The Bloomfield Avenue Hotline was the winner of the first annual Bloomfield Avenue Prize, a joint initiative of the Montclair Art Museum and Bloomfield College. Named after the street that connects the two institutions, the Prize was awarded through a juried open call competition for public art projects that bridge the two campuses physically, symbolically, or both. The selection committee was composed of Laura Nova, associate professor of creative art and technology at Bloomfield College; Alexandra Schwartz, curator of contemporary art at the Montclair Art Museum; and faculty and staff from BC and MAM. Thirty-five proposals were submitted; artists Karina Aguilera Skvirsky and Liselot van der Heijden were selected to erect their joint project involving live classic yellow phone booths at each location.
One booth was installed at the College in the College Library and one at the Museum in Lehman Court, the Museum’s main entrance hall. The user could pick up the phone to hear pre-recorded messages based on conversations the artists have had with members from each community. The user also had the opportunity to leave messages that can be heard by others when using the phone. The messages become a portrait of the other location, creating an exchange of perspectives: MAM visitors heard thoughts from Bloomfield residents, while BC visitors heard from their neighbors in Montclair.
At Bloomfield College, The Bloomfield Avenue Prize is funded by the Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) Formula Grant.
All Montclair Art Museum programs are made possible, in part, by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vance Wall Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and Museum members.