For Immediate Release: May 11, 2020

Sunrise MarketPlace and SMUD team up to wrap artistic designs around utility boxes

Utility boxes – including SMUD transformer and roadway utility boxes – receive makeover in part through SMUD’s Transformer Box Wrap Program 

Japanese artwork at Sunrise Village and Renoir at Citrus Town

Sunrise Marketplace Business Improvement District (SMP) completed wraps on more than 20 SMUD transformer boxes to display nearly 50 pieces of art throughout the business district. “MasterPieces in the MarketPlace” utilizes SMUD’s Transformer Box Wrap Program, which is offered to qualifying SMUD commercial customers to help brighten our communities by enhancing the aesthetic environment while deterring graffiti. “With our area lacking in art opportunities, this project reimagines functional utility boxes into works of art and recasts our parking lots into vibrant public art galleries,” said SMP’s Executive Director Kathilynn Carpenter.

Transformer boxes are the green utility boxes seen along sidewalks, in courtyards and on business properties. They house high-voltage equipment for underground electrical service taking the higher voltage from SMUD’s distribution system and transforming it to lower voltages appropriate for residential and commercial use. Because these boxes house electrical equipment, all the safety warning stickers and identifying markings will remain visible in their designated locations.

"This program allows us to partner with local agencies and the community to bring public art to a new canvas, often in high traffic areas," said Chief Energy Delivery Officer Frankie McDermott. The “MasterPieces in the MarketPlace” boxes feature a variety of iconic art from 19th century Japanese Woodblock art, Impressionism and abstract art, and showcases famous artists such as Van Gogh, Degas and Renoir, as well as local muralists.  

The program is open to commercial customers, homeowners’ associations and local government agencies. If they've been in business five years or more, own or manage the property, then they can apply to sponsor, pay for and maintain the art wrap on a transformer. There are 20 approved designs to choose from, or a custom design can be submitted for consideration. The approved designs range from landscapes and local scenery, to unique perspectives, to textures and patterns. SMUD will work with each local agency to determine if the requested art is appropriate for that specific location as each city has unique tastes, preferences and community spirit.  

The Sacramento region is no stranger to art on utility boxes, but the art has been largely limited to the boxes housing traffic light controls through the "Capitol Box Art Project." In 2013, a SMUD transformer box was hand-painted by local artist Gale Hart and in March 2017 three transformer boxes near Tower Theatre received custom wraps. Sunrise MarketPlace will be the first to develop a themed installation at community scale. Each box will include a label with the name of the artist, art and date. A QR code on the label will direct viewers to a web page with more information on the art and artist, and a link to the museum where the art is displayed.

SMUD is utilizing only vinyl wraps for the program because they follow utility industry best practices. Vinyl wraps on transformers, instead of hand-painted artwork, are easier to install, maintain and replace. Also, vinyl wraps do not require the commissioning of an artist to work on location. Vinyl also has a life expectancy of five or more years and comes with a paint-repelling laminate which will further reduce the effects of any graffiti.  

About Sunrise MarketPlace

Sunrise MarketPlace is a collection of more than 400 retailers, restaurants, and professional businesses located in the heart of Citrus Heights, CA. The Shopping and Business Improvement District located along Sunrise Boulevard between Arcadia Drive (just north of Greenback Lane) and Madison Avenue, and along Greenback Lane between Birdcage Street and Fair Oaks Boulevard. For more information, visit,, and  

About SMUD

As the nation’s sixth-largest community-owned, not-for-profit electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for almost 75 years to Sacramento County (and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties). SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s energy is about 50 percent carbon-free and is on track to deliver 100 percent net-zero-carbon electricity by 2040, ahead of California’s 2045 goal.