Art Show Call for Entries

The Talbot Avenue Bridge, a historically significant civil rights landmark one mile from downtown Silver Spring, is 100 years old this year, and we’re planning a big celebration! At this family-friendly community event there will be music, storytelling, drumming, kids activities, a community art project, bubbles, train greetings, and much more, including a Kids Art Show! All entries will be displayed at the Talbot Avenue Bridge Centennial Celebration from 2-5 pm, Saturday September 22 (or 29). Young artists will have the opportunities to pose for photos next to their artwork with life long residents of the historically African-American community of Lyttonsville.

Submission Guidelines:

Our promotion of the call for entries focuses on youth under 21, but entrants of all ages are welcome. Artwork should relate to the Talbot Avenue Bridge and one or more of the following ideas and themes:

Reclaiming the Bridge’s Voice, Reclaiming the Bridge’s History: Cars have ceased crossing the bridge and the planks have fallen mostly silent, but if you stand in the middle of the bridge, and listen closely you can still “hear” the bridge. What is it saying? What stories does it have to tell?

Once Divided, Now Unites: The bridge spans train tracks that once divided neighborhoods along racial lines. Later the bridge was a source of division between neighbors on either side, some who wanted to keep the bridge closed, some who wanted to reopen it. Neighbors on both sides are now working together to celebrate the bridge’s long life and historically significant history — and build a shared sense of community. In the middle of the bridge there is no “other side.”

100 Years of Connecting Communities: The bridge connected historically African-American community of Lyttonsville to downtown Silver Spring during a time of racial segregation. It now connects neighbors on either side of the bridge — recent and longtime, young and old, of many colors, cultures, religions and countries of origin, a snapshot of the larger and increasingly internationally diverse Silver Spring community.

Entries must be no larger than 14 x 17”. They must be two-dimensional and may be of any artistic style or medium (watercolor, acrylic, pastel, colored pencil, crayon, marker, charcoal, collage, etc.)

Before working on their entries, artists are encouraged to learn more about the bridge and to pay a visit to “meet” the bridge if they don’t know it already, to inform and inspire their artwork.

Deadline: Artwork must be received no later than Wednesday, September 19. Submit to: Talbot Ave Bridge Centennial Art Show c/o Bertie LoPicollo, 2002 Hanover Street, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

Disclosure: By submitting your entry, you give permission to display artwork during the Talbot Avenue Bridge Centennial Celebration on September 22 (or 29, 2018) and at any future bridge-related art exhibits and events that may take place. You also give permission for your artwork to be scanned and used for print and online media related to bridge (with full credit). Submitted artwork will not be returned. Some or all of entries will be saved as a historic record of the Centennial Celebration.

Note to teachers: We encourage class submissions! All teachers who submit their students’ artwork will be entered in a raffle for a $100 gift certificate towards classroom art supplies. The drawing will take place at the end of the Centennial Celebration. For more information, contact

Download the entry form [PDF]
Download this call for entries to print/share [PDF]

About the Talbot Avenue Bridge

Built in 1918, the wood and steel Talbot Avenue Bridge served as an essential lifeline connecting the historically African-American community of Lyttonsville with the rest of Silver Spring at a time when the DC suburb was still racially segregated and African-Americans were not allowed to live in neighborhoods like North Woodside, on the other side of the bridge. Life long residents of Lyttonsville talk with affection of the bridge’s Voice. When children in Lyttonsville heard the wood planks of the bridge rattle in the evening they knew a family member was on the way home. The bridge had its own language, one the children understood.
Like in many communities across the country, Lyttonsville and North Woodside are divided by train tracks. The bridge became a further source of division at the end of the 20th Century  when it was closed for repairs.  Some residents of North Woodside liked the decrease in car traffic and fought to keep the bridge closed.  Many had young children and worried about their children’s safety.  Residents of Lyttonsville felt strongly that the bridge should stay open.  They wanted to continue to use the bridge.  And to close the bridge forever would have been a symbolic severing with their past. It remains the last significant physical structure of their community that has not been destroyed by urban development.
The bridge was repaired and reopened and continued to connect the neighborhoods on either side for many years, until last year when the bridge was found to be unsafe and closed once again.  It is currently slated to be demolished next year, to make way for the Purple Line. Residents of neighborhoods on both sides of the bridge and the larger Silver Spring community have been working together to plan a big celebration to honor the bridge’s long life and important place in local history (and for many children over the past 100 years, a great place to watch trains!) — and further strengthen a shared sense of community between neighbors on either side.
For more details about the bridge and the Centennial celebration: