Street art loss, and a silver lining

Sisters Claire and Mairi BrascoupО, two of the artists commissioned by the Glebe Report and The OSCAR to decorate their shared newspaper boxes
. PHOTO: CAROL BRASCOUPÉ

The blue decorated newspaper box was demolished in a vehicle crash in November just outside Lansdowne.
Photo: Courtesy of City of Ottawa

By Jennifer Humphries

In September’s Glebe Report, we proudly announced the arrival of three newspaper boxes on Bank Street in the Glebe and two in Old Ottawa South (OOS). A sixth was added in OOS in October.

A collaboration between the Glebe Report and The OSCAR, the idea was to get our great community papers out to readers who may not receive them at their doorstep, or would like a second copy to share with friends. More than that, the boxes were beautifully decorated by young artists in our communities – a nice marriage of design and function.

In November, the box at Lansdowne was damaged beyond repair in an unfortunate collision. It was one of four designed and painted by Claire and Mairi Brascoupé. Now the good news: the Glebe Report and The OSCAR have commissioned the artists to paint a replacement box.

“I was surprised, even shocked, when I heard about this,” Claire said. “But looking on the bright side, my sister and I spent time together working on these boxes, and we had fun doing it. And once we had completed them, they belonged to everyone, not us.” The silver lining, as Claire called it, is the opportunity to make one more piece of street art, integrating a few creative changes to the original design.

“When we learned about the destruction of this beautifully decorated box, we were very disappointed,” said

Patricia Lightfoot, Glebe Report board chair, “but at the same time extremely thankful that no one was injured.”

Brendan McCoy, editor of The OSCAR, emailed his reaction: “I knew the boxes would not last forever, but it was just so disappointing for this box to be gone so soon after all the work. They were initially proposed by the Glebe Report team and, credit to them, they did all the legwork to figure out how we could do it. I thought it was a project that seemed worth trying. The pandemic has made the boxes really useful, now

that the shops and institutions (such as the library and community centres) where we used to put out papers are closed or just not open to the public. The newspaper boxes have been a really valuable way to make The OSCAR and Glebe Report available to those who don’t get delivery to their door.”

Jennifer Humphries is a member of the board of the Glebe Report Association and co-chair of the Environment Committee of the Glebe Community Association.

Where to find our Bank Street newspaper boxes, from north to south:

  • Patterson, corner with Central Park East
  • Glebe Avenue, side of Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Returning soon: Lansdowne in front of Whole Foods/LCBO/bus stop
  • Sunnyside, east corner
  • Belmont, in front of The Senate Tavern
  • Cameron, in front of Hillary’s Dry Cleaners
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