Outside the Box

Walking the streets of Toronto it is hard to miss the street art decorated traffic signal boxes which have been designed under the cities “Outside the Box” program. In 2012 the city of Toronto started a program entitlted “StART, a “pro-active program that aims to develop, support, promote, and increase awareness of street art and its indispensable role in adding beauty and character to neighbourhoods across Toronto, while counteracting graffiti vandalism and its harmful effect on communities.” The program was an integral part of the new Graffiti Management Plan which includes a multiude of goals inclulding:

  • Build a visually rich and exciting environment and revitalize public spaces
  • Use street art and the design process as a tool for community engagement while reducing graffiti vandalism
  • Use street art as an opportunity to illustrate and celebrate Toronto’s diverse cultural character
  • Open new avenues of dialogue about legally sanctioned art
  • Promote awareness of the social and economic values of street art
  • Play a key role in attracting creative businesses and workers
  • Develop long-term, sustainable collaborations with organizations, artists, and communities interested in using murals as a place-making tool
  • Nurture the talent of artists and local arts organizations
  • Provide art opportunities that are freely accessible to all
  • Encourage the growth of a culturally informed public


The Outside the Box project is to enhance the aesthetics of these often graffiti targeted boxes to deter vandals. Since 2013 over 185 local artists have participated in the project to transform these boxes into things of beauty. The city makes mention that these boxes are functioning city of Toronto property and that they do have to be repaired or replaced from time to time, so no art is guaranteed. To apply to be apart of this project artists must; be a resident of Toronto, over 18 years old, and cannot be a city employee. Art must not contain or breach; advertisements, intellectual property, copyright, viewpoints, vulgarity, or offensive and insensitive images or writing. If this project interests you head on over to “Outside the Box” and submit your application by April 24th, at 4:30pm to be considered. If you need an extra motivation there is a 650$ honorarium per box (max one per year)! Goodluck to all applicants, Forbidden Art cannot wait to tour the 2017 Outside the Box series.

Screenshot 2017-04-09 at 18.51.45Screenshot 2017-04-09 at 18.52.08


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