For Freedoms is an artist-run initiative founded in 2016 by Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman. Their work has been seen on billboards, posters, in the news and at public events, and it addresses fundamental questions about the link between our culture and our politics. For the 2018 midterm elections, the initiative is building the largest creative collaboration in the history of the United States by commissioning artists to take over 50 billboards across all 50 states (and beyond).
The 50 State Initiative is a new phase of programming from September through December 2018 during the lead-up to the midterm elections. Building off of the existing artistic infrastructure in the United States, For Freedoms has developed a network of artists and institutional partners who will produce nationwide public art installations, exhibitions and local community dialogues in order to inject nuanced, artistic thinking into public discourse. Centered around the vital work of artists, the hope is that these exhibitions and related projects will model how arts institutions can become civic forums for action and discussion of values, place, and patriotism.
Here at the Pizzuti Collection, we have joined the movement as a partner along with hundreds of other museums, universities, libraries, nonprofit organizations, galleries, and media companies with a shared goal of empowering everyone across the United States fo feel welcome in civic conversations. Artists practice free speech every day, and art plays an important role in galvanizing us to meet, talk, and share with our fellow inhabitants of this country. It’s time we come together, raise our concerns, and move towards a more representative form of self-governance.
Take a look at the Kickstarter and learn how to help bring the largest creative collaboration in US history to life.
Why this is iMportant Now
By giving artists the space and platform to raise their voices and concerns, the initiative is hoping to show that democracy should be a collaborative process that includes—by design—equal representation and validation of the many identities and voices that make up America. For Freedoms is a generative method of civic empowerment that’s assembling a constellation of creativity and support. We the people are closer to one another than we might think.
Whose voices, and whose futures, are important to you? Who do you want to reconnect with right now? These campaigns offer you the time to reflect on where you, your friends, and your family have come from and where they are now. Many of us living in America identify with more than one state, and with just one $10 reward tier across all projects, we’re hoping you back not only this state but as many as you’d like. Remember where you grew up, or where you went to school, or where you’ve always dreamt of visiting, and bring your love, memories, and history to this state in the comments, during our town halls, and with your family. It’s an opportunity to ensure your voice, and the voices of these artists, are heard on billboards and in town halls across the United States.
Further, every backer will be listed on the For Freedoms project website as a 50 Billboards Kickstarted Collaborator. Additionally, you'll receive awesome social media badges to let people know that you were part of this enormous effort.