Power Box Art Alameda

Alameda island

Maybe a month ago I was forwarded a call for submissions Power Box Art: Energizing Alameda.  In their word…

Alameda Municipal Power: Power Box Art banner
Alameda Municipal Power: Power Box Art banner

Across the country communities have been covering utility boxes with art to beautify their downtowns, transforming the
ordinary into the extraordinary. The Power Box Art pilot program invites artists to re-energize the utility boxes on their own
streets of Alameda.

Power Box Art, a partnership between Alameda Municipal Power (AMP), Park Street Business Association (PSBA) and
RhythmixCultural Works (RCW) is seeking artists who live or work in Alameda to design art for 10 utility boxes in the Park
Street Business District.

Art should reflect ways the community can reduce its carbon footprint through renewable power sources, cleaner
transportation, recycling and reuse, shopping “Alameda local”, supporting local farmers, and water and energy


  • Works should be positive, suitable for family viewing and a public environment.
  • Artist must submit artwork by uploading their files via this website.
  • Artist must fill out all portions of the submission form including the 200-word maximum statement/bio.
  • Artwork must be original.
  • Avoid the use of dark colors over large areas, as this may cause the utility box to absorb heat and damage equipment.
  • Artist can submit up to three designs.

While I initially had concepts for three designs, I narrowed them down to the following two.

Infinite Drying Power

The piece titled Infinite Drying Power offers the suggestion to let the sun dry your laundry.

With its theme of reflecting the simplest way for reducing one’s carbon footprint, the piece titled Infinite Drying Power offers the suggestion to let the sun dry your laundry. Illustrated in a style reminiscent of a youngster’s drawing the final piece will be designed to appear as an endless cloth line. The observer can then circle the transformer box and see only the collection of colorful clothing floating in an imagined breeze, bright in the California Sun. Re-contextualizing the mundane cloth line into an idyllic image, something which might seem like a childhood memory, the artwork can encourage observers to view laundry, not as a chore, but another chance to do their part for the environment.


Grow Your Own

The piece titled “Grow Your Own” encourages conserving resources by converting a household’s lawn into a vegetable garden.

The piece titled “Grow Your Own” encourages conserving resources by converting a household’s lawn into a vegetable garden. The idealized garden appears as seen through a fish-eye-lens, its image would have the sun on the box’s top corner, while the garden vegetables wrap around it, creating a seamless panorama. Information such as simple tips on starting a vegetable garden or a list plants that would thrive in Alameda could be included. By placing the gardener and her loyal pet on each door, both characters could continue to admire their work while the transformer box is open for service. Additionally, the electrician would appear to be gardening and thus create a whimsical context that could better associate Alameda Municipal Power employees with the ideals behind reducing a home’s carbon footprint and creating a greener environment.

Just yesterday the selected artist were announced. Narrowing over 100 submissions to 10 selections is no easy task for any individual. A task made more difficult as the number of decision makers grow. These five judges should each be thanked for taking the time to achieve such a task, Alameda Mayor Marie Gilmore, Public Utilities Board president Madeline Deaton, Alameda Sun editor Eric Kos, Alameda artist and Cal State East Bay instructor Dickson Schneider, and Julie Baron of Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden. They should also be encouraged to expand this pilot program to beautify the entirety of Alameda, energize its residents and most importantly, offer a measure of support to its growing community of artists.

On the subject of local artists, I would like to formally congratulate the ten artists who’s designs will help to make Alameda’s Park Street an even more lovely stroll. They are…
Aside: Appologies for any missing or incorrect links. Drop me a line and I’ll be happy to make any corrections.

On the evening of Friday September 12, 2014 an official reception celebrating the 10 new pieces, and their creators, will be held at Rhythmix Cultural Works at 2513 Blanding Ave, Alameda, CA 94501. I’ll be looking forward to seeing these ten excellent pieces and many, if not all, of the other submissions that night.

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