Community Post

New art on signal boxes catching people’s eyes

We’ve received several emails and notes from our twitter followers about the eye-catching art that has gone up on traffic signal boxes around the neighborhood. 

CDNews twitter friends Truman206 and SusannaDW did the research legwork for us, and found that it’s the result of the city’s Central Area Signal Box Art Decal Program that was first announced on the site last June.

The artist is Troy R. Miles, and Truman gives him big props for what he accomplished with his $2,000 budget, saying “These posters are beautiful.  My snapshots don’t do Mr. Miles’ work justice.  Find one to admire right here in the CD!”

Here’s the images, with the small historical text from each:

Photo by Truman206

Streetcar scene on Jackson St. 1940’s. Three waves of Jewish immigrants populated the Central District from the late 1850’s to the mid 1940’s. First came the German Jews, followed by the Polish Yiddish-speaking Jews and finally Spanish-speaking Jews from Turkey. There was also a legacy of Scandinavian presence. The first Danish community was established in 1890. In 1914 a group of forty Danes met at what is now Washington Hall (14th & Fir St.) to establish a Brotherhood Congregation.

Photo by Truman206

By the mid 1940’s, the Central District had become home ot Seattle’s blossoming black population. African-American William Grose arrived in Seattle in 1861. In 1890 he built a home on 12 acres of land purchased from Henry Yesler between East Olive Street and East Madison Street at 24th Avenue. The area quickly became one of the first Black settlements in Seattle.

In the 1960’s job discrimination created civil unrest in the community. The CD became prone to rioting, marches, and various forms of civil disobedience. Edwin Pratt, an American Civil Rights Activist became head of the Seattle Urban League in 1961. He was instrumental in the desegregation of the Seattle Public Schools and led an initiative for equal housing opportunities.

The Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center is an historical cultural arts institution. The former Jewish Synagogue Bokur Cholim located at 17th and Yesler Street was established in 1969.

14 thoughts on “New art on signal boxes catching people’s eyes

  1. I would disagree, although aesthetically they are nice…they have a very limited view of what the neighborhood is. It is one of the most diverse areas in the state and this represents one segment of the population. I am a longtime resident of the cd and would love to start seeing art and community events that are more inclusive of everyone.

    I also don’t get the “Straight CD” reference?

  2. If you look closely at the picture, you will see the words “Out” towards the top and “The” towards the bottom. Perhaps this is an attempt at “Straight Out [of] The CD”, or, if you will, “Straight Outta The CD”. As in “Straight Outta Compton.”

  3. The map in the 2nd image is all messed up and it’s driven me nuts since the first time I saw it. I’m a designer so it’s probably just my beef, but Madison doesn’t run parallel to Union, the neighborhood boundary should be slanted like this > with the thicker part pointing toward the lake, Judkins isn’t a straight street, etc.

    Artistic license and all, but I still look at it and mentally flip and overlay a map every time I see it.

  4. They included Jewish Immigrants, Danish Immigrants and African Americans. How is this not inclusive? I think they’re awesome. Hope there are more.

  5. Though I was at first glance originally impressed by the poster, the words “Straight CD” did catch my attention, and even though I tried, it just did not seem to me that any other words on the poster took this sting away! I found it too distracting a reference to find any enjoyment in claiming pleasure in this poster. Purhaps the Straight CD was not intended to be offensive, but I found it unacceptably so.

  6. I love this type of neighborhood-centric art. While the bottom one has some issues, they both make the boxes far more interesting to look at. Projects like this and The Corner bring the community together and make the neighborhood more lively.

  7. The saying on the second poster says “Straight out the CD”. What is so difficult about that? Slang for “Straight out of the CD”… don’t hate, appreciate! Great art…I don’t think it’s meant to be completely realistic, but stylistic with a hip urban vibe..

  8. Thanks for this article. I was wondering what the story was behind these.

    Jill – If you find out if these can be purchased please let me know as well.

  9. Denny Party landed 1851. There were less than 3500 people in the City in the early 1880s. Would love a cite for the “Jews in the CD in 1850s” line.

  10. They give some character to those plain metal boxes, I don’t see what on earth is so bad with the sighns.