FOR FREEDOMS and Kickstarter Launch a Campaign for the Largest Creative Collaboration in U.S. History

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For Freedoms co-founders Eric Gottesman and Hank Willis Thomas
For Freedoms co-founders Eric Gottesman and Hank Willis Thomas

Seven months ago, the artist Hank Willis Thomas came to Kickstarter and shared an idea with me. It seemed extraordinary—even unbelievable. He and his team at For Freedoms wanted to create one of the largest-ever creative collaborations in United States history: a call for cultural and civic action that would take place in every single state. Communities would choose their mode of participation—a billboard, town hall meeting, or special exhibition—but their goal would be singular: to create art across the country that would spark honest dialogue and reflection about issues that affect them.

Today, on Kickstarter, For Freedoms seeks support for the billboard portion of this initiative. Fifty-two projects will be launched, simultaneously, across 50 states (as well as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico), to commission artists and secure the reproduction of their work on 52 billboards. Individual communities will make these billboards come to life through local programming and discussion, but because the projects also have a home on Kickstarter, their reach—and their success—rely on people across the globe.

"With Democracy in the Balance There Is Only One Choice" by artist Carrie Mae Weems in Columbus, Ohio. For Freedoms, 2016
"With Democracy in the Balance There Is Only One Choice" by artist Carrie Mae Weems in Columbus, Ohio. For Freedoms, 2016
 

Billboards have deep roots not only within daily culture but also within contemporary art—notable artists like the Guerilla Girls, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Barbara Kruger, John Baldessari, and Jenny Holzer have all experimented with them. They provide a way to convey visual information, sometimes subversively, to thousands of viewers on a daily basis. What better way to democratize access to culture than with such a public and accessible format?

Known as the first artist-run Super PAC, For Freedoms was founded in 2016 by Thomas with fellow artist Eric Gottesman. They’ve both spent much of their artistic careers dedicated to building community and representing those without the power or platform to have a voice. Those of us who have devoted our lives to the creation, support, and admiration of art know that artists are able to see and speak to a community in a way that is direct and often ahead of its time. For Freedoms, like Kickstarter, believes that art is a necessity in any productive society.

Join us in creating a massive community of arts supporters to ensure our collective future and highlight the connections between us all.

Learn more and support the For Freedoms 50 State initiative here.

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