When you drive through most neighborhoods, chances are you don’t even notice the mailboxes. After all, they look pretty much the same from one neighborhood to the next. That is, until you enter the Reinwood I neighborhood on Hollywood Hill where all of a sudden there are mailboxes scattered throughout covered in images of rainbows, butterflies, music notes and trees.
It’s the spark of an idea that started when 16-year-old Ananya Garg, who will be a junior at Woodinville High School this fall, remembered how her mom had painted their family’s own mailbox when she was younger. The mailbox art had faded away, so one day Garg decided to paint it again.
"I remembered how lovely the mailbox had been," she wrote in an email interview.
Soon, the neighbors noticed the newly painted mailbox and how it stood out in the long row of them. When Garg asked if they’d like their mailboxes painted, they said yes.
She chose mailboxes as her canvas because she felt she could make the neighborhood cheery. She’s painted over 20 mailboxes in the Woodinville neighborhood now.
"It’s like an outdoor art gallery," Garg said, explaining that the painted mailboxes are always on display.
Garg would like to see the painted mailbox project expand as far as it could go.
She’s created a website that offers advice on what materials to use and how to prepare a mailbox for painting. The website also provides a photo gallery of some of the completed works of art.
"Imagine a world in which every single mailbox is a piece of art. Wouldn’t that be amazing?" asked Garg, suggesting that streets could have themes and scavenger hunts could be created to find certain mailboxes.
She is excited to watch her project grow bigger, beyond the mailboxes of Woodinville. "I’m looking forward to posting pictures of mailboxes from Woodinville and around the world," she said. The website encourages people to submit photos and addresses of their own painted mailboxes.
To read Garg’s suggestions for painting a mailbox and see a list of addresses where some of the painted mailboxes are located in Woodinville, visit Garg’s website: paintedmail.org