Utility Box Artists
The Utility Box Public Art Pilot Program is a beautification initiative designed to add to the vibrancy of the San Pablo Avenue corridor. Community artists are invited to participate in this program to help transform drab and unsightly utility boxes into attractive and captivating works of art that will enhance the beauty of the City’s streets and sidewalks. This program was paid for by the Arts in Public Places Program, which requires certain development projects to contribute 1% of construction costs to public art. The Commission is responsible for acquisition, funding, and placement of public art in the City on public property with these restricted funds.
The artwork of Martial Yapo, Jesse White, and Ricardo Cerezo, were approved on January 25, 2021 as the finalists of 2021 Utility Box Public Art Pilot Program.
Introducing Martial Yapo
"OUR LIVES MATTER" located at San Pablo Avenue/Conlon Avenue across from Home Depot and Red Onion
Artist Description of Artwork: The kid is standing proud and assertive, next to the black American flag and tells the world that "Our lives matter." It is to send a positive message for the young minority that they are important. American kids are the future of this country and whatever race and background, they should be considered as essential for the future of the nation.
Introducing Jesse White
"We Are Diverse, We Are Kind, We Are Resilient, We Are Fierce" located at San Pablo Avenue/Ohlone Greenway (next to Baxter Creek Gateway Park Sign)
Artist Description of Artwork: Inspired from wild plant and tree life, native to El Cerrito and the surrounding Bay Area, to reflect the diversity, kindness, resiliency, and fierceness of the El Cerrito community. Designed for children, as each of the four box sides shows a different child's face. Each face, which together represent the diverse demographics of El Cerrito, is surrounded by a different tree or plant: redwood, coastal fern, yarrow, and California poppy. Beautifully hand lettered words add a powerful message to each design: "We are diverse like a redwood forest; We are kind like the coastal fern; We are resilient like the yarrow plant; We are fierce like the California poppy." By pairing local plants and trees with affirmations of identity, a public work of art was created that both celebrates the identities of the children in El Cerrito and also prompts their curiosity and discovery of the natural world.
Introducing Ricardo Cerezo
"FACING HERE NOW" located at Knott Avenue/San Pablo Avenue next to Honda Dealership
| Artist Description of Artwork: Life is a lesson, you learn it when going through. The diverse group in this mural portraits younger generations looking up to a promising but challenging future, while older ones are looking toward their past actions and memories. Using connected dots and lines, it references the connection we all have in our community, wanting to be emotionally embraced, feeling heard, mentally understood and supported by another human being. The purpose of this mural is to deepen the moment we are living, inspire change, build trust. What do you want your life to be about?|