Why Cities Need Art- collaborative switchbox

Artist: Emily Bhargava and community members
Date of creation/installation: Saturday, October 5
Medium : Switchbox
Neighborhood: East Somerville
165 Broadway, Somerville, MA, Somerville (see map on right)

This switchbox was painted as part of an art walk through East Somerville to launch the public art map.  Organized by the Somerville Arts Council and Shape up Somerville with artist Emily Bhargava, the "Art in Action" walk visited public art along Broadway, exploring the history and creation of each piece.  At the conclusion of the walk participants were invited to help paint this switchbox.

On the day of the walk the group together painted the background stripes and the paint splotches.  During the painting, participants and onlookers were asked to explain why they think it's important to have art in a city.  Their responses were written down and saved.  Emily Bhargava returned to the swithbox after the first layer of paint had dried and added the statements about the importance of art to the design. 

Responses continued to come in even as the text was being added.  People walking by, biking by and driving by all shared their ideas about why art is important.  Many of their statements are included in the final product.