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I find it laughable that the press release refers readers to the website www.metbranchtrail.com "for more information". This website does not appear to have been updated for at least 3 years. The "news" section highlights the opening of the NY Ave metro section of the trail "on November 20th". One might infer, from the context, that this means November 2007 - but in fact it was 2004.

"...open to all *professional* artists..."

Hmm, wonder what the qualifications are to be deemed "professional"?

Hmm, wonder what the qualifications are to be deemed "professional"?

Are you sleeping on a friend's couch? Then you're a professional artist.

I'm joking...

I'm not a professional artist, but I would do a logo like this, with appropriate buildings, but in four tiers

1. bicycling and railroad-subway.
2. houses
3. downtown
4. signature monuments -- Capitol, Washington Monument.

I forgot to include the logo from Michigan.


There has been a lot of debate about contests at the Art Directors Club of Metro Washington mailing list.

Well actually no debate, pretty much everyone came out against them.

Both the AIGA and GAG (who don't always agree on much concerning design and designers) oppose design competitions and actively discourage their members from participating.

I am not sure what stake I have in this. Architects regularly compete against each other. Whether that's a good thing or not, I don't know. And perhaps there is a chance for an agency or artist that wouldn't normally be considered to rise to the top.

This falls under the rubric of "spec work" and there is no single thing that will get graphic designers more upset than to bring that topic up.

For a group like the DC Department of Arts and Humanities to be promoting this, though, is particularly upsetting. They should very well know that this sort of thing is frowned upon and doesn't do working artists or designers any favors.

Here's the AIGA position on spec work. (Work done at no cost.) I believe that in the world of architecture, at least when there is a competition, the winner is compensated for her work.


Looking over the brief. It's not really so much a contest, but an open call. Their isn't work to be done (other than applying) prior to the work requested for the trail itself. It sounds like they are pulling together a group of what would in essence be environmental artists and designers to do this. It's mushy and sort of in a gray area, but the brief is a little more explicit about compensation than their announcement is.

The trail follows the rail line. The rail line followed Tiber Creek (now buried) and it'd be nice if the artwork recognized this as well.

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