The ordinary grey metal utility boxes on Larchmont Blvd, usually a magnet for graffiti, have recently been elevated to street art, thanks to a grant from the Larchmont Business Improvement District (BID).
Local artist and art teacher Ann Bridges was selected by the BID to decorate the boxes. Her work appears on several other utility boxes on Wilshire Blvd. (at Western Avenue and Normandie), as well as in Long Beach.
“We worked with Do Art Foundation to find the artist,” said Heather Boylston, a spokesperson for the BID. The DoArt Foundation put out a call for entries and presented approximately 25 artists, from which the BID board selected Ann Bridges.
“We were looking for artwork that represented our village and since Ann is a local, she really understood what Larchmont is about and did a great job of capturing the Village in her art,” said Boylston.
The Larchmont Village BID stretches down Larchmont Boulevard between Beverly Boulevard and 1st Street. It was officially established in 1998 as The Larchmont Village Property Owners Business Improvement District, to offset the lack of city funds for street services and other benefits so vital to a successful retail street environment. The BID’s annual budget of $120,000 is funded by a annual tax assessed to each of the 25 property owners on the street based on the linear, ground-level, front-facing footage on Larchmont Boulevard. Tom Kneafsey is the founding president of the BID and continues to serve as a volunteer.
More than half of the BID’s annual budget of is earmarked for streetscape services — expenses related to maintaining the boulevard’s attractive physical space. Streetscape services include cleaning, litter pickup, landscape upkeep and trash bin cleaning. In addition, the BID also pays for pressure washing of all streetscape areas; annual tree trimming; public relations and marketing of Larchmont Village; street banner and season decorations and lighting.