StART: Call for Proposals, $500 Artist Fee

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CALL FOR PROPOSALS: City of Toronto "Outside the Box" (Hand-painted Traffic Signal Boxes) Project

Deadline: Friday, May 8th, 2015, 5 pm

Please see full application guidelines (including details of confidentiality and copyright) on the


The City of Toronto invites local artists to submit proposals to create works of art on City traffic signal boxes throughout Toronto. There are over 2,200 traffic signal boxes located across Toronto. These boxes are often covered with posters and are a prime target for graffiti vandalism.

The Outside the Box public art initiative helps to create a vibrant, inclusive and interesting urban environment, reduces the impact of graffiti vandalism and postering, helps to beautify City infrastructure and streets, and supports local and emerging artists. Successful proposals will be innovative in design, counteract graffiti vandalism and contribute to a sense of community identity and pride.

This project is implemented by StreetARToronto, part of the City of Toronto's Transportation Services Division. Since the project's launch in 2013, 56 boxes have been hand-painted by local artists and transformed into works of art.


The artist fee paid will be a $500 honorarium (including HST) for each completed traffic signal box.


For 2015, Outside the Box aims to have 64 traffic signal boxes hand-painted by local artists.

14 of these boxes will be located within the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area, as part of a new pilot partnership project to increase the number of painted traffic signal boxes across the city.

A List of Locations on the website shows the locations of the boxes to be painted this year. If artists are interested in painting a particular box from the list, they should mention this in their application and describe how their design fosters a sense of identity for that specific location.

Please note that there is no guarantee that artists will be given their preferred location. The list of locations, as well as the total number of boxes to be painted, is subject to change at any time.


For 2015, painting must take place in one of the two specified painting weeks:
  • WEEK 1: June 22-26, 2015
  • WEEK 2: August 17-21, 2015
A single traffic signal box generally takes two days to complete but is dependent on the intricacy of the design and other variables.

Artists must specify in their application when they will be available to paint. In some cases, depending on box location, some flexibility in painting dates may be required.


  • Artist applicants must reside in the City of Toronto.
  • Use the template provided on the website ( to propose your design concept(s). Be aware that some changes to the design may be required to accommodate site requirements. Designs must include all visible sides of the traffic signal box, unless where specified by the project team or on the list of box locations.
  • When designing the artwork, artists are encouraged to think of the context of the area and the city as a whole.
  • Designs must not contain:
    • any representations of traffic lights, signs or signals
    • advertisement or promotion for any business, product or viewpoint
    • vulgar, profane, offensive, or insensitive images or writing
    • any breach of intellectual property, trademarks, brands, images of illegal activity or involve the attachment of any object(s) to the box
  • Finished artwork will be in the public domain and therefore may be vandalized. Although the City protects the artwork with a graffiti-resistant clear coat, it cannot guarantee that vandalized traffic signal boxes will be repaired to their original state. Artists should understand that the boxes are live infrastructure that may need repair or replacement in future. The City cannot guarantee how long each traffic signal box will be in use. Artists must accept the risk that their artwork may be damaged, altered or removed at any time.
  • All designs will be subjected to City of Toronto review and approval.
  • Artist signature and website cannot occupy more than ¼ of the base unit


Artists must provide a completed application form (available on the website) and all attachments requested on the application form. The deadline for applications is Friday May 8, at 5 pm.

Artists may submit more than one design proposal along with a statement for each design. No artist will be selected for more than 2 traffic signal boxes per year.

Do not send any materials not specifically requested (i.e. transparencies, DVDs/videos, etc.). If sent, they will not be reviewed by the jury. Submissions will not be returned.


Program Manager, Outside the Box
StreetARToronto (StART)
City Hall, East Tower, 23rd Floor
100 Queen St. West
Toronto, M5H 2N2

NOTE: The City of Toronto assumes no responsibility for lost or damaged submissions. Application contents will not be returned. The City reserves the right to discontinue this call at any time.

  • Applications must be received by Friday, May 8th, 2015, at 5 pm.
  • Applications will be reviewed by a jury composed of staff and external jurors. References will be checked.
  • Selected artists will be notified during the week of May 25th, 2015. They will be provided with their traffic signal box location and will be required to sign a service contract with the City of Toronto.
  • Painting must take place on WEEK 1 (June 22-28) or WEEK 2 (August 17-21), as specified in the artist's application (some flexibility may be required). Artists will receive information about where they can pick up their protective safety equipment in advance of their painting week.
  • Once painting is completed, boxes will be protected with a graffiti-resistant clear coat. Artists must accept the risk that their artwork may be damaged, altered or removed at any time after completion.