Aside from the excellent Trestle Inn, the intersection of 11th & Callowhill is all kinds of rough. Up above you'll find the old Reading viaduct. While it may someday be a wonderful elevated park, it will never be great to pass underneath. Just to the north is the Callowhill substation, a fenced-in area that contains a bunch of electrical equipment that we have to think makes electricity happen in a big chunk of the city. While nobody would debate the importance of the substation, the same number of people would celebrate the experience of walking past it.
But a collaboration between the Asian Arts Initiative and Volta Studio is making the walk up 11th Street a little more pleasant. Emoji Energy is a collection of screenprinted panels affixed to the fence around the substation depicting images of local youth mashed up with designs based on electricity and emojis. These have apparently been hanging up on the fence since last year, but we somehow never noticed.
Sure, this only marginally improves the walk or drive up 11th Street, but its definitely a better experience now. We would love to see similar art projects, perhaps with even larger panels, implemented at other locations around town that aren't so nice to look at. We'd like to nominate, unprompted, the substation at 26th & Carpenter as the next location for this kind of project. Several people live right across the street, and more are coming- surely those folks wouldn't mind if their views were improved ever so slightly.