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Featured Image: A utility box on Pacific Coast Highway and Niguel Road is adorned with art that Arts and Culture Commissioner Ashley Keene designed and titled “Arches over the Ocean.” Photo: Breeana Greenberg 

By Breeana Greenberg

The Dana Point Arts and Culture Commission will complete Phase Two of its Utility Box Public Art Program, as the final box is set to be replaced and wrapped within the next couple of months.

According to the Arts and Culture Commission, the Utility Box Public Art Program was launched in mid-2020 to contribute to the vitality and attractiveness of Dana Point streetscapes. The commission chose artists to showcase their work and beautify nine utility boxes throughout Dana Point in Phase One and 14 utility boxes in Phase Two.

The art designs cover all four sides and the top of the utility boxes, and are printed on vinyl.

One of the last utility boxes to be wrapped was on Pacific Coast Highway and Niguel Road. Commissioner Ashley Keene designed the art for the box, entitled “Arches over the Ocean,” which was wrapped around Thanksgiving.

“Arches Over the Ocean” was inspired by the arches that were left over from an unfinished hotel in the late 1920s, when construction was abandoned because of The Great Depression.

“Over the course of the years of growing up in Dana Point, I would go over to that walkway and watch the sunset,” Keene said. “You can walk through along the bluff over to Amber Lantern … and I’ve just seen so many beautiful sunsets or even foggy days, I have so many special moments in that area. So, I just figured it was one of those Dana Point scenes that I had to paint, because it meant a lot to me and I know a lot to other people, too.”

This isn’t the first utility box that Keene has designed. She designed artwork for the utility box on Coast Highway and Capo Surfside Inn, titled “The Salty Afterglow.” She also painted a utility box for San Clemente before, but preferred the vinyl wrapping done with Dana Point’s project, as opposed to directly painting on the utility box.

“It’s easier for them to put it up, it’s a little more affordable for the community and easier for me,” Keene said. “And then if it fades, you can rewrap it. So, I really liked that aspect of it and felt like they were probably able to get more diverse artists and participators doing the vinyl wrapping instead of just directly painting onto it.”

Keene added that she felt honored to be a part of the public art program.

“I feel like we’re so blessed to live in a community that really does care about arts and culture,” Keene said. “I’m blessed that I can be a part of it on the Commission now, but even before that, I felt like you don’t always see cities that want to bring out local artists or do these utility boxes … and it’s just nice to see people caring and enjoying it.”

Another utility box, on Mariner Drive and Niguel Road, was recently wrapped with art that Gina Hsiang designed and titled “Harbor Air.”

One final utility box, on Pacific Coast Highway and Monarch Bay Plaza, awaits replacement before it can be wrapped in vinyl artwork.

The utility boxes in Phase One can be found at these locations:    

  1. PCH and Crown Valley Parkway
  2. Stonehill and Del Obispo
  3. Victoria Boulevard and Doheny Park Road
  4. Del Obispo and Village Road
  5. Del Prado Avenue and Golden Lantern
  6. Park Lantern and Dana Point Harbor Drive
  7. Coast Highway and Palisades Drive
  8. Coast Highway and Capo Surfside Inn
  9. Pacific Coast Highway and Violet Lantern

The utility boxes in Phase Two can be found at these locations:

  1. Stonehill Drive and Blue Lantern
  2. Del Prado and Copper Lantern
  3. Stonehill and Niguel Road
  4. Golden Lantern and Selva
  5. Pacific Coast Highway and Ruby Lantern
  6. Golden Lantern and Acapulco
  7. Pacific Coast Highway and Malaga
  8. Pacific Coast Highway and Del Prado
  9. Stonehill and Selva
  10. Golden Lantern and Terra Vista
  11. Stonehill and Palo Alto
  12. Pacific Coast Highway and Niguel Road
  13. Mariner Drive and Niguel Road
  14. Pacific Coast Highway and Monarch Bay Plaza

Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at bgreenberg@picketfencemedia.com

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