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 200 of the boxes.

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

MAP

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

FOR ARTISTS

Anyone is welcome to adopt a saltbox! This community project welcomes artists of all skill levels to participate.

Please do not advertise your business. This is art, not a billboard.

Keep the subject matter close to salt or all things Baltimore.

No offensive content, please. If you wouldn’t show it to your grandmother or your kid, don’t put it on a saltbox.

Please don’t cover another person’s art. It’s just rude. There are plenty of boxes to go around. Collaborations are always welcome, though.

The easiest way to decorate a saltbox is by putting your art on a 17″ x 23″ panel and affixing it to the front of the box with 4 screws. Be sure the screws do not go all the way through the wood, which could potentially injure a citizen while getting their salt.

Make sure all materials are weather resistant.

Since art boxes will remain outside for the public to enjoy, we ask that artists adopt the box during the summer months and help make sure the boxes remain intact and trash-free. If the box needs more maintenance than you can handle, you can report this to the Department of Transportation using 311. If your box needs a coat of paint, we recommend using OHSA Safety Yellow paint which can be found at most home improvement stores. Make sure it is good for outdoor use.

Share your art on socials using hashtag #saltboxart

Once your art is out in the world, reach out to us at baltimore.saltbox@gmail.com or through Instagram at @baltimore.saltbox.

More info can be found here!

COLORING SHEET

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.

SHOP 

Find all of my salt box goods here.

PRESS

City Art Movement Turns The Utilitarian Salt Box On Its Head – WYPR (03/24/21)

Outside the Box – Baltimore Magazine (March 2021)

The Salt Box – 98 Rock – Justin, Scott and Spiegel Show (02/26/21)

A Baltimore artist has painted dozens of salt boxes across the city. – Baltimore Sun (02/18/21)

‘They’re Kind Of Everywhere’: Baltimore’s Streetside Salt Boxes Become Public Art Fixtures – WJZ 13 – CBS Baltimore (02/15/21)

MDOT crews prep ahead of Monday’s snowfall – WMAR 2 ABC Baltimore (01/25/21)

Local Artist Turns Salt Boxes Into Works of Art – Baltimore Style (January 2021)