DTLA’s South Park Adds Utility Boxes to Outdoor Public Art Gallery
Local Artist Blends Science & Art to Tell Neighborhood Story
July 30, 2015

Los Angeles, CA (July 2015) The South Park Business Improvement District (BID) and the Do Art Foundation are pleased to announce a new utility box series, the next step in a curated Public Art Initiative to enrich and enhance the cultural vitality of the South Park neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles. The utility boxes, which will feature the abstract microscopic photography of local artist, Sheri Neva, will publicize this month. All photographs that appear on the utility boxes are from the South Park district and reflect the neighborhood’s unique qualities.

The project derives from L.A. City Councilmember José Huizar’s laudable Council District 14 Utility Art Box project, which has so far resulted in transforming more than 100 utility boxes districtwide into creative canvases. With the Councilmember’s support, the South Park BID and Do Art organized one artist to paint a unique element of the neighborhood on each of the 11 utility boxes, as part of the broader strategic art plan to cultivate a powerful and consistent district identity.

“Public art is a critical component of a robust urban environment and Los Angeles is home to come of the world’s most talented artists,” said Councilmember Huizar. “I am thrilled to see the South Park BID and Do Art Foundation taking our original concept to the next level and utilizing public art as a place-making tool that identities DTLA’s South Park as a growing, vibrant and arts-appreciative community.”

The South Park BID and the Do Art Foundation, led by Executive Director Jessica Lall and Founder/CEO Carmen Zella respectively, set out to engage the community in the utility box artist selection process. South Park convened several meetings with district stakeholders to establish a direction and engaged the community with a public contest. The contest drew in nearly 70 submissions from regional artists and the community voted amongst the 10 finalists.

“With each public art project, we have the opportunity to showcase the South Park neighborhood in a new way and cultivate a dialogue between stakeholders,” said Lall. “The result is a distinctive public gallery that residents, business owners and visitors can enjoy and call their own.”

Thanks to her intriguing microstructural and South Park-inspired compositions, Sheri Neva was selected as the winner.

Los Angeles-based, Neva plays with the intersection of art and science by magnifying ordinary objects 200 to 100,000 times through a scanning electron microscope. The result is a micrograph image, an eye-catching display of patterns, textures, and colors. In highlighting the everyday objects that decorate the South Park neighborhood, for example, salt granules from a local restaurant and a fuzzy leaf from one of the trees bordering Hope St., Neva’s work inspires us to take a moment to explore and appreciate South Park’s liveliness.

“My inspiration for the project came from the neighborhood itself. There was so much movement and growth that I wanted to capture in a way that no one else had before,” said Neva. “I am thrilled to have been selected by South Park to leave my mark on its ever-changing community.”

The utility box project adds a new dimension to South Park’s outdoor public gallery, which already includes 7 dynamic murals, each capturing the action and evolution of the neighborhood in their own fashion, and featured at the Google Street Art Project in March of this year. Most recently, in recognition of the 2015 Special Olympic World Games, artists Kent Twitchell and CRYPTIK have installed murals on Hope Street between 10th and 11th and on 1248 S. Figueroa St.

“The importance of public art cannot be emphasized enough. It unites people and communities,” said Zella. “We’ve been working with the South Park BID to release 7 murals over the course of the past 10 months, and are excited to be taking the next step in our public art partnership.”

The utility boxes span several city blocks in the South Park neighborhood. They can be found scattered throughout Figueroa St., Flower St., Hope St., and Grand Ave.

The BID, in conjunction with Do Art and the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, will be hosting the first ever art tour in South Park featuring select artists on Tuesday, August 18th from 5 – 8pm at the corner of Hope St and 12th St. to commemorate the BID’s 10-year anniversary.

For more information, please visit: https://southpark.la or www.doartfoundation.org/events.


The South Park Business Improvement District (BID) is managed by the South Park Stakeholders Group, a coalition of residents, property owners, and business who are deeply committed to the ongoing improvement of the district. Since 2005, the South Park BID has worked to make South Park safer, cleaner and more vibrant for the people who live, work and visit South Park.

For more information, visit www.southpark.la

@SouthParkLA ‪#‎SouthParkLA‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ #SPDoesArt‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Do Art Foundation is an arts organization focused on the promotion and creation of work visible in the public landscape. Recognizing the need for artistic productions to create important humanitarian cultural conversations, Do Art Foundation facilitates projects that inspire creative expression within our society. They are a registered non-profit that answers the need of art access and education for our society. They aim to bring art in the public realm so that all people and communities may create dialogue and participate in our cultural development. Do Art Foundation’s mandate is to engage art as a forum to foster exchange of ideas and culture. They focus on projects and programs that involve unconventional art education and expression.

For more information or further inquiry, visit www.doartfoundation.org

@DoArtFoundation #‎DoArtFoundation‬ ‪#‎DoArt ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Ellen Riotto
South Park BID