Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Day 133: Capitol Box Art Project

Mr. E and I recently remarked on some new public art around our neighborhood in the form of colorful and artistic "wraps" on the electrical boxes that stand guard on many street corners.  We passed two of them today along S Street on our way to Safeway, and I noticed a small sign on the tops referring to Capitol Box Art, which turns out to be a new project led by CADA:

In January 2014, the Capitol Area Development Authority (CADA) & the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (SMAC) received qualifications from local artists to be considered for CADA’s “Capitol Box Art Project”. Artists were selected based on past work and paid to create a design (or designs) that was transferred to vinyl, and wrapped around a City of Sacramento traffic utility box.  The vision is that by using these “blank canvasses” as a platform for the artistic community graffiti will be eliminated creating a beautiful, safe, inclusive, and interesting environment for pedestrians and commuters alike.

Funding for this arts project is provided by CADA in keeping with its mission of creating a Capitol Park Neighborhood that is beautiful, vibrant, transit-oriented, and community-minded.  Beyond CADA’s goal for the utility boxes, these boxes are meant to inspire and promote the recognition and celebration of Sacramento’s amazing local artists.

The 31 identified utility boxes are owned and operated by the City of Sacramento and are primarily located in CADA’s project area. Twenty-nine of the utility boxes have been completed and the remaining two boxes are on-hold until construction has ended in their locations. The artist-designed wraps were applied using a standard fabrication and installation method. Artists used a variety of media; photography, painting, collage, and digital imagery to develop their designs.

The web site provides a walking tour map of the 29 completed boxes along with more detailed information about each artwork and artist and a photo of the full "wrap" that is on the box.

One local news web site has photos of two of the boxes.  My favorite so far is the box we saw on the corner of 16th & S by artist Roma Devanbu (born in Boston, MA!):

I love the whimsy of the cut-outs, the bright and cheery colours, and the bird-like creature in the midst of the flowers and arches.

As I scrolled through all of the artist pages on the web site, I realized that the first box I saw was during a bike ride home from work, when I was riding south along 9th Street.  This artwork is at 9th & O, by artist Gioia Fonda:

This project is such a wonderful idea to dress up something so utilitarian and functional in order to add aesthetic pleasure and delight to the downton Sacto urban experience.  I'm so glad we live in a part of the grid that gets to showcase these pieces!


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