Mona Caron's Utility Box Mural Removed

Categories: Art

Photo courtesy of Mona Caron/ Haighteration
Before and after

In the spot where a utopian vision once sat, is now a gray, metal box.

The utility box on the corner of Church and Duboce, where artist Mona Caron painted a mural depicting a green-friendly utopia, was first noticed to be missing sometime last week by Mission Mission.

See also: Through the Looking Box: Mona Caron's Art Transforms Corner Into What it Could Be

A mere year after it was first installed, the mural titled "Manifestation Station," is currently locked away at a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency rail yard at 2502 Alameda, according to Uptown Almanac.

It's a strange move on behalf of SFMTA, who commissioned the piece from Caron in the first place.

The gray box is a bleak departure from Caron's mural, which offered San Francisco an alternate reality of what could be there: nature and innovation coexisting against an urban backdrop.

Not one to be disheartened, Caron posted the following on her Facebook page: "eh, Keep ripping up and we'll just keep sprouting anew."

SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose confirms in a statement that the box was removed for maintenance reasons and that the agency is working on getting the new box repainted by Caron within the next three months.

Here's to hoping the SFMTA knows how to keep a promise.

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My Voice Nation Help

The headline should have been "Mona Caron's Utility Box Mural Removed...Temporarily". 

Basically there is much ado about nothing other than perhaps an attempt to stir some ire against the SFMTA? Ugh, ok, you got me. I saw the teaser about a mural removal and had to click to find out what could have possessed someone to remove it only to find out that the artist - who also stirred the pot with a somewhat ignoble statement about this on her FB page - has been asked to work on the new box! OOOOH, the controversy! Shudder. 

Eric Carlson
Eric Carlson

carted off like the harmless chess players?

Arrblair Smith
Arrblair Smith

So silly to remove this. Your fiscal dollars at work.


Correct: tempest in a teapot. Incorrect: your accusation. I have never incited ire against the MTA, quite to the contrary.  I (heart) MTA, and actually said so.

I didn't even know who removed the mural at first (wasn't obvious for various reasons). Eventually, after some comedic adventures, the mystery was solved, and subsequently, perhaps influenced in part by some surprisingly passionate reactions by people *other than me*, MTA decided to have me repaint the box.

Hence, I shall strive to paint the new one prettier than the last one, in order to be deserving of the kind support that people both outside and within the MTA showed me over this little incident. 


@monacaron Thanks for filling me in. I see now that there is/was more to the story and the author left out the part where the MTA removed the box without any consideration to the artist or community (hence, ire) and may have only later decided to make things right by commissioning you for the new art after getting an earful. See it from their perspective as well: they provide transportation for the city and removing a box for "maintenance", or whatever, does not mean they are obligated to keep the original piece in place. When I was younger it was much easier to pick a side but these days I try to be as fair as possible. It's exhausting! :)

However, alls well that ends well. :)

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