utility boxesFour formerly flat-grey downtown Santa Maria traffic signal utility boxes became beautiful and colorful works of art over the weekend.

The mini-murals with scenes representing the community were hand-painted by four local artists, Mathew Betancourt, Edward Chavarria, Melissa Johnson-Barash, and Ruben Espinoza. They were chosen by a panel of 13 judges to paint on traffic signal utility boxes along Main Street (State Highway 166) and Cook Street. The judges were so impressed by Melissa’s art, that she will soon be painting a second box; the date is to be determined.

“The judges looked for art that was inspired by our community, surroundings, and amenities, and that would create a pleasing effect to those who see it,” said Dennis Smitherman, Management Analyst I at the City’s Recreation and Parks Department.

This is the first of two box art projects developed by the City with the support of local sponsors. Phase two will occur sometime in the late spring. Aspiring artists are encouraged to watch the Recreation and Parks Department’s Facebook page. The City wishes to acknowledge these generous sponsors of Phase One:

  • Diane and Kieran Adam
  • Tri W Enterprises Incorporated
  • Santa Maria Arts Council
  • People for Leisure And Youth, Inc. (PLAY, Inc.)
  • BMLA, Landscape Architecture
  • City of Santa Maria Community Development Department
  • City of Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department

These newly painted boxes will be added to the City’s Public Art Map which can be viewed at http://www.cityofsantamaria.org/about-us/maps .