It all began in 1997 in the East Village of downtown San Diego. Local drug dealers were using electrical boxes found on virtually every corner as makeshift offices. These urban eyesores were often covered with tagging by rival gang members. A local graphic design professor had the idea to cover them with colorful graphics and enlisted the help of her students at San Diego City College and the American Institute of Graphic Arts San Diego. Securing permission from the Centre City Development Corporation and utility companies over on hundred volunteers initially transformed the blight with powerful artwork.

The Urban Art Trail has now flowered into a massive community beautification project that includes utility boxes, murals, sidewalk poetry, mosaics, birdhouses, and benches. The utility box art has spread to other San Diego neighborhoods led by creative redevelopment districts including Hillcrest/Uptown, NorthPark and Ocean Beach with dynamic results. Neighborhood artists and children have become involved in the process of making art creating a sense of pride and ownership in local communities. Happily, the idea has been embraced by other cities in the United States and Canada.

This website was created as a resource to guide others who want to take back their neighborhoods and beautify them with art.

Urban Art Trail
Urban Art Trail Examples