Downtown BID Callboxes

Charles Bergen Studios proposal for the Downtown BID was accepted to begin production for nine proposed callboxes. The Downtown BID Callboxes, are located in Northwest, Washington, DC. The proposed artwork honors the 100th Anniversary of the Woman’s Suffrage in 2020. Artwork depicting nine extraordinary woman who worked, lived and or were associated with the locations of the callboxes.

TITLE:                           Downtown BID Callboxes           

DATE:                           October 2018

MEDIA:                         Bronze and waterjet

LOCATION:                  Northwest, Washington, DC

BUDGET:                      $175,000

  1. Vermont and K - Long-time Washingtonian Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Todd Lincoln’s confidant (close to WH; at some point she lived on 11th ). This artwork would probably be a  bronze sculpture with her name in type similar to embroidery. Keckley was a seamstress as well as a former slave. A pin cushion is the topper. http://www.blackpast.org/aah/keckley-elizabeth-hobbs-1818-1907 

  2. 15th and L – long-time Washington Post publisher and DC native Katharine Graham. The Post was located at 15th & L until it moved a few years ago to 1101 K Street NW. The artwork inside the callbox would probably be a Bronze. Graham was the first woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company, the Post published the Pentagon Papers as well as other Watergate related information. These aspects of her life would be incorporated into the artwork. The printing press from the back of the Pulitzer medal won while she led the post is the topper. A newspaper box is painted on the rear of the callbox. https://www.biography.com/people/katharine-graham-9317709 

  3. 14th and K – DC-native Josephine Butler, activist (Statehood Party Headquarters were at 11th & K) The artwork in the callbox would probably be a Bronze. The iron would be painted purple, white and gold. It is the 100th anniversary of the Suffrage movement in 2020 so this would be celebrated on the artwork.  The topper is a recreation of her protest march. https://www.culturaltourismdc.org/portal/web/portal%20/d.c.-statehood-party-headquarters/julius-hobson/josephine-butler-african-american-heritage-trail 

  4. 14th and G – DC-native Mary Church Terrell, civil rights activist – incl at Thompson’s Restaurant (on 14th Street north of G) Artwork inside the callbox would probably be in bronze. She was one of the first African American woman to graduate from college. She was a well known civil rights activist who championed racial equality and womans suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Callbox colors are those of the Suffragette Movement-White, Gold and Purple. https://www.culturaltourismdc.org/portal/web/portal%20/thompson-s-restaurant-site-african-american-heritage-trail 

  5. 14th and F – Julia Ward Howe, wrote “Battle Hymn of the Republic” while staying at the Willard (a previous version of it, as this one was built in 1903). There’s a plaque for her on the front of the hotel, but this is at the rear. From one of my walking tours: During the Civil War, Julia Ward Howe was staying here in November 1861 when she was awakened one night by male voices in the street singing “John Brown’s body lies a-moldering in the grave.” She got up and ran to the window. Looking out, she saw lines of Union troops marching by. Inspired, she sat down and wrote new words to their tune. The Battle Hymn of the Republic became the Union anthem. Artwork would probably be Water jet. The painting of the callbox would be patriotic and also have the words of the Battle Hymn of the Republic on it.

  6. 14th and E (Freedom Plaza, Pershing Square) – Alice Paul, suffragist (close to 1913 Pa Ave suffragist parade route). Bronze artwork. The rest of the callbox would be painted purple, white and gold and celebrate the huge parade in 1913 that she helped to organize. On March 3, 1913, thousands of women gathered in Washington, D.C. to call for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. While women had been fighting hard for suffrage for over 60 years, this marked the first major national event for the movement. The huge parade was spearheaded by Alice Paul and the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Callbox colors are those of the Suffragette Movement-White, Gold and Purple.

  7. 13th and G (A) – DC-native Alma Thomas, artist (Close to National Museum of Women in the Arts, where some of her paintings hang.) We would like the artwork in the Police Callbox to be a Mosaic. It would depict Thomas along with her artwork. The callbox would be painted to resemble her colorful paintings that celebrated the bright side of life. The mosaic could be made by https://artaic.com/ based on our color pencil drawings. https://nmwa.org/explore/artist-profiles/alma-woodsey-thomas 

  8. 13th and G (B) – Flora Molton, blues and gospel musician who played downtown on the street. (Our Historians know many people who would be THRILLED to see her memorialized.) The artwork would probably be a Waterjet with Molton and her funky slide guitar that had multiple round sound slots. The street signs of where she played is the topper. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flora_Molton  


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