“Art the Box” honors World War II vets with new project

"Art the Box" commissioned local artist Jason Lutz to paint the traffic signal box on the corner of 5th and Reynolds Streets to honor World War II Veterans.
"Art the Box" commissioned local artist Jason Lutz to paint the traffic signal box on the corner of 5th and Reynolds Streets to honor World War II Veterans.

Augusta, GA (WJBF)– Creatively painted traffic signal boxes on street corners around Augusta are the result of the city’s “Art the Box” project of Spring 2015.

Today, a special box was unveiled in honor of one of America’s greatest generations– World War II veterans.

For decades, the Iris Garden club has managed the land at the corner of 5th and Reynolds Streets downtown, where a “Blue Star” historical marker pays tribute to World War II veterans.

“What it represents is a tribute and honor to our veterans,” said Pat Hathaway, a past president of the Iris Garden Club.

There are 150 Blue Star markers in the state of Georgia, but the one in downtown Augusta, erected in 1948, is the oldest.

When a traffic box was put on this corner, Hathaway was dismayed, so she contacted the Greater Augusta Arts Council to see if it could also be painted.

“We received an email after the boxes went up from Pat Hathaway with the Iris Garden club, saying that we had missed an important box,” said Brenda Durant, executive director of the Greater Augusta Arts Council.

Months after the last box was painted, the City of Augusta scraped together the funds to commission a World War II-themed box to complement the Blue Star marker.

“With World War II, it was such as huge war, and all of our families were touched somehow,” said Jason Lutz, the artist who won the commission.

Lutz said he wanted to commemorate all four branches of the military and the war effort at home, while also adding local flair.

“It’s just absolutely perfect,” Hathaway said. “We took an ugly box, and made it into a work of art. For the veterans.”

Anyone interested in having a box near their business or school painted can contact the Greater Augusta Arts Council.

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