PAL mural

In this April 2018 Sentinel file photo, students from Woodrow Wilson Junior High School paint a sunflower on the sign for the Hanford Police Activities League.

HANFORD — The time for spring cleaning is just around the corner, and a little color just might be what downtown Hanford needs to spruce things up a bit.

Main Street Hanford would like to “Utilize the Power of Art” in its revitalization efforts by creating a community-driven art project to paint utility boxes throughout downtown Hanford.

Executive Director Michelle Brown said the city’s Parks and Recreation Department reached out to Main Street recently with the idea of utility box art and asked if the organization would spearhead the project.

Brown said she had been thinking about the idea of public art ever since she started working at Main Street Hanford a couple years ago. She said she has toured the murals in other towns and wanted to bring the same color to Hanford.

“Having the city’s support right off the bat is really important and crucial, so I was super excited about it,” Brown said. “We decided to jump right in.”

Mayor Sue Sorensen was especially supportive of the project.

While visiting the Pismo area recently, Sorensen said she saw beautiful artwork on some of the utility boxes there.

She mentioned the idea of art on utility boxes to Alvin Dias, parks superintendent, and said he loved the idea as well. Dias even came up with the slogan for the project, “Utilize the Power of Art”.

After walking throughout downtown Hanford, Brown and Dias designated 24 boxes to be painted. While a few boxes are small, Brown said said most of them are medium to large in size.

Right now, Main Street Hanford is asking artists to submit their art ideas for the boxes. A link on the organization’s website allows anyone to download a template where they can draw an example of artwork they would paint on a box.

So far there have been a handful of great submissions, but Brown said she would really love to get more in order to drive the project forward.

“We have some really talented artists in Hanford,” she said. “I’m hoping they’ll come forward and submit for the project.”

Not only will the project be fun, Brown said she believes the art will rev up pedestrian traffic and lead to revitalization in the area and a more vibrant downtown.

“Adding some color and some art and having it be community driven is exciting,” Brown said.

Sorensen agreed, saying not only would the project showcase great artists, it would also make the city more attractive and highlight the pride people have in their community.

Main Street has formed a committee to not only review the artwork, but also figure out other aspects of the project.

Since the project is still in the very early stages, Brown said funding and a budget is still unknown and the committee is discussing if the artists will be paid or not. They also need to figure out how to maintain the art and keep the project going in the future.

Moving this project forward may also lend way for other art projects to be done city-wide, like murals or art on fire hydrants.

Both Brown and Sorensen said art makes an incredible addition to any city and they would love to see more murals in Hanford.

“It’s awesome to see public art and it always catches my eye, whether it’s small or on a large scale,” Brown said. “I’m hoping that in the future we’ll have both small scale and large scale public art.”

Brown said she is eager to look at all of the artwork and get started on the project as soon as possible.

“I think people will love it,” she said.

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2423 or jzavala@hanfordsentinel.com

News Reporter

News reporter for The Sentinel

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