The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Beautiful boxes: Watsonville art project designed to spruce up streets, deter graffiti

WATSONVILLE — The city’s latest public art project — a mural inspired by the City Plaza — is a work in progress on a utility box on Freedom Boulevard at Martinelli Street.

The artwork, which features a depiction of the plaza’s well-known fountain and bust of George Washington, is the first project launched under a public art plan approved by the City Council in June.

The city hopes the project, designed to beautify the utilitarian boxes that hold electrical, phone and cable equipment, will not only spruce up neighborhoods but also deter graffiti.

Artist Vanessa Stafford’s design was chosen from among 35 submissions by nine artists. Arturo Thomae, whose previous work includes murals on an industrial warehouse on West Beach and Walker streets, was picked for two other projects. His designs, “Birds in Slough” and “Strawberries on Vine,” will adorn utility boxes at Freedom Boulevard and Brennan Street and West Lake Avenue and Rodriguez Street.

All three projects are expected to be done by the first part of January.

The artists will be paid $1,500 for each box, and their contract includes the preparing the box for the mural, the painting and a five-year commitment to restore any damage without further fee.

published in Santa Cruz Sentinel

Posted in: News