Kettering Civic Society’s art project transforms telecoms boxes around town

The Kettering Civic Society has long been making plans to create art at Kettering Railway Station and from there, a trail into and around the town (a 5-minute walk to the art gallery and town).

Discussions continually take place about how to improve the environment, and last year Mayor Cl Emily Fedorowycz came up with the idea of painting OpenReach boxes. Impressed by ones she had seen in Dublin, Emily approached the Society, coincidentally having similar ideas about art in the town. Her idea was something that the Society wanted to support; they applied to Kettering Town Council and were successful in obtaining a grant, sufficient to engage artists to paint three boxes. The total cost of the project for the artworks on the Openreach Telecoms Boxes was £1,300. The most difficult part of the project was identifying the various boxes and requesting permission to paint them; some are owned by Open Reach and some by Virgin. It took many hours via emails to obtain permission to paint fifteen Open Reach boxes. For the time being, no more permissions are being given by BT. The Society is investigating permission to paint further boxes owned by Virgin. Due to great publicity via BBC Radio Northampton, Northamptonshire Telegraph, and other media platforms, the reaction was astounding and all very positive, with businesses and individuals wanting to sponsor.

Publicity led to four councils from across the country contacting the Society for details of how they could also carry out the project. Cllr Mark Rowley, chair of the Council’s finance committee, said, “We are pleased to help support this project to bring colour and local flavour to our streets; if people like what they see, then that will be a spur to doing more boxes in the future. I want to congratulate the Civic Society and the artists for coming up with the idea and the designs.”

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