Think around the box

Capitol Box Art Project

photo by mark hanzlik

If you've visited the Capitol Park neighborhood of Sacramento recently, you may have noticed a transformation of sorts. No, it's not the wrecking ball tearing down parts of Downtown Plaza at Fifth and L streets. Rather, something a bit more subtle is brightening the urban landscape on various street corners.

Those old, nondescript grayish electrical boxes have been converted to art displays as part of the Capitol Box Art Project, which exhibits a diverse collection of designs from 20 local artists. There will be a total of 31 utility boxes upon completion, all wrapped with high-gloss vinyl, according to the Capitol Area Development Authority, which organized the project in tandem with the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission.

The vibrant boxes bring a pop-art look to Sac's urban core—and in most locations provide a visual statement that is hard to miss.

A number of Sacramento-area artists have their work displayed on multiple boxes, including Janine Mapurunga, Jim Piskoti, Melissa Uroff, Bryan Valenzuela and Laura Caron (whose work is pictured above).

The goal of the project is to promote the city's art scene and, in the process, cover up years of graffiti and discourage fresh tagging.

Visibility of the art boxes varies depending on adjacent business signage and the amount of additional street-corner structures operated by the city. But even in the worst display conditions, the box makeovers create a more interesting environment and showcase local art to those who may never step into a gallery. Find locations (a printable map is available for download) and learn more at