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Be an Artist

About the Program

The City and the Commission are seeking artists to showcase their work on a Pilot Program to paint up to 10 utility boxes located throughout San Rafael. The goals of the program are to enhance the beauty and vibrancy of San Rafael, deter unsightly graffiti on utility boxes, and bring art to unexpected places.

Artists will receive a stipend up to $400 per utility box for their work.

Call for Artists

Eligibility: This “Call for Artists” is open to all San Rafael and surrounding communities adult and student practicing artists. The Call is also open to Art Teachers that are interested in mentoring a group of students. All entries must be an original design and artwork of the entrant and must be suitable for viewing by all ages.

Description and Location of Utility Boxes: The City’s Utility Boxes vary in size, but typically they are 4 feet, 7 inches tall; 3 feet, 2½ inches wide; and 2 feet, 2 inches deep. The boxes are currently gray or brown and will require several sequential applications of paint to complete the project:

  1. Sand (done by City)
  2. Prime
  3. Paint with acrylics
  4. Finishing with anti-graffiti clear coat (done by City)

The boxes are located throughout San Rafael, including major thoroughfares that are visible to pedestrian, automobile, and other passing traffic.

Artwork Opportunity: The proposed Utility Box Mural art must be acrylic paint and cover all four sides and the top of the box. The art should enliven the area, transform the street and reflect the neighborhood or area where the utility box is located. Due to the location of the boxes, the art should be visible from a distance; therefore you may choose to utilize bold colors and designs.

Additional consideration can be given to a project that showcases San Rafael’s cultural diversity, historic heritage, or acknowledges a key activity that takes place in the area. Artists can submit more than one concept for the same location.

The art cannot restrict any vents or airflow through the boxes, and or any locks or handles. City maintenance crews must be able to fully access the components inside the box at all times. An anti-graffiti clear coat to protect the art upon completion will be applied by the City.

The artist cannot begin the installation on the selected utility box until all liability and contract forms are completed and submitted to the City, and the design has been approved.

If you are under the age of 18, a parent or guardian is required to sign all forms.

Entries must not defame or invade the rights of any person, living or dead. The artwork is a long-term installation and will become the property of the City of San Rafael.

A plaque with the name of the art sponsor will be affixed to the finished painted box. The artist will be consulted as to the location of the plaque.

Selection Process

Artist Selection Process: The selection process will consist of:

  1. Review of artists’ submitted sample work by the Public Art Committee which includes City staff, and community stakeholders such as members of the Economic Development subcommittee, Chamber of Commerce and Business Improvement District.
  2. Review and selection of utility box locations.
  3. Notification to artist of committee selection and decision.

Selection Criteria: When making the selection for the Utility Box Mural Project, the following will be considered: Artistic excellence, innovation, and originality.

  • Does the art meet the goals of the project?
  • Enhance and transform the area?
  • Relate to the area where the utility box is located?
  • Showcase the City’s cultural diversity, historic heritage, or a key activity?

If you are selected to complete a Utility Box Mural: All artists must sign a City of San Rafael liability release and complete agreement before beginning work on the selected utility box. The installation of the work must be completed by August 1st, 2018. The time frame required to complete the work in a timely manner will be discussed with Public Works prior to commencing. Artists will receive up to a $400 stipend per utility box. You must notify the City when your project is completed.


Please contact Earl Boisclair, Project Coordinator at or call 415.993.9797

Utility box art
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