Insight - Who, what, when, where, why & how?
Dublin Canvas is an inclusive public art project. To date, we have had a collection of artists from all age groups - students to retirees, from all walks of life - barristers to baristas, a mixture of nationalities and a variety of art disciplines. Graphic designers, illustrators, stencil artists, fine artists, street artists and landscape artists to name but a few. The main objective of Dublin Canvas is to ‘Colour in the County’. Artists have complete freedom on how to achieve this.
Dublin Canvas is fully funded and supported by each of the four Dublin County Councils. The project came into being from Dublin City Council's Beta project. The aim of Beta projects is to trial new ideas, to innovate and to experiment.
In 2013 Beta Projects experimented with a traffic light control box community art project. This trial was deemed successful. Leading on from this, Dublin Canvas was set up to expand on the concept, taking it further, eventually leading to a citywide rollout comprising 250 boxes throughout Dublin City Council's five main areas. In addition, there have now been a further 38 boxes painted within South Dublin County Council, 21 for Fingal County Council and a total of 7 for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.
Dublin Canvas is an idea, a community art project intended to bring flashes of colour and creativity to everyday objects within Dublin's streetscape. Less grey, more play. The project takes previously unused public space and transforms it into canvases to help brighten up each area. Making Dublin a more beautiful place to live, work and visit.
The project started in the Summer of 2015 with 15 boxes dotted along Rathmines, Camden Street and Baggot Street. Following on from this initial successful launch a further 31 locations were added in Autumn 2015. In 2016, Dublin Canvas expanded further taking in an additional 72 boxes and spreading out right across all five of Dublin City Council areas.
As of Spring 2019, there are now over 325 pieces completed - spread out right across County Dublin. Completed artwork brightens up and turns these once dull, heavily tagged boxes into beautiful works of art, transforming Dublin into a walking gallery of public art.
Dublin Canvas runs from Spring and finishes by late Autumn. A callout for submissions of artwork is made at the beginning of Spring and mid Summer. The selection process then takes place and the artwork is completed throughout the Summer and late Autumn months.
2019 - Timeline
Callout Commences – Monday 8th April 2019
Submission Deadline - Monday, 13th May 2019
Selection process - Tuesday 14th - 27th May
Artwork Completed - Tuesday 28th May-mid September
This Years Callout will consist of:
Dublin City Council -111 boxes spread out over Dublin City Council's five main areas. The callout is now live, full details are on how to submit are contained within the artist brief.
South Dublin County Council - 58 boxes spread out over South Dublin County Councils 8 main electoral areas. The callout is now live, full details are on how to submit are contained within the artist brief
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown - to be confirmed on a later date - sign up to the mailing list to keep updated.
Presently there is an abundance of highly creative, talented amateur and professional artists living throughout Dublin. These artists love to exhibit their work to the public. At the same time, there are large grey metal traffic light control boxes dotted right across County Dublin. They attract tagging/vandalism and generally drag the look of each area down. These boxes are always naturally located at traffic junctions making them ideal platforms to exhibit high-quality art to the public. Dublin Canvas utilises this space to showcase artwork enhancing the surrounding area. The artist's love to paint and the public generally loves the artwork. It is a win-win situation for all involved.
Dublin Canvas uses traffic light control boxes for community art. These boxes are always naturally located at traffic junctions making them highly visible, perfectly located platforms to exhibit art to all pedestrians, cyclists and motorists as they wait whilst the traffic lights turn green. Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones!
Dublin Canvas is an inclusive public art project. The project is open to anyone over the age of 18. If you can pick up a brush and paint, we want you to submit an entry. All you need to do is submit an idea and if selected be willing to give up the amount of time it will take you to paint the box.
Interestested artists and community groups should carefully read guidelines and criteria below and submit their artwork on time and in the correct format to
Selection Criteria and Guidelines
Participants should draw upon their own creativity but should also pay attention to the different characteristics of each area for inspiration, paying attention to the surroundings of each box when designing their artwork. As each of the areas are quite distinct it is suggested that you visit each location to draw inspiration from the immediate environment.
Selected artwork imagery will still be owned by the participants. However, you must agree to let Dublin Canvas use the artwork image in any way to promote the project and Dublin which will include use on websites, social media and all related publications. It is intended that the artwork will stay for a minimum of 1 year. However, Dublin Canvas reserves the right to remove any artwork at any time without prior notice.
Artwork will be selected based on the following criteria:
creativity and innovation of design
the relevance of the image to the chosen area
ability to work within the guidelines of the project
Dublin Canvas actively encourage entrants to be as creative as possible, but designs would be ineligible if they contain the following.
breach of intellectual property rights (stealing someone else's idea)
trademarks, advertisements, brand or business names, logos or copyrighted images
images relating to drugs or alcohol
offensive or contentious images
artwork dominated by text, unless relevant to the design
Entrants should bear in mind the following points when conceptualizing designs.
maximize the use of the 3-dimensional aspects of the boxes
a small logo, entrant’s details and box reference number will appear on the bottom of each left and right-hand side panel. This will be added on after the box is completed.
The finished artwork will be in the public domain, there is a chance that it will be vandalized. Consequently, large areas of the design should not be left open to attack. For example, large areas of blue skies on an image would give vandals the opportunity to deface the artwork.
photographs of the chosen traffic signal boxes are displayed on the map. It would be recommended that participants visit each site for inspiration and to ensure that their designs integrate with the surrounding area.
only prior agreed artwork can be used on boxes
prior to painting each of the allocated units will be painted white by Dublin Canvas
Participants should meet the following specifications to ensure their artwork is considered for the project
All submitted artwork should be clearly labelled.
All submissions should contain contact details, a short biography (40 words or less) along with a name for your artwork and a brief description (40 words or less) of the inspiration behind your chosen design. This information will appear on the Dublin Canvas website and all social media should your design be selected.
All submitted artwork must be emailed in JPEG or PDF format.
You may also be called upon to repair or touch up any damaged pieces.
Keep in mind that some of the available boxes are against a wall or railings. This will only allow for 3 sides to be painted
Be sure to include the following in your submission:
Artwork: label all artwork correctly, send Jpeg’s or PDF’s
Copy/paste/fill out below content:
Preferred Artwork Location/Area view locations @www.dublincanvas.com/map
Artwork Description: (40 words or less, if possible, not essential)
Biography: (40 words or less, if possible, not essential)
Contact Artist: Website – Instagram -Twitter - Facebook (if available, not essential)
Supply Materials: Dublin Canvas or own (see budget paragraph above for details)
Artists may submit multiple entries
Email completed submissions with contact details to
Why get involved with Dublin Canvas?
Dublin is a very beautiful County, however, sometimes and in certain areas, it can do with a helping hand. By participating in the project, you can transform the selected boxes into works of art, helping to brighten up Dublin. By their very nature, the boxes are located at traffic junctions making them highly visible to pedestrians, cyclist and motorists.
Who can get involved?
The project is open to anyone over the age of 18. If you can pick up a brush and paint, we want you to submit an entry. All you need to do is submit an idea and if selected be willing to give up the amount of time it will take you to paint the box.
What are traffic light control boxes?
Traffic light control boxes are large grey metal boxes used to house the electrical components that coordinate the traffic light sequence. They are visible at most junctions throughout Dublin.
Dublin Canvas is asking for members of the public that are interested in the project to volunteer their time and talent to help brighten up the Dublin. In saying we believe it should not cost participants anything more than time. There are two options available to help cover costs. Option one is that Dublin Canvas will supply all materials (paints, brushes, PPE etc.) in a portable pack, plus payment of €150 to cover travel expenses/food/caffeine for the day. Or option two, a payment of €200 and participants supply their own materials. For the second option, the materials used would have to be
pre-approved by Dublin Canvas. This will ensure all painted boxes will remain vibrant for the duration of the project. Please indicate on submission which option you would prefer.
Artists may submit multiple entries.
Depending on the location of the unit, all artwork is planned to stay on each box for between 1-3 years. However, Dublin Canvas reserves the right to paint over any box at any time without prior notice.
The quality is up to you. Have a look at our Instagram, Facebook and gallery section for inspiration. There are some restrictions as outlined above but we encourage you to be as creative as possible.
The safety of participants and the public is paramount to Dublin Canvas. Full PPE (personal protection equipment) will be provided but due caution will be needed when painting each box.
What will be the Selection Process?
Each box will be awarded on the quality and creativity of design. The judging panel will be made up of Council representatives. All entrants will be notified either way if a submission is accepted or rejected.
English is not my native language; can I still enter without accompanying text submissions?
We are aware that English may not be the native language of some of the artists that enter. Accordingly, we are not looking for an essay for each description. A brief description of 40 words or less will suffice. All profiles will then be promoted on the website and social media. The more information supplied the better the profile will look.
What format should submissions be sent in?
Artwork should preferably be in Jpeg format or PDF and emailed to
Hints and tips
PPE will be provided but participants should constantly be aware of their surroundings. The selected boxes are all in high footfall areas of the city, the public will stop and ask about the project and for directions. It's Ireland, at some stage it's probably going to rain. Make sure to dress accordingly and that all your materials can be put away quickly in case of a sudden downpour. Obviously, the units are static, you will have to be able to move around so keep this in mind whilst designing your artwork.