It all started in 2015 when Friends of the Library (FOL) members Carol Pastor and Margaret Wright approached the Cultural Arts Commission regarding a project to involve local students to artistically decorate the Caltrans utility boxes along Orange Avenue. Christened “Art Outside the Box,” the first phase of this public art project wrapped up on Monday, April 9, with a dedication ceremony in the Winn Room at the Library. The Cultural Arts Commission’s goal for this project is to inspire and promote Coronado’s student artists while turning generic utility boxes into works of art.
In a collaboration between the Coronado Unified School District and the Coronado Cultural Arts Commission, an after-school art course was developed. Interested young artists, in fifth through ninth grades, enrolled in a specially designed 10-week after school program called “Art Outside the Box” to learn about the community’s public art collection, as well as the process of creating public art. The course was taught by local mosaic artist Kirstin Green, who mentored 14 students to create the entries. “I appreciate the kids’ dedication to this project and the art speaks for itself, it’s incredible. What a valuable lesson getting to see what it takes to get a piece of art from conception to completion. Now they have their first public work of art to put in their portfolio,” said Green. The student’s artwork went through a preliminary and final jury selection process before going before the Cultural Arts Commission, the City Council, and Caltrans for installation approval.
Graphic wraps were determined to be the best method for accomplishing these installation for many reasons including: durability, ease of replacement and repair, accurate execution of reviewed artwork, and artist safety. The life of each wrap is three to five years on average, making this a temporary public art installation. Upon the end of the wraps’ lifetime, the film will be removed to be re-wrapped or returned to its original condition.
“The vision is that using these generic utility boxes as a canvas for local young artists, a beautiful, safe and interesting gallery for pedestrians and commuters has been created along the main thoroughfare of Coronado,” said Kelly Purvis, contract arts administrator.
Funding for this public art project was made possible through the generous donations of several sponsors, including Carol Pastor and family, the Coronado Public Library Friends of the Library, the Rotary Club of Coronado, the Coronado Unified School District and the City of Coronado.
Phase one of the art project includes the recently wrapped eight boxes located along Orange Avenue from Third Avenue to Avenida de las Arenas. The utility boxes are owned and operated by Caltrans and are located at corners near traffic signals. The second phase includes six Caltrans boxes along the Silver Strand. The project has been approved pending funding and fulfilling the artwork approval process as established by the program.
The students say that it may only look like paintings to some, but the work, time, and love poured into this project proves it is so much more. To learn more about how this collaborative effort came to life, watch the video below: