Capitol Box Art in Sacramento, California

A stylized, psychedelic interpretation of a skeleton adorns a rectangular utility box in Downtown Sacramento.

This radiant box is at 3rd St. + Capital Ave. | Photo by @capitolboxart, art by @rigotheartist

Have you ever puttered around the Grid, whether on an afternoon stroll or a bike-powered excursion, and noticed that some of the area’s utility boxes are adorned with colors, shapes, faces, and other wondrous things? We have, too.

Turns out, the Sacramento-based Capitol Area Development Authority (or CADA) kickstarted the idea of dropping art onto utility boxes in 2013 as a way to cover graffiti + beautify our city.

The public agency named the project “Capitol Box Art” + put out a call to local artists for four-sided designs that could be printed onto vinyl wraps to adorn the utility boxes. In 2014, the first round of work was installed at 28 street corners across Downtown and some parts of Midtown.

For these installations, CADA promises its artists three-years of maintenance, but once that time is up, the space may be offered to a different artist for a new design.

However, the project remained in darkness until 2020 — when the Downtown Sacramento Partnership and the city’s Arts + Culture wing helped CADA revive the project. With help from some municipal friends, the project awarded 60 artists the opportunity to show off their work in the Grid.

While we encourage you to can check out an interactive map of all the current box art designs, we wanted to highlight a few works that really stand out to us:

Curious about the vinyl wraps? According to the project’s website, these vinyl coverings are “weather-durable,” and have a lifespan of up to 10 years. The material is the same type used on the side of vehicles.

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