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Burbank seeks artists to paint utility boxes

Burbank seeks artists to paint utility boxes
Artwork painted on a utility box at Ovrom Park in Burbank, as shown in 2015. (File Photo)

Burbank's Cultural Arts Commission is looking for a second batch of artists who would be willing to help beautify the city by painting murals on utility boxes.

The Burbank Arts Beautification Program, which is part of the city commission, is moving forward with plan to spruce up five more Burbank Water and Power electric utility boxes in an effort to improve the aesthetics of the city.

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"It's of vital importance to enhance the community and enhance the overall feel and look of Burbank," said Diana Means, chairwoman of the Burbank Arts Beautification Program. "We're in the entertainment community, and we're in a huge arts district, and it's nice to be able to have that expression."

Artists from Burbank and surrounding communities have until Aug. 25 to submit their applications to the Parks and Recreation Department. Means and other committee members will vet each artist's proposed murals and select five artists to paint utility boxes in October.

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The five utility boxes are located in the following areas: behind the ballfield restrooms at Ralph Foy Park, in the parking lot at Gross Park, by the tennis courts at Mountain View Park, by the parking lot at DeBell Golf Course and at the Starlight Bowl.

Each artist will receive a $1,000 stipend from the city, which is to be used to cover the costs of designing and painting their artwork.

This year's theme for the beautification project is "A World of Possibilities." Means said she and the commission are trying to get people to use their imaginations when submitting an application.

"I feel like people are very distracted and are on their phones too much and stay in this busy mindset all the time," Means said. "When you do that, it closes off some of the creativity. We need to be able to look away from our phones and daydream and keep that creativity going."

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The utility boxes being painted this year will bring Burbank's total number of boxes with murals to 12. In 2015, seven electric boxes received makeovers in the initial round of murals.

Ignacio Gomez, a painter and sculptor from Glendale, was one of the original seven artists who had the opportunity to paint a utility box.

For Gomez, who is known for the murals and sculptures at the Cesar E. Chavez Memorial in San Fernando and has had his work featured in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, beautifying a plain utility box is another way to inspire children and budding artists to chase their artistic dreams.

"It inspires young children to maybe consider going into the arts," he said. "If it gets young kids to participate in the arts, that would be great."

Twitter: @acocarpio

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