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Electrical box murals add character to Redwood City

By Jon Garvin, Eliza Insley and Kai Lock

Summit Prep Editors-in-Chief

Downtown Redwood City is an ever-growing hotspot for people of all ages to gather to go see movies, get food or attend city-wide events. The downtown area has become iconic for the bustling nightlife at places such as the Fox Theatre or the busy day crowd in the square near the history museum.

To add to the aesthetic of the area, many new tall buildings have been placed to add to the urbanized feel.

Marlon Yanes’ work can be found on this Whole Foods Market.

As in all cities, stop lights are accompanied by power boxes. The city took advantage of the power boxes to add an artistic feel to the city.

Walking through downtown Redwood City, there are electrical boxes scattered throughout the area. They are painted different colors and designs, done by different local artists. The murals vary from Redwood City landmarks to the artist’s specific painting style and trademarks.

In 2014, the town launched this project to increase the beauty of the city and to discourage graffiti on the electrical boxes. The project started with the 10 most graffitied boxes and has continued to the majority of the boxes in the city.

Marlon Yanes poses with one of his electrical box murals.

Marlon Yanes was one of the many artists who participated in this project. Yanes said, “I participated in the Chalk Festival, and I met Sheila from the Arts and Parks Department here in Redwood City. And then I was on the email, so I got an email for an open call for artists. So then I went ahead and applied.”

Yanes grew up in Redwood City and has done many projects within the Redwood City community and the surrounding area. He painted a mural on a Whole Foods Market in Redwood City, along with many paintings within business buildings.

For the powerbox project, Yanes painted two power boxes. He explained, “One of them is over by Wells Fargo on Broadway, right by the Redwood City sign. That one is my friend’s dog. That’s her companion and getting older. I talked to her and then decided to do something to immortalize her companion. Then she helped me paint it. That one was more for my friend.”

Marlon Yanes holds the dog who inspired his second electrical box mural.

He also talked about his other powerbox: “The other one is the courthouse dome.” Yanes painted the power boxes in the Summer of 2016: “It only took maybe two or three nights. I had to do it at night because I was working at day during the time so I had to do it at night.”

Yanes, along with many other artists, contributed to a beautiful art project by using their skills to re-design the power boxes. This project brought a little more color to the streets of Redwood city and overall contributed to the feeling the area has.

To see more info about the colorful power boxes around Redwood City, see the video below:


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