Interact Club heads downtown, paints utility box


Gracie Rowland

MSMS Interact Club traveled downtown this week to make Main Street their canvas.

Kate McElhinney, Staff Writer

The MSMS Interact Club traveled downtown this week to make their mark on Columbus’ Main Street. Main Street Columbus invited artists across Columbus to participate in their ‘Adopt-a-Box’ project, in which selected artists paint the utility boxes downtown. Main Street Director Barbara Bigelow and project coordinator Amber Brislin started the project as a way to beautify downtown Columbus and display local art. The Interact Club submitted a design, and they made their way downtown to paint their own utility box on Wednesday.

From late September to early October, Interact Club President Alden Wiygul hosted a competition among MSMS students to find the best design. After much consideration, the winner was Gina Nguyen, whose design featured a lotus flower.

Wiygul felt that the event was a great way for students to leave a positive impact on Columbus, and it was a great outreach opportunity for MSMS.

“This was a really cool opportunity for our club,” Wiygul said. “I’m excited we were able to leave a legacy for those who don’t live in Columbus but have made it their home through MSMS.”

Shanay Desai, a member of the Interact Club who helped paint the utility box, enjoyed painting with his friends and getting the chance to help the community in a fun way.

“I feel like going to paint the art box was a really fun experience, and it felt good to be able to come together with other MSMS kids and spend time painting and making memories,” Desai said. “Being able to do this to help beautify the city of Columbus felt good, and every time I come back to Columbus in the future I am able to tell people that I was able to do this with my friends.”

A few problems arose from the inclement weather Columbus has been experiencing the past few weeks. The trip to paint the utility box was rescheduled a few times, and rain seemed on the horizon as the Interact Club planned to head downtown on Thursday, January 16.

The prospect of rain made the event challenging, so an executive decision was made to reschedule it for Wednesday, Jan. 22. And so it was; about 8 students carpooled to 9th Street South to paint the utility box, making the trip a success.

Nguyen, the winner of Wiygul’s design submission competition, had her name displayed at the bottom of the utility box. She was excited to get the chance to leave her own mark on Columbus and to have something to remember her time at MSMS.

“I’ve always loved painting, so to have the opportunity for my work to permanently become a part of downtown Columbus is really special,” Nguyen said. “I painted the original during a painting class I took at MSMS, so I foresee myself passing by 10 years down the road and remembering my time here. Just being able to take one of my works and recreate it with my friends has been really fun so far.”

The Interact Club will be finishing the painting this Saturday, Jan. 25.