Downtown trash cans seek new look

Published 8:38 pm Monday, November 30, 2020

The SPARC Initiative seeks artists to paint more trash cans in downtown Suffolk to add a permanent splash of color to the area.

The Suffolk Foundation has provided funding for a second phase of the beautification project. Artists who are chosen to participate will be provided with all supplies needed and a $50 stipend.

“This is the second year of grant funding from Suffolk Foundation to help with beautification projects and bring creativity to the downtown area,” said Linda Bunch, executive director of Suffolk Art League. “This is a good way to bring creativity and a spark to the downtown area.”


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Interested artists are to send in drawings or digital renderings of their ideas on how they would want to paint their trash can if given the opportunity. The only stipulations are that the artists must be over 18 years old or work with an adult. SPARC will move the trash can to a safe location for the artist to paint. With downtown Suffolk being a historical district, there are color palettes for the artists to follow in order to not clash with the rest of the area. The historical color palettes to use can be found at

With the pandemic taking a toll on The SPARC Initiative, painting these trash cans is a small and simple way for the nonprofit to keep moving forward.

“Being truthful, COVID-19 punched us in the face with SPARC,” said Justin Sorenson. “This is a simple project and will put a bright spot in the street to show that we’re still moving forward in the middle of the pandemic.”

Right now, four trash cans are up for grabs for artists to submit ideas. According to Sorenson, if there is a big enough response for these four, SPARC may find more to be painted.

The first phase of the project took place in 2019.

In the future, SPARC hopes to do more significant projects like murals. According to Bunch, plenty of trash cans and planters are available to be painted in the downtown area for future phases. Getting them painted just depends on funding.

All renderings are due by Dec. 15. To receive more information and a registration form, contact Justin Sorenson at