Utility Box Beautification Program

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Call to Artists RFP

Utility Box Beautification Program CoverIn an attempt to add visual interest to the City of Manhattan Beach and under the direction of City Council, the City of Manhattan Beach and the Cultural Arts Commission are seeking proposals for artwork to be installed on utility boxes throughout the city.

The first round of this project will take place in FY 2018 – 2019.

All artists are encouraged to submit a proposal for this first round of the project. The first round is only open to artists from the South Bay Beach Cities.

Artists will receive a stipend for any artwork that is selected and installed. For more information and to apply, please read below or download the Utility Box Beautification Program Call to Artists RFP (PDF).

Call to Artists RFP for Utility Box Beautification Project

Please read and review ALL application materials including Artist Application Form before applying and/or to answer your questions.

The City of Manhattan Beach is issuing a Call to Artists for Artists interested in creating artwork for utility boxes throughout the City of Manhattan Beach. Submitted applications will be reviewed and selected by the City’s Cultural Arts Commission with final approval by the City Council.

The Utility Box Beautification Project, is a public art program designed to transform common traffic control utility boxes into distinctive works of art, creating a more vibrant, attractive cityscape. This program is under the direction of City Council and is supervised and facilitated by the Cultural Arts Commission and City Staff. The program celebrates local artists and their artwork, acts as a deterrent to graffiti, and involves the City and County residents in contributing to the beautification of the city.

In multiple stages of execution, the City of Manhattan Beach will select and install artwork on existing utility boxes throughout the city. The original artwork can be designed/created in any 2D medium and will be printed on and installed in vinyl or similar material.

For this phase 1, 12+ boxes located in different sections of the City have been selected.

For this phase 1, only artists from South Bay Beach Cities will be eligible to apply with preference given to those living, working or attending classes in the City of Manhattan Beach.


A. Eligibility

  1. All artists residing, working or attending classes in the Cities of Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach or Hermosa Beach are eligible.
  2. For this round one, residents, students and those working in the City of Manhattan Beach will receive preferential acceptance status.
  3. Entries must be the original design and artwork of the entrant and suitable for viewing by all ages.

B. Artist Stipend

  1. Artists will be awarded a $500 stipend, this is inclusive of all artist fees, supplies, and time spent. Upon selection of the design and execution of the Artist Agreement, artists will receive an initial disbursement of funds at 50% ($250), with the remaining 50% ($250) paid upon completion of the project.
  2. Completion of the project must be verified by the Cultural Arts Commission and City Council before funds are disbursed.

C. City Responsibilities

  1. City will be provide artist with detailed specs of the utility box assigned to each artist.
  2. City will install the selected designs as a vinyl (or similar) wrap on each box.
  3. City is responsible for maintenance of artwork.
  4. The City owns all installed artwork and reserves the right to copy, reproduce and adjust the artwork as it sees fit, in perpetuity.
  5. The artist retains the copyright of the artwork.
  6. City reserves the right to remove, replace or adjust the artwork as necessary for the duration of the project and/or the artwork.

D. Artist Responsibilities

  1. It is the responsibility of the artist to submit a complete application, by the due date listed at the top of the application, as well as to include all required materials.
  2. Artist will be responsible for creating artwork in a format suitable for print on vinyl.
  3. Artist will be responsible for working directly with the printer/installer of vinyl to assist in adjusting all artwork, files and necessary materials for printing and installation on the utility boxes.
  4. In the event that the Artist is selected to create artwork for a location with more than one box, it is the Artist’s responsibility to create additional artwork to compliment the original design. All artwork created and installed in one location will be paid for by the original stipend
  5. The artist retains the copyright of the artwork.

E. Description and Location of Utility Boxes

  1. The dimensions of the boxes vary at each location. Some locations have more than one box and artists should include all boxes at a single site in their design.
  2. The specific sites and information about the boxes on each site can be found on the Location Map.
  3. Artist will be assigned a box, unless the artist specifically requests a location. The City cannot guarantee that the requested location will be assigned to the Artist.

F. General Guidelines

  1. Art should be visible from a distance.
  2. Art cannot restrict any vents or airflow through the box(es), this will be accommodated in the installation process of the vinyl print of artwork.
  3. Any nameplates, keyholes, ID numbers, and windows will be cut out and left uncovered.
  4. Installation will begin only after design approval and completion of all required liability and contract forms.
  5. Artwork is a long-term installation and becomes the property of the City of Manhattan Beach.
  6. Artists must complete the project within a stipulated time frame. On acceptance, a time frame will be established.

G. Artwork Themes

  1. All artwork must be original, created by the applying artist(s) for this project.
  2. Creativity and innovation of design are encouraged.
  3. Artwork theme is encouraged but is not required to:

    a. Represent various aspects of the City’s iconic history, past and present
    b. Reflect the specific neighborhood or area of the box location, for historical images of Manhattan Beach, please feel free to visit the Manhattan Beach Historical Society website

  4. Artwork must not contain

    a. Political statements or persons
    b. Religious references, symbols or numbers
    c. Copyrighted or trademarked material
    d. Corporate or organizational branding

H. Application Requirements

  1. Print, complete and sign an application form (PDF), and:

    a. Include a detailed description outlining your design theme. Indicate if your theme has specific relevance to the City of Manhattan Beach history, culture, heritage or geography; or to a specific location. This must be attached to the application. Please limit description to one page.
    b. On the application form (PDF), you may request a particular box location, although there is no guarantee any artist will be assigned their requested location.
    c. Utility Box Splayed View Template with TextCreate full color, detailed concept drawings. Please include 3 views for each design submitted: 1 splayed view, and either 2 detail views, or 1 detail view and 1 ‘in place’ view. Use the template provided (PDF) or create and use a similar splayed view template. Show each side and top of the largest box. Boxes vary in size and shape, so be prepared to accommodate your design to the specs of your assigned box. Some sites have a second box. If applicable, provide a drawing for that box which compliments your main design.
    d. There is no limit on how many designs an artist may submit, however each design MUST be accompanied by its own application (PDF) filled out in full with all required information and images.
    e. Any incomplete applications (PDF) may be subject to dismissal from the process.

  2. Provide samples of previous work on a similar scale*:

    a. Provide 3 to 5 images of similar work you have completed in the past.
    b. This must include images of at least 3 separate projects with up to 2 details.
    c. Projects may be other than utility boxes, but must be similar in size and scope. Examples included must demonstrate the artist’s ability to work on a large-scale outdoor project completed in digital media such as the printed vinyl used for this initiative. For example: billboards, murals, auto wrap etc.

    All images must be in jpg or pdf format and labeled as follows: ArtistLastNameArtistFirstInitialSample1.jpg/pdf.

    For example, Jo Smith would label his/her sample files as follows: SmithJSample1.jpg, SmithJSample2.jpg

    *NOTE: Student applicants under the age of 18 are exempt from this requirement and need NOT submit previous work

  3. Designs are accepted ONLY in the following format:

    a. jpg or pdf files of full color scanned or computer generated art created using the template provided as a guide. Images should be between 150 to 180 dpi. Save the files as follows: ArtistLastNameArtistFirstInitialSample1.jpg/pdf. For example, Jo Smith would label his/her submission design files as follows: SmithJSubmission1.jpg, SmithJSubmission2.jpg etc.
    b. Be prepared to provide ALL artwork to printer in Ai, Eps or Psd format for printing on vinyl (or similar medium).

I. Submission of Entry

  1. Complete and sign the Artist Application Form (PDF).
  2. Attach a detailed description of your design. Please limit to one page.
  3. Attach samples of past work, 3 to 5 images of at least 3 artworks, in jpg or pdf format.
  4. Attach 3 images of your proposed design, submitted in jpg or pdf format.
  5. Email application to Utility Box Submissions Committee
  6. You MUST include subject: Utility Box RFP Submission Your Name
  7. Only completed, emailed applications will be accepted and reviewed. No printed out/physical/paper applications will be accepted.
  8. All applications must be received by the date/time at the top of the application.

J. Selection Process and Criteria

  1. Designs will be reviewed and selected by the City of Manhattan Beach Cultural Arts Commission and City Staff.
  2. All applications will be pre-screened by staff to assure completion of application, adherence to guidelines, appropriateness of subject matter and quality of submission before being presented to the Cultural Arts Commission for review.
  3. The Cultural Arts Commission will submit recommendations for final approval to the City Council. All decisions are final.

Map of Available Utility Boxes

Map of Availalble Utility Boxes
Map of Available Utility Boxes (PDF)


If you have any questions or need any additional information, please contact Cultural Arts Supervisor, Eilen R. Stewart via email.

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