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Artists Turn South Norwalk Traffic Boxes Into Canvases

Norwalk-based artist Jahmane chose "Where the Wild Things Are" as his inspiration for his traffic box art outside 50 Washington St. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Lizzy Rockwell will paint people creating a quilt for her art piece outside the Norwalk Police Station. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Artist Michael J. Clocks chose a clock theme for his traffic box art outside the South Norwalk Train Station. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
New Haven artist Dooley-O chose to depict a man fishing for his traffic box art outside the Webster parking lot. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

NORWALK, Conn. -- The streets will be a bit more beautiful as a group of artists transforms traffic boxes in South Norwalk into pieces of art as part of a project sponsored by the city.

Artists Jahmane, Lizzy Rockwell, Michael J. Clocks and Dooley-O each created a design based on the theme "Connecticut Works," reflecting the current and historic industries of the area. This is the second traffic-box project sponsored by the city, the Norwalk Parking Authority and the Norwalk Arts Commission. The theme of the first project was literary works.

Jahmane is a Norwalk-based artist and designer who has worked with street art for 20 years. For his traffic box, outside 50 Washington St., he chose Ridgefield author Maurice Sendak's book "Where the Wild Things Are."

"I thought it would make a good public art display because it's a book that's inspiring and that a lot of people know and can relate to," Jahmane said as he began his work Saturday, May 10.

Public art projects such as this add value to the community, he said.

"I think it's essential to the vibrancy of communities, especially urban communities like Norwalk. It gives people something that they can look at and respect."

Rockwell, who lived in Norwalk for 11 years and now lives in Bridgeport, chose quilting as the theme for her traffic box outside the Norwalk Police Station. She is a children's book author and illustrator who has worked on the Peace by Piece Norwalk Community Quilt and also created a mural for the Norwalk Community Health Center.

"I think it's tremendous," she said of the traffic box project. "It gives people an opportunity to stop and contemplate a work of art."

Clocks chose a clock theme for his box outside the South Norwalk Train Station. Clocks grew up in Norwalk and moved to Bridgeport eight years ago. He works in sculpture, and often uses clocks in his work.

"Anything that puts art in the public view is a great thing," he said. "A lot of artists go all over Connecticut and see what other cities and towns are doing and see a lot of public art projects. This is a chance to bring that to Norwalk."

Dooley-O is a New Haven artist, DJ and hip hop artist. For his piece outside the Webster parking lot, he was inspired by the marine life of Norwalk and depicted a man fishing. He works primarily in graffiti art, and has directed documentaries on graffiti artists and will have a show opening in France this summer.

"This project needs to happen in every city around the world," Dooley-O said. "Graffiti is not just writing something on the walls and scribbling. It's a chance to make something that others will see and be inspired by."

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