The Burbank Cultural Arts Commission honored a longtime Burbank patron of the arts, Barbara Beckley, at a special ceremony at the Garry Marshall Theatre on Saturday, February 26. The commission also recognized artists and patrons who supported Phases Four and Five of the Utility Box Beautification Program in recent years and announced the approach of Phase Six of the program.
Seventeen artists painted 22 boxes for Phase Four (2020), in the Magnolia Park District, and Phase Five (2021), which brightened Burbank Boulevard. Since 2015, 48 utility boxes throughout Burbank have been painted and funded by the Utility Box Beautification Program.
Co-founder of The Colony Theatre, Beckley “has dedicated countless years of service to promoting the arts in the Burbank community,” said Burbank Cultural Arts Commissioner Suzanne Weerts at the ceremony.
“Barbara Beckley was instrumental in bringing the Box Beautification program to Burbank with the first seven boxes that were painted back in 2015. She has been a tremendous artistic inspiration in our community from her years as Artistic Director of The Colony Theatre to her longtime service on the Cultural Arts Commission and support of the arts in Burbank schools as a member of the board of the Burbank Arts For All Foundation,” Weerts added. “Barbara is one of our city’s brightest lights and her efforts have ensured that the arts are at the heart of Burbank for years to come.”
“Burbank has a long history of supporting the arts and culture in the community through the work of the Cultural Arts Commission, the Art in Public Places Committee, and Parks and Recreation programming,” commented Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes at the event. “Making art accessible to everyone in the Burbank community helps encourage and inspire artists of all walks of life. What better way for art to be accessible to all than to transform utility boxes into beautiful works of art for everyone to enjoy. This program truly achieves its mission of beautifying Burbank.”
The Burbank Cultural Arts Commission recognized the artists and sponsors of Phases Four and Five at the reception and then announced the advent of Phase Six of the program which will focus on boxes along Buena Vista Street. The Cultural Arts Commission will issue a call for artists in April 2022 for Phase Six.
State Senator Anthony Portantino, members of the Burbank City Council and several members of the community, including Burbank Cultural Arts Commissioners, City and Los Angeles County official representatives attended the celebration. Burbank Arts For All Foundation (now called Burbank Arts and Education Foundation) members and Garry Marshall Theatre officials were also present.
Although Beckley was unable to attend the event, her friend Eula Warren spoke on her behalf. Warren sponsored the utility box at Magnolia and Mariposa Streets in honor of Beckley.
More information on the Utility Box Beautification Program and detailed information about each of the 48 boxes, their artists and sponsors, can be found on the BurbankArts.com website.