MANSFIELD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Local artists in Mansfield hoping to liven up the town with paintings were denied the opportunity on Thursday.
Before postal carriers had vehicles to deliver mail, employees would use "post office relay stations" to house bags too heavy to carry door-to-door. Nowadays, five of those stations in Mansfield have not seen use for at least a couple decades and were rusting, said Head of the Mansfield Local Cultural Council Eileen Cusack.
So, in an effort to spruce up the town in time for it's 250th anniversary celebration in 2025, the MLCC commissioned artists to paint murals on the sides of the boxes.
"From defunct to designer Post Office Relay Stations no longer in use are getting a facelift," the MLCC put out a Facebook post looking for artists in the fall of last year to paint the "blight" boxes.
But according to Cusack, the United States Postal Service was not a fan of the idea, and allegedly removed the stations without telling anyone. Only one box was left behind by the federal employees because it had already been painted, Cusack said.
"Somebody saw the boxes going down the street in a white truck- it is upsetting, I don't know what to make of it," Cusack told WBZ's Suzanne Sausville.
The USPS apparently took action because they saw the project as a branding issue as "U.S Mail" was spelled out on the boxes, Cusack said.
"To me, branding of a rusting box isn't good branding- a painted box would be nicer," Cusack said.
Mansfield High School's art department may be out of luck too as some of their students planned to take part in the project, the MLCC said.
"It caused quite a stir down in Washington D.C, which I don't know whether to laugh or cry about. Are my taxes going to go towards housing them somewhere? It seemed like a win-win-win," Cusack said.
USPS said in a statement to WBZ NewsRadio that the relay boxes were removed as they have become unnecessary due to routes becoming motorized. Additionally the USPS said they are prohibited from receiving any type of gift, which would include the gift of artwork.
"While we can share in appreciating the talent of these local artists and applaud them for their efforts to beautify their community, we cannot offer postal equipment up as canvases," a spokesperson for USPS said.
WBZ's Suzanne Sausville (@wbzSausville) reports.