If you’ve ever picked up Washington City Paper on the streets of D.C. or the surrounding suburbs, you’re familiar with the orange and black streetboxes that hold our issues. I’ve been told the first thing they evoke is Halloween.
As the paper’s circulation manager, I don’t get many opportunities to exercise my creative chops, so when we redesigned the paper earlier this year, I decided it would be an excellent opportunity to redesign the places where the papers live. After all, City Paper isn’t just published the week of Oct. 31.
I set out to find a suitable project that involved distributing the paper, and naturally I thought of cows. If you think back a few years, you might remember an international art project called “Cow Parade,” for which artists painted murals on life-size fiberglass cows. The cows have been displayed in cities all over the world, and many cities have come up with their own versions, like the “Party Animals” in D.C. in 2002. My take on the concept is called “A Streetbox Named Desire.”
After seeking advice from other newspapers around the country, I decided to recruit an art studio, and found the perfect partnership in Silver Spring’s Pyramid Atlantic. The entire process has taken more than six months—from finding artists, to prepping the boxes, to giving the artists enough time to complete their designs. Finally, we’re ready to unveil the final products this week.
Eleven artists—Gretchen Schermerhorn, Sabeth Jackson, Adam Dwight, Francisco Rosario, Maggie Michael, Annie Albagli, Rebecca Katz, Marty Ittner and Ellen Smyth, Elizabeth Graeber, and Cara Hunt—designed distribution boxes however they saw fit, and the results are beautiful. Enjoy, keep picking up City Paper, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite design online!
Marty Ittner and Ellen Smyth