Inside Cal Poly Logo

Art Outside of the Box

Utility Boxes

Odds are, you’ve probably never noticed the utility boxes scattered around campus. In fact, what even is a utility box? They’re those big gray boxes that store cables and other equipment needed to power different functions like traffic lights. They are by no means a beautiful sight to see, but that’s about to change thanks to Cal Poly’s Facilities Management Development department (FMD).

This fall, Facilities Management and Development is inviting all Cal Poly Community members to apply for the opportunity to make their mark with the Utility Box Art program. This is a campus beautification project where student, staff and faculty will have the chance to display their artwork on one of the select utility boxes. You might have seen this type of art before as the Utility Box Art program is a nationwide trend that is designed to bring art into public places.

In addition to the utility boxes, there are also large above-ground pipe features, such as backflow preventers available for art to be displayed on. Proposals for one of 16 utility boxes or pipe features will be due Nov. 29. Winners will then be notified in mid-December and will be given a $250 Amazon gift card as a stipend and will be provided white paint as a base color. Once the artists are notified it’s time to get painting!

The initial 16 utility boxes and pipe features are located on Grand Ave and Mustang Way, which are some of most popular and highest-trafficked locations on campus. As a university who largely supports hands-on learning experiences, this is a great program for all aspiring and experienced artists who want to make an impact on the community.

The hope is that this project will bring a bit of creativity to Cal Poly’s campus in a way that will give the university a unique identity. Art can be very moving and inspirational hence why this project is receiving so much support. If you would like to apply, please email your proposal to The university can’t wait to see what you come up with!

More information about the process and application requirements is available here.