William Scott is a part of the largest public art project in US History. For Freedoms, a collective of artists, institutions, organizations, and people across the country who are experimenting with new and innovative pathways to civic participation, announced the locations and artists for over 150 billboards as part of the 50 State Initiative, the largest public art project in U.S. history. Follow @ForFreedoms and go to ForFreedoms.org to find a #50StateInitiative billboard and activation near you, including William Scott’s billboards (one of which was designed in collaboration with David Byrne) in Newark, NJ and San Francisco, CA, which go live in October.
Coinciding with the William Scott and David Byrne billboard collaboration, a story on Creative Growth by our Studio Manager Matt Dostal has been published on David Byrne’s blog Reasons to be Cheerful.
ABOUT FOR FREEDOMS
Founded in 2016 by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, For Freedoms is a platform for creative civic engagement, discourse, and direct action. Inspired by American artist Norman Rockwell’s paintings of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms (1941)—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear—For Freedoms’ exhibitions, installations, and public programs use art to deepen public discussions on civic issues and core values, and to advocate for equality, dialogue, and civic participation. As a nexus between art, politics, commerce, and education, For Freedoms aims to inject anti-partisan, critical thinking that fine art requires into the political landscape through programming, exhibitions, and public artworks. In 2018, For Freedoms launched the 50 State Initiative: the largest creative collaboration in U.S. history.
ABOUT THE 50 STATE INITIATIVE
Since 2016, For Freedoms has produced special exhibitions, town hall meetings, billboards, and lawn sign installations to spur greater participation in civic life. This year, For Freedoms launched the 50 State Initiative, an artist-led campaign to inject nuanced, critical thinking into public discourse, encouraging broad participation and inspiring conversation around November’s midterm elections. Centered around the vital work of artists, For Freedoms hopes that these exhibitions and related projects will model how arts institutions can become civic forums for action and discussion of values, place, and patriotism.
For Freedoms launched 52 separate Kickstarter campaigns to put up 52 billboards in all 50 States, DC, and Puerto Rico. For Freedoms was able to triple their original billboard goal through donated billboards from Lamar and PowerAds Puerto Rico, and partnerships with 21c Museum Hotels, Light Work, Undefeated, the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and Imprint City, among others.
“For Freedoms champions creativity as an essential American value. We welcome all to participate. The goal is to encourage dialogue across partisan lines and fundamentally challenge partisanship itself,” says Emma Nuzzo, For Freedoms Programs Manager. “With our partners, we are exploring the role of arts institutions and artists in connecting with and mobilizing their local communities.”
An additional 50+ billboards will be created independently by various 50 State Initiative partners. To date, For Freedoms has held nearly 150 local activations and events, from town hall conversations to art installations, in more than 40 states, and many more are coming in the weeks ahead.
NPR: ‘Visionary, Not Reactionary’: Artists Take Political Commentary To Streets And Skies
The Guardian: ‘All art is political’: behind America’s most ambitious public art project ever
Vanity Fair: The Striking Election-Season Billboards That Are Also Art
CNN: Political art set to sweep billboards across 50 US states ahead of 2018 midterms
Mic: These billboards tackles some of the country’s most pressing issues ahead of Election Day