Applications being accepted Apply Now

In the interest of enhancing the visual experience for residents and visitors in the City of Buffalo and Western New York, Community Canvases is proud to announce our Signal Box Art Project.

This project is inviting artists to help transform neighborhoods into visual and graphic delights that will not only provide an entertaining and stimulating experience to the passersby, but also offer social and well-being support. Our artful electrical signal boxes include two QR Codes, a “help” QR code and a “story” QR code.

The help QR code directs an individual to services available to them near the location of the signal box. The story QR code will direct them to a story or poem, told by a local resident that provides inspiration. 

Community Canvases has identified 2 boxes for artistic and informative enhancement.

The electrical Signal Box will be wrapped in a vinyl image submitted by the artist and approved by Community Canvases and Niagara Metals which sponsors this artistic endeavor.

At Niagara Metals, we are committed to environmental sustainability, responsible recycling practices, and being actively involved in our communities. As a local scrap metal recycling company, we are essential to a greener future of less waste. We raise awareness of metal recycling and we make sure the public knows that we are ready to pay you for your recycled metal. Community members get paid as they contribute to reducing waste and preserving our precious resources. Together, we can all keep metal out of the landfill. Our community engagement efforts are focused on removing barriers to recycling and engaging individuals, businesses and organizations in working together to protect our environment.

THE LOCATION – for this current project, the electrical Signal Boxes to be wrapped are at the following locations:

  1. Hertel Avenue and Elmwood Avenue
  2. Amherst Street and Elmwood Avenue
  3. Additional locations may be added

Artist Participation

Anyone can submit an original work of art (painting, oil, watercolor or acrylic, graphic design, or photography) that will be applied to an Electrical Signal Box. Invitations will be extended to anyone willing to meet the requirements of this call for artists. A general invitation to submit proposals is being issued to the public—both amateur and professional artists— as well as art and educational institutions. We would like to have the broadest possible reach in hope of acquiring the highest level of talent and imagination for this project.

Proposals can be inspired by but are not limited to the following themes:

  • Renew, Recycle, Reuse
  • Local Flora and Fauna

The proposals should be based on the dimensions of the enclosed “Electrical Signal Box Diagram” and should include all sides of the Electrical Signal Box. Artistry must be 2- dimensional in digital or paint media. Dimensions of the Box are listed on the diagram.

Final box assignment will be determined by Community Canvases. Proposals should include the artist’s signature on the proposal as it would appear on the actual Electrical Signal Box. Artists may submit proposals for one box. All submitted proposals become the property of Community Canvases.

All artwork must be an original work of art by the submitting artist.


The nonprofit organization Community Canvases and Niagara Metals has provided the following design guidelines for the signal box art project. Designs that do not follow the provided guidelines may be disqualified from the design competition, at the discretion of Community Canvases and Niagara Metals.


Artwork should be submitted as digital images with the following dimensions:

The ideal size for artwork with a landscape orientation is
12”x 30”

Photos of your artwork can be submitted or digital work can be submitted with a resolution of 3000 x 7500 pixels (and up to 6000 x 15000 pixels)

The required number of pixels will ensure that the digital image submitted can print on 24” by 60” vinyl wrap at 250 dpi.

If you cannot submit a digital image, please contact us to take a photograph of your artwork.

Identification and Contact Info: 

Each submitted design must include the following information:

  1. Artist’s Name
  2. Artist’s Mailing Address
  3. Artist’s Phone Number
  4. Artist’s Email Address


The panel will consider the following criteria:

  • Bright colors are preferred as dark colors may cause overheating issues with the boxes.
  • Designs that are fun, whimsical and relate to multiple ages and audiences
  • Ability of the design to be translated in large-format on a traffic box wrap
  • Artwork cannot contain words or logos or anything that appears like a traffic sign

Community Canvases cannot consider designs that include branding, advertising or images that sell a product or service. Artwork will be deemed inappropriate which portrays: content which violates copyright or other known legal ownership interest, profanity, obscenity, indecency, violence, pornography; discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or nationality; defamation or personal attacks

Signal Box Diagram

Signal box Diagram
Diagram of Signal Box and requested artwork


The competition is open to all artists located within the Western NY area regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, military status, sexual orientation, marital status, or physical or mental disability.

Artists who have previously been accepted and have had their work installed will not be eligible at this time.

Help QR Code

On each Signal Box, Community Canvases will include a Help QR code. Upon scanning by the phone of a passerby or a person-in- need, the phone will be directed to a website with a list of social service information, customized based on the location of the signal box and the types of needs that members of the local community feel are most relevant. This QR code may link to a directory page on or to a page on or to a referral page for a local social service provider.

Story QR Code

On each Signal Box, Community Canvases will include a Story QR code. Upon scanning by the phone of a passerby, the phone will be directed to a website with stories and poems submitted by local writers. The story chosen can be customized by the location of the signal box. This QR code may link to a specific story or a collection of stories and poems at which will be read by authors in the neighborhood with the Signal Box. These stories will be collected from participants in Community Canvases’ WRITE ON workshops. Additional WRITE ON workshops will be conducted in these neighborhoods to facilitate local residents expressing their truth and creating these stories and poems.

Story Creation Process

Several of the collected stories and poems will be created in Community Canvases’ WRITE ON! which is a workshop where participants learn how to express themselves better and more confidently over time. Each session includes a check in, a brief guided meditation, two free-write opportunities, and an opportunity to share your writing in a purely encouraging environment.


  • Wraps may be removed after 4-5 years depending on condition.
  • Wraps may be removed at any time at the discretion of Community Canvases.

Artist Application

Apply Now
Note: A Google account is needed to access the application and upload artwork.


Please reach out to Elaine Grisanti at (716) 812-8937