By Chris Bavender
The traffic box at Main and Sycamore streets in Zionsville has a new look thanks to local artist Rob Schaefer. It started as a call to all artists in the area by the Zionsville Cultural District.
Schaefer began cleaning and priming the traffic box the first week of May and finished painting it May 14. A second clear coat and UV protection was then added to finish the project.
“The theme of the box is a joyful welcome to Zionsville. Bright colors were used throughout. The design on the front of the box is boldly graphic so that viewers can appreciate the piece from a distance as they drive by,” Schaefer said. “The background of the entire piece is a brick theme, giving a nod to the iconic brick street of Zionsville.”
The traffic box also features a family enjoying a walk, buildings of the village and many other details.
“This is for walkers and folks who are closer to the box to enjoy. Zionsville is very proud of the Village and the history of the town,” Schaefer said. “The buildings in the painting are based on actual buildings in the village. Also, our history is acknowledged on the large heart with ‘Est. 1852’ boldly lettered being included. On the north side of the box is the iconic Zionsville clock that is in the Village and the state of Indiana in blue with a gold torch as reprinted on our state flag.”
Schaefer’s art replaces work called “All in This Together for Social Justice” completed in 2020 by Zionsville Community Schools students who wanted to support national calls for diversity and inclusion. Their work – and Schaefer’s – are temporary, as the box is set to be repainted on a periodic basis.
Schaefer said he received a lot of feedback for his work.
“While painting the box, I had many folks honk and wave and thank me for repainting the box,” he said. “Several folks actually parked in the area by the box and got out of their cars and thanked me. Many people gave me a smile and a thumbs up as they drove by.”
Although the artwork on the traffic box isn’t permanent, Schaefer said as a Zionsville resident and active town citizen since 1992, he wanted to create a piece that “respects the history of the town while welcoming visitors, friends and residents.”
“With use of bright colors and rendering the subject in a free and whimsical way, my hope is that folks see this piece and think of Zionsville as the friendly and joyful place that I know it to be,” he said.
Schaefer’s work can be seen at rschaeferart.com. and on Instagram and Facebook under Rschaeferart.