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In downtown Berkeley, new crop of utility-box artworks

Streets Alive!, a downtown Berkeley beautification project, showed off 11 new pieces of utility-box art during a tour Friday. Among them, a new work at Oxford and University, sponsored by the Chancellor's Community Partnership Fund.

utility boxes

At the busy intersection of Oxford Street and University Avenue in downtown Berkeley, a drab utility box now serves as canvas for a verdant image of Tilden Park. “Escape to Jewell Lake,” by photographer Janet Delaney, is the last of seven such boxes sponsored by the Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund; all are part of Earth Island Institute’s ongoing Streets Alive! project.

utility box art

“Escape to Jewell Lake” aims to lure Berkeley pedestrians to Tilden Park.

“I want to lure you out of the busy city center and back to nature,” writes Delaney, a teacher in the campus’s architecture department, of her piece — one of 11 showcased Friday during the third Streets Alive! tour of beautified utility boxes. The downtown works feature local artists’ takes on the theme of sustainability.

Just down the street from “Escape to Jewell Lake,” at the west edge of Oxford and Center, stands a utility-box design by Laura Nagel and sponsored by Whole Foods Market’s Berkeley store.

The tour began in Civic Center Park with “Secret Garden,” by artist Katie McCann, featuring local wildlife and plants, courtesy of The Ecology Center and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner.

On the Streets Alive! website, you’ll find descriptions, thumbnail images and street locations of all the artworks to date. For a comprehensive guide to Streets Alive! utility boxes, see this map.

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