Art brings people together, brightens an area and creates beauty. This is why the Asian Business Association of San Diego (ABASD) is excited to partner with the Convoy District, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Cox Communications in calling for artists to transform utility boxes in Kearny Mesa into works of art to help spread messages of hope and unity.
The Box Creations Program, launching during Asian American Pacific Heritage Month in May, is seeking artists to paint images and inspirational words on SDG&E and Cox Communications utility boxes, which will enhance the aesthetics of The Convoy Pan Asian Cultural and Business Innovation District. The program will amplify the voices of local artists of all backgrounds, including those who are black, indigenous and people of color.
With Kearny Mesa on the precipice of becoming one of San Diego’s most desirable live-work-play communities, the painted utility boxes will serve as visual symbols of the area’s rich culture, dedication to community relationships and renewal. They will help to increase pedestrian traffic and extend public art to new and overlooked areas in this growing neighborhood.
“The passage of the new community plan for Kearny Mesa late last year, which will bring vitality through thousands of new homes and jobs being created in the neighborhood, is progress that warrants celebration,” said Lauren Garces of the ABASD. “The COVID-19 pandemic has meant we need to find creative ways to mark progress, create unity and honor our community. What better way to express our feelings and create a dialogue about the great changes to come than through art that everyone can enjoy?”
“Given the trying times all of us have lived through over the past year, beautification projects like the Box Creations Program are important to help heal and uplift our community,” said Margaret Carter, director of diversity and inclusion at SDG&E. “We are proud to help celebrate cultural diversity and the spirit of unity through this collaborative effort.”
SDG&E’s infrastructure beautification programs leverage substations and utility boxes as blank canvases for public art in diverse and underserved communities. Recent collaborations include the Let’s Live, Let’s Love partnership with Southeast Art Team in Southeast San Diego and the Young Art: Outside the Frame effort with San Diego Museum of Art in East Village. All these artistic collaborations are meant to promote utility, cultural diversity and community heritage, while enhancing the quality of life throughout the region.
The deadline to apply is May 31. All guidelines, eligibility requirements and details can be found on the ABASD website at abasd.org/boxcreations. If accepted, the deadline for the murals is June 30.
“Cox Communications is proud to serve diverse communities in our region and we’re excited that the Box Creations Program will help artists of all backgrounds highlight that diversity in the Convoy District,” said Sheila Garcia, an ABASD board member and communications manager at Cox who has served on the company’s Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Council.
Utility box painting has been an eye-catching component of several other San Diego neighborhoods that transformed through revitalization, including downtown and North Park.
Founded in 1990, Asian Business Association of San Diego (ABASD) represents the interests of over 30,000 Asian Pacific Islander (API) owned businesses throughout San Diego County. ABASD believes in building sustainable communities through inclusive economic development and a qualified diverse workforce. Learn more at www.abasd.org