To catch the vandal (or vandals) defacing art-adorned utility boxes, the city will offer a cash reward for information leading to the perpetrator’s arrest.
For the past couple of months, someone has painted a gray primer over at least seven utility box murals painted as part of the San Jose Art Box Project. On Tuesday, District 6 Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio will ask the City Council to authorize a $5,000 reward for the tipster who helps police find the culprit.
“The perpetrator's vandalism has robbed local communities of the unique work of numerous volunteer artists and disrupted the character and spirit of the areas they were located in,” Oliverio wrote in memo. “These art boxes provided cultural and social distinction to the communities they were located in, and were created and coordinated by the efforts of civic-minded volunteers.”
Some passersby have reported seeing the perpetrator, but assumed the person was preparing the art box for a new mural. According to the Mercury News, the latest target was a box on Hamilton by Pine Avenue. The serial vandal slathered primer over a painted homage to the region’s agricultural roots.
One art critic deemed the crime spree worse than run-of-the-mill tagging. “It’s vandalism to make the streets more bland —let’s call it ‘blandalism,’” Ben Sutton wrote for the art blog Hyperallergic.
The art box project, launched in 2011 by activist Tina Morrill, relies not on city funding but private donations. Artists participated largely for the exposure and to beautify the community.
About 80 art boxes are scattered throughout San Jose, according to the project’s Google Maps page.
Police encourage the public to call 9-1-1 if they see the perpetrator in action. Anonymous tips can be called in to Crime Stoppers at 408.947.7867.
More from the San Jose City Council agenda for January 12, 2016:
- After organizing a cat video festival last fall, Councilman Oliverio wants to host a similar event for dog lovers. The Canine Film Festival will be held Feb. 28 at Cinelux Almaden Café and Lounge 2306 Almaden Road. The free event will feature eight short films about the relationship between dogs and their human companions.
- The council will approve an alternative pension agreement to settle litigation against Measure B reforms.
- Since the mid-1990s, a state law called Costa-Hawkins has stymied local rent controls by exempting apartments built after a certain date. Council members Don Rocha and Raul Peralez want the city to lobby state lawmakers to modify the legislation. “Given the over 4,000 residents of San Jose who are homeless each night and the rapid displacement of the middle class occurring in our city, we have a moral and economic imperative to act immediately,” they wrote.
WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260