Residents and local businesses can choose to sponsor one of 10 sites

Published in the June 6 – 19, 2018 issue of Morgan Hill Life

LMH Class of 2018

Leadership Morgan Hill class of 2018. Photo courtesy Leadership Morgan Hill

Eighteen utility boxes throughout town will be turned into works of art thanks to the 2018 Leadership Morgan Hill class project. Local artists will paint public murals on these boxes to showcase the city’s history and culture.

Leadership Morgan Hill is a nonprofit organization that annually trains a class of residents and business people how to be more effective leaders. Every class needs to complete a community-benefit project. The 2018’s class project is called “Art & Inspiration” and will decorate the utility boxes with images that convey community pride.

Some of the boxes will be in downtown such as at Railroad Park, while others will be at major intersections, schools, and a fire station. The project needs to be completed by the class’s graduation date in September.

The project’s goal is to create a template to complete the boxes that can easily be picked up by the city, said class member Melissa Scatena, who serves as the project manager. The city has agreed to maintain the boxes painted through the project.

“Our class project centers on the beautification of our city while incorporating positive messages of art and inspiration to engage the community,” she said. “We are using the traffic utility boxes that are owned and maintained by the city as canvases and soliciting local artists to create their masterpieces.”

Local businesses, residents, and community groups as well as anyone else can sponsor a utility box to help fund the $10,000 project.

The common theme the 2018 Leadership Morgan Hill class wanted to offer was a visual sense of community to shed a positive light on both public safety and self-awareness, said Daniel Sanidad, a class member in charge of publicity for the project. The class believes its project can provide an inspiring human connection for residents.

“The chosen boxes will be a blank canvas for selected artists to paint,” he said. “We will also add individual messages on each box. Our vision was to help create something that can positively increase the feeling of pride for all of Morgan Hill.”

In the process to decide on a project, the class members began by taking the time to understand the individual wants of the class, Sanidad said.

“We learned that we each wanted something similar. We all brought similar projects to the table for a vote,” he said. “This was the project we all felt could be done well given our passion and strengths, as well as be completed within the time allotted.”

With 18 classmates it was no small feat to agree on one project, Scatena said.

“We have a very passionate and engaged group of individuals who want to contribute,” she said. “The process to select our project was democratic.”

Class members found the common thread between many of the projects they proposed was the beautification of the city and being a positive influence within the community. They settled on what they are calling the Art & Inspiration project, Scatena said.


The class started doing a call for local artists to submit applications in the June time frame. Artists will be able to select which box and community message they would prefer to work on. All applications should be submitted by the end of June. More information will be available on the Class Project Information section of the Leadership Morgan Hill site:

The project’s main source for funding is through sponsorships. Businesses are being solicited to sponsor each of the 10 boxes. Any person or group can sponsor a box. Sponsors will have a placard on the box to recognize their contribution, along with the artist name. Those interested can visit and click on the Class Project Information section. The class will also accept donations in general to support our project and cover the supplies and overhead costs.

In selecting a positive and thoughtful social message to accompany the artwork, the class will showcase the character of Morgan Hill and use the canvas of the boxes to connect and engage with everyone — prospective, new and long-time residents, young and old, tourists and visitors, focusing on things the people of the city care about and have in common, said Suman Ganapathy, a class member who will work with the artists.

“We took into consideration brevity, and uplifting phrases that are layered and can be interpreted individually, designed to make readers reflect for a long time after they’ve read it,” she said. “Like feeling welcome and being welcoming, inspiring others and being inspired by them, loving everyone, valuing truth and kindness, glorying in nature, and more beautiful messages in that vein. We tried to match messages to the location wherever possible for maximum impact. It also worked well that they are all aligned to the 2018 Morgan Hill Strategic Priorities.”


Marty Cheek

Marty Cheek

Publisher at Morgan Hill Life
Marty Cheek is the publisher of Morgan Hill Life and Gilroy Life. He is also the co-author with Congressman Jerry McNerney of the book Clean Energy Nation: Freeing America From the Tyranny of Fossil Fuels.
Phone: (408) 782-7575
Marty Cheek