CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham resident Jennifer DuTeil normally paints in water colors, but she's expanded her artistry to acrylics for a special project.

On Monday, DuTeil climbed up on a stepladder to do her part in the Public Arts Council of Chatham Borough's "Green Takes Back Grey" project in which traffic control electrical boxes are being painted with colorful shades for spring. DuTeil also serves as the crossing guard at the same intersection.

DuTeil designed her traffic box painting to include a depiction of the Chatham Gazebo at Reasoner Park and also has a frog wearing a red, white and blue "Uncle Sam" hat. She is painting the box at the corner of Fairmount and Watchung avenues.

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"My theme is patriotic and fun," DuTeil said.

The traffic box at the corner of Watchung and Washington avenues is now a finished project. There also will be a painted traffic box at the intersection of Hillside and Watchung avenues.

The Public Arts Council of Chatham Borough’s (PAC) latest project intends to reclaim visual green space by painting gray traffic control boxes with naturalistic themes of local vegetation, animals and insect life. 

The local art is designed for both pedestrian and automobile audiences. The project is a testament to the community’s strong environmental sensibilities and the PAC’s mission of enhancing public spaces through indoor and outdoor art displays.

This project is made possible by a grant from the Chatham Jaycees, an organization well known for supporting the Chatham community. Local artists Jennifer DuTeil, Celeste Fondaco and Kenji Hasegawa are the painters.

DuTeil, a professional watercolor artist with 25 years of experience, is a commissioned artist and member of the Essex Watercolor Club, Art League of the Chathams, Drew Art Association and Cedar Key Art Group. 

Her work is reminiscent of days gone by but not forgotten. DuTeil serves as the crossing guard at Watchung and Fairmount Avenues.  Celeste Fondaco, a Chatham Township resident and current president of the Drew Art Association, is known for her intricate large scale floral paintings inspired by local gardens. 

Her work has been displayed at shows and in public spaces throughout the tri-state area. Hasegawa, an art teacher at Washington and Milton Avenue Schools in Chatham Borough, is perhaps best recognized by his work as the lead artist for the impressive 9-panel mural that adorns the underpass of Fairmount Avenue.

Since its inception, the PAC has played a major role in the artistic transformation of Chatham Borough by overseeing the Fairmount Avenue Mural Project, three sculpture installations, the Commuter's Oasis development and visual art exhibits.