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Oceanside Artist Colors City Heights Beautiful

Giving thanks is not just a once a year event. An artist is trying to leave something in City Heights that will bring thanks the whole calendar year.

A utility box at the corner of Winona and University avenues may look like an average utility box in a typical neighborhood, but in the hands of Oceanside-based artist Melissa Ferguson, it was transformed into a work of art.

Ferguson was commissioned by the City Heights Business Association to paint a mural on this box in particular. More than 300 have been painted around the country — and for good reason.

“Utility boxes are everywhere and there are a lot of them,” Ferguson said. “It gives artists the opportunity to create something beautiful on them and have artwork displayed everywhere.”

The goal of the project is to spread a feeling of community pride. The murals are part of a widespread effort to beautify urban areas by reflecting the multicultural aspects of each neighborhood

This particular one on the 4900 block of University Avenue highlights the Ethiopian and Somalian communities of City Heights.

“It’s beautiful color and picture,” a Somalian woman who did not wish to reveal her name said. “You feeling this area belong to us.”

The painting is already part of the community. In just one weekend, it's already getting big thanks from all sizes.

“I've been wanting to catch her so he could meet her because he's been so excited,” another City Heights woman said of her 4-year-old nephew. “I can’t believe how much that painting has got him.”

City Heights Business Association is still accepting submission until Dec. 1 from those wanting to lend their artistic hands to the beautification project. You will need to submit three images of your most recent artwork.

To submit your work or for more information, visit

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