Last Sunday, my wife and I had the great pleasure of participating in a public walk that showcased many of the artworks scattered throughout downtown Redwood City. As it was the Arts Commission’s first such event, I assumed it might not be as well attended. However, I was pleased to see that not only had word of the event spread, but that dozens of people had taken an hour or so out of their Sunday morning to look at some of the many publicly accessible artworks in the city.
Redwood City’s public art comes in many forms. For example, painted household boxes. These metal boxes, which you can occasionally find on street corners throughout the city, contain devices for controlling traffic signals, telephone switching equipment and connecting cable TV. For years these monochromatic sentinels stood silently, unnoticed as they went about their business. But sometime, somewhere, someone had the bright idea of using it as a canvas for public art. Others picked up on the idea, and in early 2015 the trend reached Redwood City. Today we have about 80 of the painted metal boxes, all different. There are boxes covered in flowers, boxes that look like historic Redwood City buildings, boxes painted like playing cards, and boxes displaying all sorts of strange creatures. While I haven’t seen all 80 yet, I’ve seen most, and my favorite remains the one at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Middlefield Road, in the parking lot next to the library. There, four side-by-side boxes illustrate the joy of reading, with two showing friendly monsters reading to a group of children, and two giving insight into the imaginations of young children reading classic adventure tales.