stoplights on Fifth Street Southeast and 19th Avenue.

The box at the foot of the bridge on the corner of Ella Avenue and First Street, will be Laura Welle's "Willmar Cityscape." As you approach the bridge just after you come to that light you see the skyline of downtown Willmar just as it is represented in her painting.

The other box locations will boast designs by the following:

Civic Center Drive — Agnes Alsgaard-Lien, Rushmore — "Willmar Waltz"

Litchfield Avenue — Sharon Schuetze, Spicer — "Chief Kandiyohi and Foot Lake Vistas"

Trott Avenue — Ron Adams, Willmar — "Happy Space"

Kandiyohi Avenue — Michele Steffen, Spicer — "Tribute to Joe Bee Honey"

Willmar Avenue — Kari Weber, New London — "Peonies"

Kandi Mall — Sandra Schlagel, Willmar — "Four Quilts: Traditional Sampler, Contemporary Blocks, Artscape, Modern Angles"

19th Avenue — Violet Dauk, New London — "Why did she cross the road?"

28th Avenue — Nancy Carlson, Willmar — "Coffee Time"

Fifth Street Southeast & 19th Avenue — Leann Atchison, Willmar — "Lilies"

All of the images were unveiled Thursday at a reception held at The Barn Theatre in downtown Willmar, hosted by the Willmar Area Arts Council. The images will remain on display at The Barn Theatre's Event Center until May 21 for public viewing.