MESQUITE, Nevada (July 28, 2021) – Over the past few months, OPD5 has been proud to join hands with the Mesquite Public Arts Commission (MPAC), the City of Mesquite, and other local partners in a wonderful beautification project for the City. The district has offered its full support in an exciting MPAC proposal of wrapping a number of OPD5 electric utility boxes with vibrant artwork created by Salt Lake City artist Rachelle Knight.
The first of these artistic installations was unveiled in front of the Eureka Resort on June 18. Since then, many others have appeared in various spots throughout the community.
“We’ve had a number of people that have wanted to paint these switch boxes, but we’ve had to turn them down because it can ruin the coating on the switch, and it raises our maintenance costs,” said OPD General Manager Mendis Cooper. “You have to remember that these switch boxes are expensive, and they protect live wires and parts inside. Our crew routinely spends time taking care of these boxes, inside and out, in order to extend the life of the switches to 20-30 years, but the biggest enemy is rust, even in our dry climate. MPAC contacted us about wrapping the switches and after looking into it, we thought they came up with a great idea that works for both of us. We loved the idea.”
In the weeks since the artworks began to appear on the boxes, OPD5 staffers have received tremendous positive feedback from residents. Many are curious about how they can request to have the utility box on their own street included in this program.
“We have received a lot of calls from members of the public asking if we would do something similar in their neighborhood,” said OPD5 Line Operations Manager Corey Dalley who has been the point of contact for the district on the MPAC project. “We think it is great that people see this beautiful art and are enjoying it so much.”
The only problem is that the project is not an OPD5 initiative. The district isn’t the entity that decides which boxes will be wrapped.
MPAC Chairwoman Christine Picior explained that proposals for boxes are made by the MPAC. They then must receive a final approval from Dalley’s team at OPD5. This is because the district is actually the owner of the boxes.
But Picior emphasized that MPAC is still open to expand the project to utility boxes in additional neighborhoods.
“Interested people can contact me and we can get the ball rolling,” Picior said. “We just need the number on their box and its location. Then we submit that to OPD5 to get their approval since they own the box.”
There is also the matter of funding. The boxes that are already wrapped have been funded through state grants or through donations from local businesses and individuals. Additional donations can be made to pay the costs of producing and applying the artwork. These costs vary depending on the size and shape of the box.
“We had one neighborhood where the residents banded together and bought two of them,” Picior said. “We think it is wonderful that this project has brought such enthusiasm and joy to so many people in town.”
For more information about how to propose a utility box for inclusion in this project, email Picior at firstname.lastname@example.org.