Main Street Hanford and Hanford Parks & Recreation would like to “Utilize the Power of Art” in their efforts to revitalize downtown Hanford by creating a community driven Public Art Program. This Saturday, June 22nd beginning at 9:00am, artists will begin painting utility boxes throughout downtown Hanford. You can visit downtown, walk around, meet artists, and watch the program come to life. This Saturday there will be approximately ten artists painting designated utility boxes. The boxes vary in size from 7 feet tall, to 2 feet tall. Artists will be paid for their work, depending on the size of the box. “The public art program is intended to enliven our community, encourage foot traffic and provoke conversations,” said Michelle Brown, Executive Director of Main Street Hanford.
Artists from Urbanist Collective will be guiding Hanford’s artists throughout the process. Urbanist Collective is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the professional expansion of urban art within the community through art education, demonstration, and outreach. Urbanists embrace the concept of redefining public space, with the addition of art and public engagement. Joel Martin is the go-to artist for Hanford’s Utility Box Program. Joel is working closely with the artists, as it will be their first time painting on a utility box. Michelle Brown and Joel Martin are working together to organize this Saturday’s Utility Box Paint Day. Urbanists have done the utility box program in other cities and is bring their knowledge to Hanford.
In April, Michelle Brown of Main Street Hanford sat down with the Hanford City Council in a Study Session to get permission to have the utility boxes painted. The council fully supported the idea and art submissions have been flooding into the Main Street Hanford office. “It’s very difficult to choose what art goes on what boxes; especially because we received about 70 artist submissions. There are a lot of talented artists in Hanford.” Brown said. Hanford Parks & Recreation have played a major role in making this project come to fruition. Alvin Dias, Hanford Parks Superintendent and Main Street Hanford staff worked together to designate the 25 city-owned boxes to be painted. Brown put together a committee including Alvin Dias (Parks & Recreation), Bruce Kane (Kings Art Center), Jennifer Butts (Artist), Robb Robbins (Board Member), Jim Castleman (Board Member), and Brittany Parreira (Main Street Hanford staff). The committee has met several times over the last five months to bring the utility box project to life.
Main Street Hanford and Hanford Parks & Recreation hosted Food Truck Night on June 1st and was able to fundraise over $5,000 for the project costs. The total cost of the project will be approximately $6,000. Main Street Hanford will budget $3,000 per year to maintain the artists’ work. Brown is hopeful that the Utility Box Art is only the beginning for public art in downtown Hanford. “My ultimate goal is to have a public art program that includes utility boxes, fire hydrant art, murals and more.” Brown said.
Please visit downtown Hanford this Saturday, June 22nd and meet the artists. Please follow Main Street Hanford and Hanford Parks & Recreation on Instagram and Facebook to learn more about both organizations. Also, visit www.mainstreethanford.com/publicart to learn more about public art in downtown Hanford.