Baltimore Salt Box

I've always been charmed by the Salt Boxes scattered around Baltimore City. When they show up on street corners in the late fall, I get excited thinking that a snow day could be around the corner. For those not familiar with these boxes, they are yellow wooden boxes with a hinged lid that are (usually) filled with salt to help residents when it snows. They arrive in late fall and are picked up in spring for storage and maintenance. Until this year. I'm assuming Covid-19 made sure that Salt Boxes are not a priority and they are showing their wear. I've always wanted to decorate one, especially the few I see that are lacking the stenciled words SALT BOX on the front. When I noticed the naked salt box on Roland Avenue and 36th St in Hampden, I knew that was the one. I cut the letters from recycled china and affixed them to a plywood panel painted with OSHA official yellow. I installed her in anticipation of the Winter's first snowfall. (Mostly for the photo op.) I tweeted her out into the world and was shocked when I got a reply from Baltimore City Department of Transportation. They loved it and encouraged artists to get creative! This is the best ever outcome to me. Since that day, artists have gotten in the game to decorate more than 100 of the boxes.


Robert Atkinson who goes by @Baltimore.saltbox on Instagram has built a map of all of the known salt boxes and art boxes here.


If you'd like to get in on the fun and adopt a box, I recommend getting a 17" x 23" plywood panel to affix to the front of your box. I use outdoor OSHA yellow paint to match the rest of the box. Affix the panel with screws in the 4 corners. Be sure that screws do not go all the way through the wood so that people don't cut themselves while fetching salt. Make sure to send me photos!

Baltimore Salt Box Coloring Sheet for kids can be found here.  The winning design will be made into a real salt box in Fall 2021.

You can donate to the project on Venmo: thebrokenplate or PayPal: 

A gallery of all of my boxes can be found here. 

Thanks for all of the enthusiasm with this project! Stickers can be found here!


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