Montrose utility boxes added to artistic mix

A mural project that recently spruced up Glendale-owned utility boxes will head to Montrose this fall.

Dubbed Beyond the Box, the program calls for unique paintings on the boxes near street corners, and the Glendale Arts and Culture Commission has selected 11 utility boxes along Honolulu, Montrose and Pennsylvania avenues for the last round of the project.

It will coincide with the Big Draw LA, a celebrated art event in a variety of venues throughout Southern California on Oct. 25.

Artists of all ages can apply, and they are allowed to work in a group on a single painting. The commission will give selected artists a $750 stipend for materials. Guidelines include prohibiting paint on the box handles, plagiarism or extensive dark coloring.

Board members with the Montrose Shopping Park Assn. voiced support for the project at their monthly meeting on Thursday.

Andre Ordubegian, board president, said he's spotted the murals in Glendale while driving.

"When families walk by, they just don't see a box, they see an artist," Ordubegian said. "It encourages creativity. We're for it."

In May, selected artists left their mark on 26 boxes scattered throughout downtown Glendale. The bland canvases were turned into an array of images, including a peacock, fish riding bicycles and electrical sockets.

Funds left over from the May phase of the project will finance the expansion into Montrose, roughly $10,000, said Chuck Wike, community relations manager for the city's library, arts and culture department.

"This is an effort to make [utility boxes] stick out and add an artistic focal point," Wike said. "It's a great way to get some new art on the streets of the city."

The project is part of a larger $1.4-million plan to establish Glendale as an arts destination, similar to cities such as Pasadena and Santa Monica.

Glendale officials recently called for Southern California artists to apply for its "You Are Here" initiative, a partnership with Art from the Ashes to install eight works around the city starting this fall through next year.

Applications, which must be submitted via email by Sept. 12, are available by searching for "Beyond the Box" at

For more information, contact Wike at and (818) 548-2030.

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