Creating Practical Low-Maintenance Public Art

When the Pasadena Playhouse District Association decided to embrace public art, the resulting utility box covers and crosswalk paintings were created with an eye toward aesthetics and practicality. It’s an approach that can work in any community.

The utility box covers are done with vinyl wraps so that, “if graffiti or something else happens and we want to freshen up the art, all we have to do is replace the vinyl instead of hiring the artist to come back to put paint to the utility box,” says Erlinda Romo, executive director of the association.

And the crosswalk art project “Moonwalk” is done with stencils, so that when paint needs to be refreshed, a road painting crew can do the job.

“A year later we’ve only had to replace one panel of the utility wraps, and it worked out as anticipated — much cheaper to replace one than to do everything over,” says Romo. “And we’ve also refreshed the paint on crosswalks by hiring the same kind of company that paints the traffic demarcation lines. You don’t want to install something that has significant maintenance issues that would be very costly to either repair or replace.”

The full article appeared in our print edition. To always get the full story, read Downtown Idea Exchange.

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