2022 Utility Box Public Art

The Utility Box Public Art Program is a beautification initiative designed to add to the vibrancylogo of the San Pablo Avenue corridor. Community artists are invited to participate in this program to help transform drab and unsightly utility boxes into attractive and captivating works of art that will enhance the beauty of the City’s streets and sidewalks. This program was paid for by the Arts in Public Places Program, which requires certain development projects to contribute 1% of construction costs to public art. The Commission is responsible for acquisition, funding, and placement of public art in the City on public property with these restricted funds.

The artwork of Kristen Kong and Shanna Struss were approved on May 23, 2022 as the finalists of 2022 Utility Box Public Art Program.

Introducing Kristen Kong

2022 Utility Box Art Finalist Kristen KongKristen Kong is a contemporary illustrator and muralist based in El Cerrito whose style blends whimsy with the modern era. She graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California with a BFA in Illustration. Her work has been featured at Public Works, the Little Lodge Galleries in San Francisco, and Gallery 50 in Toronto. Her clients include the California Academy of Sciences Museum, Zillow, and the Sierra Club. This body of work reflects her long held intention to bring people who are often overlooked to the forefront of visual storytelling. Whether it’s short comics, murals, infographics or book illustration, she strives to capture a story with a knack for leaving you with a warm fuzzy feeling. Visit kristenkong.com and Instagram @kristen_kong_illustration to see her work.

Introducing Shanna Strauss

2022 Utility Box Art Program Finalist Shanna StraussShanna Strauss is a Tanzanian-American mixed media artist. Her work explores oral histories, ancestral memory and spirituality in African diasporic traditions, paying homage to radical Black women across the African Diaspora. Shanna holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the California College of Arts and a Masters of Social Work from McGill University. She has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions nationally and abroad. Her work has been acquired by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Euphrat Museum of Art and the University of California, San Francisco.

Public art and community engagement are also a part of her practice. Her commitment to radical social transformation has inspired the creation of collaborative projects and public murals that center the experiences and stories of BIPoC individuals and communities. Her public artworks can be seen in Montreal, Tucson, San Francisco and Sacramento.

In 2020 Shanna was awarded the Prix Powerhouse from La Centrale Galerie in Montreal and the Kala Fellowship Award from Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California. Visit ShannaStrauss.co to learn more about her work.