CALL FOR PROPOSALS: City of Toronto “Outside the Box” (Hand-painted Traffic Signal Boxes) Project

Deadline: Monday, April 8 2019, at 5:00 pm. EST


The City of Toronto invites local area artists to submit proposals to create works of art on City traffic signal boxes throughout Toronto. There are over 2,200 traffic signal boxes located across Toronto at signalized intersections. These boxes are often covered with posters and are a prime target for graffiti vandalism.

The Outside the Box public art initiative helps to bring diverse and interesting public art to neighbourhoods, reduces the impact of graffiti vandalism and postering, contributes to the vitality and attractiveness of the streetscape, helps to beautify City infrastructure and streets, and supports local and emerging artists.

Artwork on traffic signal boxes functions as a form of communication to a passer-by with the goal to create a vibrant, inclusive and interesting urban environment. Successful proposals will be innovative in design, foster community pride, counteract graffiti vandalism and contribute to a sense of identity for residents and businesses.

The Outside the Box program is an initiative of the City of Toronto’s Transportation Services Division. Since it was launched in 2013, over 295 boxes have been hand-painted by local artists.


Selected artists will receive a fee of a $750 (honorarium and materials including HST) for each completed traffic signal box and licencing rights that will enable the City to reproduce the final design for promotional purposes.


  • Artist applicants must reside in the City of Toronto.
  • Artist applicants cannot be City of Toronto employees.
  • Use the template provided on the website to submit your design concept. Designs must cover all visible sides of the traffic signal box, unless where specified by the StART project team or specified on the list of box locations.
  • When designing the artwork, artists are encouraged to think of the context of the area and the city as a whole.
  • Designs must not contain:
    • any representations of traffic lights, signs or signals
    • advertisement or promotion for any business, product or viewpoint
    • vulgar, profane, offensive, or insensitive images or writing
    • any breach of intellectual property, trademarks, brands, images of illegal activity or involve the attachment of any object(s) to the box
  • Consideration should be given to the fact that the finished artwork(s) will be in the public domain and therefore may be vandalized. Although the City will protect the artwork with a vandal resistant clear coat, it cannot guarantee that vandalized traffic signal boxes will be repaired and the artwork restored to its original state. Further, artists should understand that the finished works will be on functioning equipment that will need repair or replacing at some point in time. As such, The City cannot guarantee how long each traffic signal box will be in use. Artists must accept the risk that their artwork may be damaged, altered or removed at any time after completion.
  • All designs will be subject to review and approval by the City of Toronto.
  • Artist signature and website cannot occupy more than ¼ of the base unit.


Width: 76.2 cm
Height: 121.92 cm
Depth: 43.18 cm

Please note in very few cases the traffic signal box may be slightly shorter than the above height. The artists chosen for these boxes will be notified of the height. The design template with dimensions can be found at


For 2019, Outside the Box aims to have 50 traffic signal boxes hand-painted by local artists. The majority of the boxes will be located in North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke.


Artists must specify in their application which of the 2 designated weeks they will be available to paint.

  • Week 1 (June 17 – 24, 2019)
  • Week 2 (July 8 – 15, 2019)

In some cases, depending on box location, some flexibility may be required and an artist may be requested to paint their box on another date if necessary. A single traffic signal box generally takes two days to complete but is dependent on the intricacy of the design and other variables including weather.

Artists may submit no more than one design proposals (template) along with a statement for each design. No artist will be selected for more than 1 traffic signal box.


Download the application package:

For more information or general questions please contact or visit StART’s website at