The yellow salt boxes are getting makeovers thanks to a local artist.
The uptick in winter weather this year has had Marylanders running for cover and searching bags of ice melt. If you’re one of the lucky ones living in Baltimore City, you need look no further than one of the salt boxes placed on the street corners. The boxes full of free salt are part of a tradition that goes back decades, providing a resource for residents to salt roads until public works trucks could arrive. This year the familiar yellow boxes are getting a facelift courtesy of a local artist.
Artist Juliet Ames usually spends her time making jewelry and decor from old china, but lately, she has turned her attention to salt boxes around the city. The Broken Plate creator started by using her traditional medium to decorate the boxes and then switched to regular paint, making designs that pay homage to prominent Baltimore figures. Ames and other locals have designed boxes dedicated to Tupac Shakur, John Waters, Brooks Robinson, and F. Scott Fitzgerald—his box located right on the corner near a house he once lived in. There are also boxes dedicated to local businesses like Old Bay Seasoning, Utz Potato Chips, and National Bohemian.
The boxes of free salt have been on street corners during the winter months going back to the late 1960s. In 2004, Baltimore County removed the salt boxes and ended up bringing some back after receiving complaints. If you want to know if there is a salt box in your neighborhood, there is an Instagram page that features the boxes. Just follow Robert Atkinson @Baltimore.saltbox to see images and locations. Juliet Ames is also accepting donations for the cause on her website. The artist has also created a fun PDF coloring page you can print out for kids to make their own salt box design.
If you want to check out boxes in person, you only have a few more weeks. Maryland may get hit by one or two smaller storms in the next couple of weeks before overnight temperatures move into the 40s, and the boxes are all picked up.
Which art salt box is your favorite? Share in the comments.