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A shocking selection of winners for Longmont switch box beautification

Painting has begun for the ten chosen designs in the 2021 Shock Art competition

The winners of the 2021 Shock Art competition through Longmont’s Art in Public Places commission, or AIPP, and Longmont Power and Communication, or LPC, have started to put their brushes to the box.

The 11th annual competition had 35 entries this year, with the AIPP commission increasing the selection from 7 to 10, including one commissioner’s choice design. Voting ended on July 24 and now the ten lucky painters have started work on their designs.

According to AIPP coordinator Angela Brill, more than 1,800 residents voted in this year’s competition. This year also included a map for AIPP to seek community input on which of the switch boxes needed updating or beautification. 

Brill released the final list of winners this week, along with the locations they’ll be painting.

  • Heather Castle - “Sky and Sea” - 17th Avenue & Cook Street
  • Joyana Gittings - “Amor Tejido” - East Ninth Avenue and Meeker Street
  • Dustin Spencer - “Fresh Mountain Air” - CO 66 east of CO 287
  • Amy Mathews - “Laughing Tree” - Second Avenue and Emery Street
  • Emily “Cat” Eaton - “Longmont Creatures” - 17th Avenue and Pace Street
  • Sabrina Ehlert - “Owl Be Seeing You” - Nelson Road, across from Silver Creek HS
  • Phyllis Rostykus - “Pansy Party” - 17th Avenue and Moonlight Drive
  • Parker McDonald - “Songbirds” - East 600 Block Main Street alley
  • Evan Colbert - “Rainbow Machine” - Quail Road and Martin Street
  • Patrick Pair - “Dogmont” - Longmont Humane Society

The artists will work on the electrical switch boxes throughout the month as their own schedules allow, though some artists have started or nearly finished the work.

Evan Colbert’s “Rainbow Machine” outside the St. Vrain Valley School District Innovation Center, east of the Longmont Museum, was nearly done by his second day of painting. Colbert’s abstract piece represents sunlight refracting through rain, he said, with the yellow arrow as the sun.

Colbert, a painter, printmaker and Longmont resident, said this was his fourth year submitting to the Shock Art competition and the first that one of his pieces was chosen. 

“It feels good. I live in Longmont and I’ve been here for nearly 20 years. I've had other public art in other towns but it’s nice to have one in Longmont,” Colbert said.

Patrick Pair, also a professional artist and printmaker in Longmont, is painting a switch box for his second year. Artists don’t get to choose the box they’ll paint, but for Pair the location was a happy coincidence for his design, “Dogmont.” 

“I came up with the design thinking about how much everyone in Longmont loves their dogs,” Pair said. “I think the Humane Society requested they do the box here this year, so it just worked out.”

Open call for next year’s Shock Art will begin in the spring of 2022. According to Brill, the Shock Art contest allows for an informal educational opportunity for artists of all experience levels - the creatives learn to navigate not only the execution of an accurate scale model, but public art applications, city contracts, training and working under deadlines. 

“The submissions this year were very strong,” Brill said. “While there wasn’t a designated theme this year, I suspect that may change for next year.”