Along the highways and byways of rural America, some fortunate drivers are encountering eye-catching billboards (one is shown above) designed with the midterm elections in mind and sure to provoke thoughtful reflection. Described as possibly the country’s most ambitious public-art project, they form part of the “50 State Initiative,” a crowdfunded project sponsored by the New York-based For Freedoms organization, and are intended to encourage “civic participation,” according to For Freedom’s co-founder Eric Gottesman.
“It’s not just voting, it’s about using our voices to speak up about the things we feel strongly about,” Gottesman recently told The Guardian newspaper, which reports that more than 200 institutions and 400 artists will be hosting, talks, projects, and exhibits related to political art in partnership with For Freedoms. The more than 50 billboards created for the endeavor (whose locations include Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico) will remain up through the month of November.
Says Gottesman: “Often the response to the billboards is a question: ‘What does this mean?’” We say: ‘What do you think it means? We don’t know, help us figure out what this means together.’”
And, of course, being a part of the conversation is one of the essential foundations of a shared democracy. (So VOTE!)