El Cerrito calls for artists to transform its utility boxes

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From Drab to Fab: El Cerrito calls for artists to transform its utility boxes
Photo courtesy of the City of El Cerrito.

By Kathy Chouteau

Do you have an idea for beautifying urban public spaces with your art? If so, this initiative might be perfect for you.

The City of El Cerrito’s Arts & Culture Commission is seeking individual artists, teams of artists or community groups to apply for its “2024 Utility Box Public Art Program.” The project is a beautification initiative designed to add to the vibrancy of the San Pablo Avenue corridor by having community artists transform unsightly utility boxes into attractive works of art, according to the City.

This program’s theme is “Artwork that Celebrates El Cerrito’s Natural Beauty and Environment,” and any artist/team/community group residing in Contra Costa County can apply. The boxes, including one main utility box and a smaller traffic signal box adjacent to each other, are located at Ashbury and Fairmount Avenues, next to Harding Elementary School in El Cerrito.

A $2,500 stipend is offered for each utility box completed and the application is due Friday, June 14, at 4 p.m. Work on the boxes begins Aug. 5, with work to be completed by Sept. 6.

To date, eight utility boxes have been painted by local artists as part of the initiative throughout 2021 to 2023. Artists including Adaleyd DeLeon, Kristen Kong, Shanna Strauss, Martial Yapo, Jesse White and Ricardo Cerezo have been selected by the city to beautify utility boxes with their art since the program’s inception.

Applications can be submitted online here. Questions? Contact Will Provost at 510-215-4318 or [email protected].