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BT ArtBox – The Smile of a Tear
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Image by Dave Catchpole
BT ArtBox project celebrating 25 years of Childline

ArtBox Title: The Smile of a Tear
Artist: Lidia de Pedro & Fee Fee La Fou
Location: Covent Garden

Open-air art exhibition across London – Summer 2012

• BT marked 25th anniversary of ChildLine with launch of open-air art exhibition in London
• BT ArtBox project saw leading artists, designers and creatives transform full-size replicas of iconic Gilbert Scott–designed red telephone box into stunning artworks
• Throughout June and July 2012, BT ArtBoxes were on display in high-profile locations across the capital
• The National Portrait Gallery hosted a gala auction on July 18 where the ArtBoxes were auctioned to raise money for ChildLine

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of ChildLine, BT announced the launch of the BT ArtBox project – a new public art exhibition set to take over the capital Summer 2012.

Leading artists, designers and creatives from around the world were invited to apply their individual talents to re-style that much-loved icon of British design, the traditional red telephone box.

Each artist or designer took delivery of a full-size, fibre-glass replica of the Sir Giles Gilbert Scott-designed original K6 telephone kiosk, which was introduced in 1936 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of King George V.

Participating artists included 2002 Turner prize winner Keith Tyson, Romero Britto and Royal Academician Professor of Sculpture David Mach, along with fashion designers Giles Deacon and Zandra Rhodes.

The BT ArtBoxes were on display in high-profile locations around the capital between June 18 and July 16 before being auctioned off at a VIP Gala Auction at the National Portrait Gallery on July 18 to raise funds for BT’s long-time partner ChildLine.

Esther Rantzen OBE, founder of ChildLine and patron of the BT ArtBox project, said: “I’m thrilled that ChildLine’s 25th birthday is to be celebrated by such a unique and inspiring project as BT Artbox.
“The red phone box is a much loved symbol of British culture and I’m keen to see how the artists involved will create new masterpieces from such an iconic canvas. It’s fantastic that the proceeds from the sale of the boxes will raise vital funds to support the work of ChildLine, enabling us to help many more children and young people to get comfort, advice and protection when they need it most.”

Sandy Nairne, director of the National Portrait Gallery and patron of the BT ArtBox project, said: “The Gilbert Scott telephone box is a truly iconic British design, and I’m looking forwards to seeing how artists and designers transform the replica boxes into works of art on London’s streets.”

David Mach, said: “It’s great to be involved with the ArtBox Exhibition. I get to kill more than two birds with one stone…work with a great charity (hopefully make money for it) and a classic British design. I love all things Gilbert Scott. Anything that encourages us to get his design back on our streets does it for me”.

Suzi Williams, director of BT Group Marketing and Brand, said: “BT has a history of supporting British cultural initiatives and 2012 is no exception. What better way to celebrate ChildLine’s 25th anniversary than transforming replicas of the classic red phone box into a public art exhibition that can be enjoyed by all in the build-up to the Games this summer."

Martine Ainsworth-Wells, London & Partners, Marketing and Communications director, said:
“London & Partners is excited to support BT ArtBox in the run up to London 2012. BT ArtBox will bring some of the UK’s finest artistic talents to London’s streets, adding a new creative dimension to the capital at such an important time in its history.”

Artists and creatives who were interested in designing an ArtBox visited for more information about how to get involved.
The BT ArtBox project was supported by the Mayor of London, Professor Malcolm Garrett RDI, London & Partners, The May Fair Hotel, Harvey Nichols, The Times and The Sunday Times and borough councils across the capital.

Images of Malcolm Garrett, Interaction Designer, Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, David Mach RA, Sculptor, Esther Rantzen, founder of ChildLine and Lauren O’Farrell, Artist at the launch of the BT ArtBox project at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, central London today are available at:…

Top 10 facts about the K6 red phone box

1. Kiosk number 6 or “Jubilee Kiosk” commemorates the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of King George V.
2. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott also designed Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, Battersea Power Station and Bankside Power Station now Tate Modern.
3. More than 1,600 decommissioned red phone boxes, mostly K6s, have been sold to local communities for just a £1 under BT’s Adopt a Kiosk scheme. Uses include being fitted with lifesaving defibrillation machines, turned into art galleries and public libraries.
4. The K6 was the first kiosk installed nationwide and the standard kiosk across the UK until the introduction of the K8 in 1968.
5. The K6 kiosk is made from cast iron with a teak door. It is 8’3” tall (2.4 metres) and weighs three quarters of a ton (762 kilograms).
6. The K6 design was approved by the Post Office and the Royal Fine Arts Commission, which endorsed “Post Office red” as the standard colour.
7. Although Scott agreed to the use of “Post Office red” he was never a supporter of the colour and initially suggested the outside of the kiosk be painted silver and the inside greenish-blue. He strongly urged rural kiosks be painted dove-grey.
8. Two K6 kiosks were installed in France during 1995, for the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
9. Several red K6’s have been transformed into combined payphones and cash machines.
10.There are 11,000 red phone boxes in use in the UK.

About ChildLine

ChildLine on 0800 1111 and is the UK’s only free, 24-hour helpline for children in danger or distress. Trained volunteer counsellors comfort, advice and protect children and young people. ChildLine is a service within the NSPCC. In Scotland it is delivered by CHILDREN 1ST on behalf of the NSPCC. Calls to ChildLine on 0800 1111 are confidential, but if a child is in immediate danger the counsellor will let the caller know if they have to break confidentially and contact the emergency services to save the child’s life.

Every £20 raised could help ChildLine answer another five calls from children who dial our helpline. If you are worried about a child or would like to make a donation, please visit the NSPCC website