ArtWalla and Potlatch No. 1 Financial Credit Union called upon local artists to create art that will be featured on weather-resistant vinyl wraps that will soon cover the traffic signal utility boxes in College Place.
College Place is not the small town it once was. College Avenue, the main road running through the Walla Walla University campus, now features charming light posts, well-paved sidewalks, and wider roads as a result of construction that concluded in 2016.
With all of the recent improvements, traffic signal utility boxes were installed to power the traffic lights and pedestrian crossing signs. Unfortunately, the utility boxes are seen as prime real estate for graffiti. In an attempt to discourage these acts of destruction on town property local artists were invited to submit art for designs to cover the utility boxes.
Autumn Uhrig, Walla Walla University sophomore art major, researched ideas and decided to enter the contest. “Before I began working on the project, I asked many friends and family members what came to mind when they thought of Walla Walla,” said Uhrig. “People listed several things, from local restaurants, to parks, but the common thread was always the fields and the wheat, as well as gorgeous sunsets.”
Taking these notes into consideration, Uhrig created a few sketches and showed them to her friends and family. They all seemed to be drawn to the sketch of the wheat field, which ended up being featured in her submission. The final design, done in a pop-art-esque style, features the wheat field underneath a sunset.
After not hearing back from the committee, Uhrig assumed she had lost the contest. Not long after, Matt Pierce, assistant professor of art at WWU and one of the judges for the contest, reached out to congratulate her on her submission being one of the eight designs selected to be printed on the utility box wraps.
The wraps are due to be completed in early 2021. Each winner received a stipend of $350 for their work.
To see more of Uhrig’s work, visit her Instagram page, @afaithu. To learn more about the art program at Walla Walla University, visit wallawalla.edu/art.
Posted Jan. 26, 2021