2021 Submissions - NOW OPEN!

We are currently accepting applications and designs for 2021. Click here to review the new call for entry and learn how to submit your designs. Please ensure that your application is complete before uploading. Incomplete submissions will not be accepted. 

Outside the Box Project

The Thornton Arts, Sciences & Humanities Council (TASHCO) commissions artists to aesthetically transform traffic utility boxes from functional infrastructure into colorful, dynamic works of art. Designs are printed on high-quality vinyl wraps and professionally installed at various locations throughout Thornton. This project showcases the work of talented artists by creating a drive-by, publicly-accessible year-round art exhibit in Thornton.

Why Paint Utility Boxes?

The Outside the Box Project was initiated in 2016 as a way to combat graffiti in Thornton. At the time, traffic boxes made up approximately 70 percent of graffiti incidents. This public art project helps build a sense of community ownership and pride while also mitigating graffiti and vandalism costs for the city. Each vinyl wrap is printed with an anti-graffiti coating and lasts up to five years. Please read our write-up in The Denver Post to learn more about this project.    

Who Funded This Project?

Fifty percent of Outside the Box is funded by a Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) grant. The remaining balance is paid for by TASHCO funds. The 2020 budget of $44,042 covers artist commission fees plus fabrication and installation costs for 30 new designs.


Annual project support by SCFD and TASHCO has helped beautify Thornton empower artists - a majority of whom are city residents - to share their diverse talents with the community.

Who Selects the Designs?

Review panels, consisting of Thornton residents, artists and project stakeholders, donate their time to collaborate with the TASHCO Public Art Subcommittee on various public art projects. All design submissions are reviewed and selected by the subcommittee and panel members to ensure public art is unique to Thornton and informed by the community.

Designs are selected based on their artistic merit, creativity and overall visual impact. A final recommendation report is presented to the TASHCO Board and Thornton City Council for final approval.  

Outside the Box is another way TASHCO supports and advocates for the arts and humanities in Thornton.  You can view this and other public art projects by clicking here to see our online art collection.

2020 Artists

This year we received a record number of 390 submissions from local and international artists! Twenty-nine percent of designs were submitted by young artists, ages 8 to 17. Follow ArtsThornton on Facebook and Instagram to find out which designs were selected this year.