SOURCE: Playhouse District Association

Playhouse District Association

August 10, 2011 09:07 ET

San Gabriel Valley's First Vinyl Utility Box Art to Hit Pasadena

Utility Boxes in the Playhouse District to Receive a Makeover

PASADENA, CA--(Marketwire - Aug 10, 2011) - A public artwork installation on utility boxes will wrap its way into the Playhouse District. Five utility boxes along Colorado Boulevard will be transformed into distinctive works of art, paying homage to the freedom of speech. The installation by multidisciplinary artist Susan Silton titled Utility will be on display beginning September 12th.

The Playhouse District commissioned the installation to highlight the rich culture of the District and to bring art into public space. "The addition of the text-based art on the utility boxes is a celebration of the arts in the Playhouse District, and enhances the District's cultural niche. The Playhouse District Association is excited to be working with Susan Silton and is looking forward to bringing other art initiatives into the public realm within the near future," says Erlinda Romo, the Playhouse District Association's Executive Director.

The commissioned work, titled Utility, is a subtle reminder of the privilege of freedom of expression. By incorporating the historic graphics of agitprop, Silton explores the strategy of using agitation and propaganda to influence public opinion. To do this, Silton wrapped each utility box with a brightly colored typographic treatment made of vinyl and incorporated classic quotes pertaining to freedom of speech by American leaders George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglass, Chief Justice Potter Stewart and Eleanor Roosevelt. The selected quotes were then juxtaposed with a seminal photographic image taken in 1964 by photographer Chris Kjobech. The photograph is from the collection of the Oakland Museum of California.

The image is of Mario Savio, a key member in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, leading thousands of students in protest of the university's ban of on-campus political activities. His memorable speech made on that occasion asserts "that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"

The utility boxes are all accessible by car and foot along Colorado Boulevard at the southeast corners of the intersections of Los Robles, Oakland, Madison, El Molino and Oak Knoll.

Pasadena will be the first city in the San Gabriel Valley to utilize vinyl wrap application as an art medium, and the second city to use utility boxes to display art.

For more information on the Playhouse District Association's utility box art project, contact Josefina Mora at or 626.744.0340.

About the Playhouse District Association
The Playhouse District Association (PDA) is a California non-profit formed in 1995, which serves to enhance and promote the Playhouse District as the historic, cultural, and thriving commercial heart of Pasadena.

About Susan Silton

Susan Silton is a Los Angeles based artist who uses a combination of traditional and new media to make art for a variety of unconventional contexts including billboards, the Internet, the United States Postal Service, performances in public venues and as architectural interventions. In Pasadena, Silton is known for her 2007-2008 public art work Inside Out, in which she wrapped the exterior of the Pasadena Museum of California Art in a striped industrial tarp modeled after fumigation tents commonly seen in Los Angeles. Her work has also been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions internationally, including at LACMA, Los Angeles; SFMOMA, San Francisco; SITE Santa Fe; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; and Allanz Zeignierderiassung, Berlin. Silton is the recipient of awards and fellowships from numerous organizations including the MacDowell Colony, Art Matters Foundation, Banff Centre for the Arts, the Durfee Foundation, Clockshop Foundation, Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Los Angeles; and the California Community Foundation.

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