OCEANSIDE — The view at Oceanside Harbor is now a bit more beautiful with the completion of the first phase of the Harbor Artwalk, which boasts handpainted artwork on five utility boxes on the north end of the harbor. When completed, the project will include paintings on all 18 utility boxes around the harbor and a map describing the art.
The initial five paintings by juried-in local artists depict harbor scenes and Oceanside history and reliefs range from a green flash over the ocean at sunset to the historic Mission San Luis Rey. “Our goal is artwork evolved around heritage and history,” Corrine Perez Garcia, Oceanside arts commissioner, said. “All relating to the harbor and activities in the harbor.”
The selection process for the utility box beautification project required artists to submit a design to cover the five-sided utility box and a portfolio of their artwork. The best designs were selected for the first five utility boxes on the Artwalk and artists completed painting the boxes in October.
Artist Sossity Corby painted a bright orange sunset over the well-known landmark of the Oceanside Pier on a utility box that sits by the Oceanside Yacht Club dock. “The orange colors complement the blue of the harbor,” Corby said, describing her design. The painting of the pier wraps around the sides of the box and the scene is framed with palm trees that spill over the top of the box.
In addition to considering colors and a 3-D design, weather and how the paint reacts to it also had to be considered. “With the dry wind, the paint dried as soon as you painted,” John Corby, father of Sossity Corby and art supporter, said.
“The challenge was to not get the paint too wet, or too dry to blend the colors,” Sossity Corby said. “It took two weeks, off and on, to finish.”
With the first five utility boxes painted and a monochromatic relief of children at play painted on the newly built Pacific Street Bridge — art is now part of the harbor experience. “We’re hoping to make the harbor an art destination,” Perez Garcia said. “An area to come to look at the artwork. We’re getting a great response. It’s very exciting.”
In January, the next group of artists will continue the Harbor Artwalk project. Information on the utility box beautification project will be posted on the city’s Web site at www.ci.oceanside.ca.us.