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Best of 2003: Best Neighborhood Beautification Project

Uptown Utility Artbox Project

The Utility Artbox murals scattered throughout Hillcrest, North Park, and the Uptown District really act as "anti-graffiti" landmarks. Most taggers won't deface the murals, probably because they recognize the similarity in the two art forms and the man-hours required to create them. The project, conceived by local graphic designer and City College alum Rick Newlin, was inspired by the now famous BenchART project in Zurich, Switzerland. There, a team of artists took the city's dirty, dilapidated street benches and reconstructed them into beautiful works of art. Here in San Diego, Newlin, along with friends Jose Serrano, Stephen Morris, Raphael Lopez, and a host of prominent local artists, saw blank canvases in the normally green and gray sidewalk eyesores that house the switches, fuses, and cables for streetlights, stoplights, and cable connections. One that gets a lot of attention is "Cow-mouflage," on Sixth Avenue between University and Robinson. Adding to the project's good feeling, the Uptown Partnership hired the Alpha Project (which helps the city's homeless by giving them odd jobs in exchange for food and spending money) to clean and prep the boxes for the artists.

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Fall equinox, smoggiest days, Chinese flame trees, Saturn and Jupiter near moon

Natural San Diego, September 21-28

Uptown Utility Artbox Project

The Utility Artbox murals scattered throughout Hillcrest, North Park, and the Uptown District really act as "anti-graffiti" landmarks. Most taggers won't deface the murals, probably because they recognize the similarity in the two art forms and the man-hours required to create them. The project, conceived by local graphic designer and City College alum Rick Newlin, was inspired by the now famous BenchART project in Zurich, Switzerland. There, a team of artists took the city's dirty, dilapidated street benches and reconstructed them into beautiful works of art. Here in San Diego, Newlin, along with friends Jose Serrano, Stephen Morris, Raphael Lopez, and a host of prominent local artists, saw blank canvases in the normally green and gray sidewalk eyesores that house the switches, fuses, and cables for streetlights, stoplights, and cable connections. One that gets a lot of attention is "Cow-mouflage," on Sixth Avenue between University and Robinson. Adding to the project's good feeling, the Uptown Partnership hired the Alpha Project (which helps the city's homeless by giving them odd jobs in exchange for food and spending money) to clean and prep the boxes for the artists.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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