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7th Grader Helps Beautify Santa Clara Through Utility Art Box Program

In an effort to add a little color to some of the blander fixtures in Santa Clara, the City has revived its Utility Art Box Program and selected three local artists for this year’s series. Among the artists, 12-year-old Khushi Kolte.

“My mom was looking and she found the contest and she told me and I was like, ‘Yeah, I would love to paint one of those and then I drew my design,’” said Kolte.

The 7th grader at Horner Junior High School called her artwork “Happiness Around the World.” She describes it as “a picture of trees and doves carrying leaves and vines to make a heart around the Earth.”


She says she was inspired by her first impressions of Santa Clara after moving here when she was younger.

“When I moved from my native country India, I first came to Santa Clara and everyone was happy and everyone came together in school and even the community, so I was like, Santa Clara is really a place of peace and joy,” said Kolte.

Kolte painted the utility box at the corner of Lafayette and Franklin streets in mid-October. She says it was an amazing experience.

“It’s really exciting. I’ve never done this so it was the first experience for me. I worked hard and I can’t believe it looks so good,” said Kolte. “Everyone that day when we were painting, all the college students, everyone who walked by, they were like, ‘wow, good job.’ I was really happy inside.”

“It turned out good,” said Vidyut Kolte, Khushi’s mom. “It’s good and we feel proud of her that she’s doing all these things and along with the studies, she’s able to manage everything. We really feel proud of her.”

“From early childhood she had an interest in art and dance. From three or four years old she loved to watch the videos and she would try to draw how they were drawing,” said Vidyut Kolte.

Khushi Kolte says art is a great way to help express her feelings.

“I like painting and drawing. I want to learn how I can do it so I can get better,” said Kolte. “If I’m ever feeling sad or something it just helps me express my feelings into the form of art.”

And for now, the 12-year-old hopes art will also play a large role in her future.

“I probably want to be an artist or a teacher. I want to be an artist because I can do many things and art comes in different forms. Maybe a teacher, in that it’s also like art because you can teach in different ways,” said Kolte. “I feel like art is very diverse. You can do it in many styles whether that’s just drawing something or if you’re saying something it can be artistic.”

Two more utility boxes will be painted in the next couple of weeks.

Each artist received a $750 stipend to help compensate them for their time and supplies.


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