Hydro Box Wraps

June 1, 2022

The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre (Pumphouse Arts Centre) has just put out a call for artists interested in submitting to the Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro Box Beautification Competition.  This will be the fourth year we have run this program and the results keep getting better and better.  If you are interested in submitting artwork the details can be found HERE.

The idea behind the program is to enhance a select number of hydro boxes by wrapping them with local artwork.  The boxes selected are in high traffic areas so that they will be seen by a large number of people.  The locations and pictures of the boxes done in the past three years can be seen here:  https://www.notlhydro.com/transformer-beautification/

Three boxes are wrapped each year.  For the first two years we just selected boxes that were in high traffic areas and asked for general submissions from the artists.  In 2019, these were a bit scattered but in the vicinity of the Old Town.  In 2020, these were all around Garrison Village and the Community Centre.  In 2021, we did something a little different.  All three boxes are located near the Shaw Festival Theatre and preference was given to submissions with a theatrical theme.  The Shaw Festival also allowed their logo to be displayed at the bottom of the wraps.

This year we are continuing with the idea of themed wraps.  The hydro boxes selected are in front of the Legion on King Street, in front of Fort George on Ricardo Street and by the path to Fort Mississauga by the NOTL Golf Club.  Preference will be given to submissions that reflect the military history of these locations. 

For the first three years the winning artwork was chosen by a committee of the organizations sponsoring the competition.  These are NOTL Hydro, the Pumphouse Arts Centre and Communities in Bloom.  In reality, the Pumphouse Arts Centre was looked to for guidance as they are the experts.  This year, the Committee will choose two of the winners and the public is being asked to vote for the third winning submission.  All submitted artwork will be on display at the Pumphouse Art Centre where the votes can be made.

NOTL Hydro continues to be impressed by the quality of the artwork submitted.  Any artist in Niagara can submit to the competition.  If their artwork is selected the artists receive the following:

  • A $500 cheque from NOTL Hydro for use of their artwork on the wraps.
  • Their name and the title of the artwork is shown at the bottom of the wrap.
  • The artwork is displayed at the Pumphouse Arts Centre as part of the wraps exhibit.
  • The artist still owns, and can sell, the artwork.  No idea if the use of the artwork on the wraps enhances its value.

At the bottom of each wrap is a white banner on all four sides.  The logos of the three sponsor organizations is on this banner as well as the name of the artist and the artwork.  As mentioned, last year we also added the logo of the Shaw Festival.

NOTL Hydro only has the budget to wrap three boxes a year and, as mentioned, we do focus on high traffic areas.  There is the option that anyone can select to have a hydro box near their home or business wrapped.  The details for this can be found here: Hydro Box Beautification Update – Niagara On The Lake Hydro Inc. (notlhydro.com).  We have had a number of enquiries on this but the high cost, $1,500 – $2,000, is unfortunately usually a deterrent.  There is one local business looking at this seriously right now and they are in discussions with a local artist.  Any local resident or business who pays for a wrap will get their name or logo added to the bottom banner.

The high cost of the wraps is due to the $500 payment to the artist as well as the high quality of both the wrap and their installation.  The wraps done in 2019 still look as good as new so the cost seems to be worth it.

Generally, reaction to the wraps has been very favourable.  There are some who feel they are a waste of money or that hydro boxes should be kept neutral, and we respect these opinions, but most of the reaction has been very positive. 

NOTL Hydro is looking forward to this year’s wraps and to continue to expand this collection in the years to come.

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