Alejandro Ponce moved to Las Vegas from Los Angeles when he was 10. For years, he said, his primary goal in the city was to create something larger from within its small arts community.
His perspective changed last spring when he and seven other seniors from the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts were chosen to help decorate utility boxes in the Sun City Summerlin area. They were paired with members of the Sun City Art Club and other artists in the Sun City area to design murals for the boxes in an effort to beautify the community.
The city coordinated with Natalie Delgado, a visual arts instructor at Las Vegas Academy, and put out a call for artists at the school. Students submitted portfolios, and each student chosen was paid $400 to start a mural and will receive another $400 upon completion, according to Rebecca Holden, one of the city’s visual arts specialists and manager of the public art program. The utility boxes are at various corners across the Sun City Summerlin area and should be finished by the end of April, Holden said.
Holden said Las Vegas Arts Commission member Sandy Karpel, a Sun City Summerlin resident, pitched the idea for the cabinet-painting program in her part of the city.
“She came to the Arts Commission and said these utility cabinets in the community were receiving a lot of graffiti — some of them saying really damaging things about the residents of the community,” Holden added.
Karpel said she contacted the managing editor of the Sun City Link magazine, Jeannette Carrillo, who contacted artists she knew that lived in Sun City who weren’t members of the art club.
Ponce, 17, said he was paired with Susan Neiry, whose work “was very involved with Nevada and being in Nevada. Everything she did was pulled from the animals and plants and the shape of here. So we pulled out some iPads to look at plants and animals specific to Nevada. That’s where the bighorn sheep came from on the mural, and there’s quails on the side.”
All supplies were provided by the city. Ponce said they started painting in the past few months. His mural is complete.
“I think that being able to focus on a community like Sun City with people like Susan, it kind of just made me appreciate the little things Las Vegas has to offer,” Ponce said.
It is the Las Vegas’ utility cabinet-painting program and started in 2016, said Rebecca Holden, one of the city’s visual arts specialists and manager of the public art program. The first project was done on Maryland Parkway, and its next target is in the medical district.
Utility box locations
· Rampart and Del Webb boulevards
· Sun City and Lake Mead boulevards
· Thomas Ryan and Lake Mead boulevards
· Anasazi Drive and Summerlin Parkway
· West Cheyenne Avenue and Rampart Boulevard
· West Cheyenne Avenue and Shady Timber Street
· West Lake Mead and Del Webb boulevards