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Students give traffic boxes a makeover (6 photos)

Each student came up with their own unique thematic series of traffic box designs to communicate and represent aspects of Sault Ste. Marie for locals and visitors

Sault Ste. Marie - As part of FutureSSM’s Community Art Project (CAP), nine traffic signal boxes throughout the community have been wrapped with new artwork inspired by our unique area and designed by local Sault College students. 

This initiative is a partnership between FutureSSM and the Sault College Graphic Design – Digital Media program that aims to prevent tagging, tell community stories, beautify the city and create points of interest, while raising the profile of arts in the community and providing experiential learning opportunities for students.

Six students, Khushali Contractor, Toni-Marie Grisdale, Miranda Leonard, Alexa McGregor, Jill Thatcher and Riley Winch participated in the first year of the project that has now been included in the Sault College Graphic Design Digital Media Program curriculum on an on-going basis. All artwork will be archived and used on a continuing basis for traffic signal box wraps throughout the city.

“Sault College and its Graphic Design students were thrilled and honoured to participate in this joint venture with FutureSSM at the City of Sault Ste. Marie to create purposeful and meaningful visual solutions to cover the many traffic signal boxes that are found in our city,” stated Frank Salituri, Coordinator, Media and Design at Sault College. “Through this project, the graduating class of 2019 gained invaluable experience as this helped to reinforce the importance of the process of design while providing them with a real world, practical project to see through to fruition.”

Each student came up with their own unique thematic series of traffic box designs to communicate and represent aspects of Sault Ste. Marie for locals and visitors. During creative development, students presented their designs to a panel made up of representatives from Sault College and the FutureSSM Arts & Culture Action Team.

Below describes the inspiration behind each student’s artwork:

Khushali Contractor
I had given my project a theme of places of Sault Ste. Marie where I have illustrated the landmarks of the city. My approach was modern and minimalist yet very colourful to attract youth and tourists. The project covers places like the Sault Ste. Marie Museum, Art Gallery of Algoma, Lake Superior and many other attractions in and around the Sault.

Alexa McGregor
My series of traffic box wraps is inspired by all the natural resources we are surrounded with here in Sault Ste. Marie. Each wrap of my series of 10 focuses on a Canadian animal; these wraps are a great way to celebrate the outdoors and how we are so lucky to be surrounded by so much of it! I hope the new wraps will make you stop and appreciate what we have!

Jill Thatcher
My series of traffic boxes celebrate “Tru Soo” to bring awareness of what is inherently iconic in the Sault, with the goal to link the artwork to community identity and place. In the heart of northern Ontario, Tru Soo-ness can be found everywhere; each artwork in the series showcases a different aspect of Tru Soo. The artwork took inspiration from fabric, simplistic icons and embroidered patchwork.

Toni-Marie Grisdale
I designed these boxes in a way that represents the downtown part of our city. I wanted to express the art aspect of the task; I wanted to show what I could contribute artistically to wrap these boxes, with beautiful art and talent. The boxes all show a form of illusion; while you're waiting next to the box, or even walking by, it’s hard not to look at something like an illusion art installation. It's extremely appealing to the eye and the mind. That is why I chose an illusion art design for the traffic boxes.

Miranda Leonard
For my traffic box design, I chose to go with an optical illusion for multiple reasons. The movement within an optical illusion encourages thought for those who see it. Passersby will get to work the puzzle in their mind, slowing down the speed in what is such a fast-paced society we live in. The design will not go unnoticed as it is very unique and invites interactivity. Not only does the optical illusion hide graffiti with the colours and fun patterns, but it also brings liveliness and energy into the community. I am excited to introduce something new and different to Sault Ste. Marie and I thank FutureSSM for this amazing opportunity!

Riley Winch
I chose recognizable symbols for my design direction because I wanted the wrap to relate to the activities that we participate in here in Sault Ste. Marie. I wanted the wrap to tell different stories every time someone looks at it because it would remind them of the past memories of activities that they did, and possibly encourage people to create new ones. I wanted to make the symbols hand drawn and have bold colours because I wanted the wrap to be unique and have more character to it as well as stand out during the winter months. I also wanted my symbols hand drawn and bold to make sure it will discourage tagging.