Art on Call

ART ON CALL

 

 

What is Art on Call?

Art on Call is a city-wide effort led by Cultural Tourism DC to restore Washington DC's abandoned police and fire call boxes as neighborhood artistic icons. Cultural Tourism DC partners with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the District Department of Transportation on this initiative.

The reinvented call boxes range in style from the traditional to the avant-garde. Once the boxes are recreated with an artist's unique touch, they entice residents and visitors to explore the city's distinctive communities and showcase each neighborhood's unique identity.

Police and fire call boxes were installed throughout the capital starting in the 1860s. They began to become obsolete with the introduction of the 911 emergency call system in the 1970s, and the working electronic components were all removed by 1995. Yet the call boxes remained, too large and heavy to remove and subject to deterioration from weather and vandalism.

The Art on Call initiative began in 2000 when the call boxes were surveyed and identified for refurbishment. More than 1,100 abandoned boxes have been found to date. The District Department of Transportation stripped, primed, and prepared about 700 boxes in 2002 and 2003. It recently renewed its commitment to the project.

 

Background

Police and fire call boxes were installed throughout the capital starting in the 1860s. They began to become obsolete with the introduction of the 911 emergency call system in the 1970s, and the working electronic components were all removed by 1995. Yet the call boxes remained, too large and heavy to remove and subject to deterioration from weather and vandalism.

The Art on Call initiative began in 2000 when the call boxes were surveyed and identified for refurbishment. More than 1,100 abandoned boxes have been found to date. The District Department of Transportation stripped, primed, and prepared about 700 boxes in 2002 and 2003. It recently renewed its commitment to the project.

Source: Cultural Tourism DC

 


Leonor Alvim Brazao unveils a call box on April 25th, 2008

It was a sunny morning on April 25th 2008 in DC, when the artist Leonor Alvim Brazao unveiled one of the two call boxes that permantely will display her artworks.

leonor

The call box is located in the corner of L St with 21st , in the heart of the Business District. The second call box is in the corner of Rhode Island with 17th St.

The ceremony had the participation of Linda Harper (Executive Director of the Cultural Tourism DC), Erinn Roos (CTDC), Rachel Dickerson- (DCCAH), Kathryn Clement, Mariana Fierst , Shaun Pharr (Golden Triangle BID Board of Directors), Leona Agouridis (GTBID Executive Director),  Michael McBride (Manager of Art in Transit, WMATA) and Manuel Silva Pereira, Cultural Attaché of the Portuguese Embassy.

Leonor mentioned that "she was honored to be part of the city and being able to contribute to the Golden Triangle initiative with her Portuguese roots and musical memories from Brazil, where she lived many years".

The artwork unveiled depicts the Jazz music, a close reference to the African-American population living in DC. The second artwork represents the Classical Music, namely the cello, an instrument that Leonor played several years while leaving in Brazil.

 

© 2010 Leonor Alvim Brazao. All rights reserved.