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By Blights Out
$5,996 pledged of $12,500 goal
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About this project

Blights Out for Mayor

Last year, we ran for President. (Kinda.) Now, Blights Out is running for Mayor! (Sort of!) While Blights Out isn’t planning a collective occupation of the Mayor’s office (yet), we are launching a year-long creative campaign called ‘Blights Out for Mayor’––a series of 12 billboards and 5 yard sign designs that call for and suggest entry points into a Truth and Reconciliation process that would redress the racist/classist/disaster capitalist policies and values imposed after Hurricane Katrina. These messages seek to expand the horizon of our political imaginary, calling us to reevaluate our society’s relationship to property, land, and money. It is a call to action, a call to #PutHousingFirst.

Blights Out, "50 Years Later...(Blights Out for President)", 2016. Billboard inspired by the Black Panther Party 10-Point Program.
Blights Out, "50 Years Later...(Blights Out for President)", 2016. Billboard inspired by the Black Panther Party 10-Point Program.

Why is our public visioning space taken up by ads for crank lawyers, liquor, guns, and politicians without platforms? While your political candidates might not have much to say about the state of ecology, affordable housing, gentrification, and debt in New Orleans and across our nation, WE DO! We are occupying billboard space on the corner of Orleans Avenue and Galvez Street in New Orleans’ 6th Ward starting NOW, just before the New Orleans Mayoral Election on October 14th and for one full year after. Each month, a fresh platform point will crop up, keeping public conversation popping... Because politics and policy neither begin nor end at the ballot.

Our messages will draw from conversations we've had with folks from the housing justice movement, our own research into how the system of development works (or doesn't work), and our Living Glossary project. Each billboard will seed the public's mind to receive the next message. Our preliminary billboard goes up in time with the Kickstarter so you can get a taste for things to come. With your support, we can reserve our billboard location for one full year and cover the costs of producing the billboard posters and yard signs.

Blights Out, Theater of the Gentrified Presents: "Auction", from the Living Glossary series (feat. Mariama Eversley), 2017.
Blights Out, Theater of the Gentrified Presents: "Auction", from the Living Glossary series (feat. Mariama Eversley), 2017.
 

Why is this important?

Blights Out, "1731 Dumaine", 2016. Once 1731 Dumaine's roof caved in, demolition became inevitable. It is a stand-in for all of the lost former homes that were condemned to demolition-by-neglect.
Blights Out, "1731 Dumaine", 2016. Once 1731 Dumaine's roof caved in, demolition became inevitable. It is a stand-in for all of the lost former homes that were condemned to demolition-by-neglect.

Climate change is real. It is here. Yet our politicians are not acknowledging the major changes that we must make to save our cities from a future of ecological apartheid.

Across the world, wealth and power are reorganizing cities in their own image. After decades of disinvestment in urban centers, real estate developers have set their sites on the “inner city”, recognizing the immense profit to be made by converting disinvested neighborhoods into luxury developments. The phenomenon of gentrification is impacting cities across the US from New Orleans to Detroit, New York to San Francisco.

Blights Out, Commodified Housing is Class Warfare (Blights Out for President), 2016.
Blights Out, Commodified Housing is Class Warfare (Blights Out for President), 2016.

Gentrification is a product of end-game free market capitalism run rampant. Racist/classist policy, capitalist values and climate change are coming to a head. We must ask ourselves: will the future of our cities be gentrified fortresses that protect the wealthy from the rising-up of seas and people? We all must unite to demystify the forces behind this phenomenon and push ourselves, the public, and our representatives to act now to create permanently affordable housing, preserve local culture, and build sustainable communities for all. While this project will be rooted in New Orleans, its strategies, messages, significance, and impact will resonate everywhere.

Blights Out, “803 Spain (Faces of Gentrification series)", 2017. A blighted house in Marigny is repaired just enough to allow it to be photographed for market.
Blights Out, “803 Spain (Faces of Gentrification series)", 2017. A blighted house in Marigny is repaired just enough to allow it to be photographed for market.

About Blights Out

Blights Out is a collective of artists, activists, architects, and concerned members of the public who seek to demystify and democratize the system of housing development and expose the policies that lead to gentrification. We have located the lynchpin of gentrification in laws governing debt and property, racialized boundaries, and wealth stratification. Our mission is to generate dialogue, art, and action that expose the policies that lead to and suggests ways out of our current housing crisis. We believe that art can envision, embody, and inspire better policy for people and the planet.

Blights Out meeting at Level Art Collective in 2015, prior to the ten-year anniversary of Katrina. Photograph by Bryan Tarnowski.
Blights Out meeting at Level Art Collective in 2015, prior to the ten-year anniversary of Katrina. Photograph by Bryan Tarnowski.

Blights Out was co-founded by native New Orleans artist/activist Imani Jacqueline Brown, New York-based artist Lisa Sigal, and native New Orleans artist Carl Joe Williams. The collective is led by the co-founders along with Founding Architectural Designer Bryan C. Lee, Jr. and Embedded Historian Mariama Eversley.

Why Kickstarter?

Blights Out, "Trauma/Resistance" (Blights Out for President), 2016. Billboard design for Blights Out's "Blights Out for President" campaign in 2016.
Blights Out, "Trauma/Resistance" (Blights Out for President), 2016. Billboard design for Blights Out's "Blights Out for President" campaign in 2016.

We recognize that the values that have created bad housing policy in New Orleans are the same values that are destabilizing cities across our nation. Gentrification is a national crisis of values and is the natural end of our society's refusal to redress our nation's founding values and laws, which justified the displacement, mass murder, and enslavement of indigenous and African people and their descendants. Blights Out is coming to Kickstarter to fundraise for this new project because we want to unite people in New Orleans and across our nation in a call to expose the roots of gentrification, address inequitable development as the root of systemic poverty and the expression of institutional racism, and declare that housing is a human right.

Rewards

Here is a small sampling of some of the rewards available as "thank you's" for your contributions to our campaign! Blights Out is immensely grateful to Katrina Andry, Ron Bechet, Garrett Bradley, Pippin Frisbie-Calder, Dave Mckenzie, Dread Scott, Lisa Sigal, John Isiah Walton, Carl Joe Williams, and Caroline Woolard & Jeff Warren for supporting us through your art! And thank you to Zac Manuel of The Greenhouse Collective for filming our video!

John Isiah Walton

John Isiah Walton, Project Bricks. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina stranded Walton and his family in Houston. There, he overheard a young woman say that she couldn’t wait “to get home to feel those ‘Project Bricks’". He knew her wish would never be granted.
John Isiah Walton, Project Bricks. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina stranded Walton and his family in Houston. There, he overheard a young woman say that she couldn’t wait “to get home to feel those ‘Project Bricks’". He knew her wish would never be granted.

 Dread Scott

Mockup for Dread Scott, Redistribute Wealth, 2017. Signed and editioned prints.
Mockup for Dread Scott, Redistribute Wealth, 2017. Signed and editioned prints.

 Blights Out

Blights Out, Blights Out for President: Look Me in the Eye, 2016
Blights Out, Blights Out for President: Look Me in the Eye, 2016

Carl Joe Williams

Carl Joe Williams, Kalief Browder, every time I leave the house, 2016. Mixed media on canvas and digital prints available. 15"x 20"
Carl Joe Williams, Kalief Browder, every time I leave the house, 2016. Mixed media on canvas and digital prints available. 15"x 20"

 Garrett Bradley

Garrett Bradley, Two-print set from American Rhapsody, 2017
Garrett Bradley, Two-print set from American Rhapsody, 2017

Ron Bechet

Ron Bechet, Restoration of Consciousness, 2017
Ron Bechet, Restoration of Consciousness, 2017

 Lisa Sigal

Lisa Sigal, Home Court Crawl, 2014.
Lisa Sigal, Home Court Crawl, 2014.

 Pippin Frisbie-Calder

Pippin Frisbie-Calder, Club Desire, 2015
Pippin Frisbie-Calder, Club Desire, 2015

 Katrina Andry

Katrina Andry, Pussies, 2010
Katrina Andry, Pussies, 2010

Caroline Woolard & Jeff Warren

Caroline Woolard & Jeff Warren, Solidarity Economy, 2016
Caroline Woolard & Jeff Warren, Solidarity Economy, 2016

 

 Dave Mckenzie

Dave Mckenzie, Pen Pals, 2017
Dave Mckenzie, Pen Pals, 2017

 

Risks and challenges

Some artists are creating new works of art to our Kickstarter campaign. As such, works will be finished in November. We plan to ship them to you in December, in time for the gift-giving winter season! We'll be in touch with you at the beginning of December if for whatever reason there is a delay.

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    Blights Out, Postcard sticker

    Postcard sticker from Blights Out for President, with slogans: Commodified Housing is Class Warfare, Development without Displacement, Black Land Matters, The People for President, Look Me in the Eye, 3.5” x 5,” 2016.

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    Blights Out for President yard sign

    Blights Out for President, Choose a single yard sign from a set of 5 designs,18” x 24,” 2016.

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    The Living Glossary Presents: Auction

    Blights Out, The Living Glossary Presents: Auction, limited edition digital print poster, 12” x 18,” 2017 “Auction,” is the first of a series of 'expanded definitions' composed through research to understand common real estate and development terminology. To follow:
    “blight,” “community,” “development,”
    “gentrification,” and “property.”

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    Blights Out for President

    Blights Out for President, yard signs (get one give two),18” x 24,” 2016. Choose three of five designs. Cover the cost of three. One to keep two for us to donate to someone who can't afford to pay.

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    Blights Out for President

    Box of 5 postcard stickers from Blights Out for President: Commodified Housing is Class Warfare, Development without Displacement, Black Land Matters, The People for President, Look Me in the Eye, 3.5” x 5,” 2016

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    Caroline Woolard..., Solidarity Economy

    Caroline Woolard & Jeff Warren's digital print, edition of 10. 11” x 17,” 2016. Solidarity Economy represents united alternative economies like lending circles, credit unions, worker cooperatives, community safety initiatives, community media stations, and community land trusts to form a base of political power.

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    Blights Out for President

    Set of 5 yard signs: Commodified Housing is Class Warfare, Development without Displacement, Black Land Matters, The People for President, Look Me in the Eye, 18” x 24,” 2016.

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    John Isiah Walton, Project Bricks

    John Isiah Walton, digital print, edition of 30, 11” x 14,” 2016. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina left Walton and his family stranded in Houston. There, he overheard a young woman saying that she "can't wait to get home to feel those Project Bricks". That moment stuck with him; he knew her wish would never be granted.

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    Blights Out, The Living Glossary

    Portfolio of eight 12” x 18” posters. Full set of Living Glossary posters. *Please note: will be mailed upon completion in January 2018.

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    Pippin Frisbie-Calder, Club Desire

    Pippin Frisbie-Calder, Club Desire, 2015. Screenprint with glow-in-the-dark ink, edition of 30, 11” x 10.” The City of New Orleans refused to include this Historic Black Club on the National Registry but after the roof collapsed, a FEMA grant was obtained to demolish it.

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    Dread Scott, Redistribute Wealth

    Dread Scott, Redistribute Wealth, 2017. Commercial letterpress print, edition of 10, 22 x 14 inches, signed by the artist.

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    Ron Bechet, Restoring Consciousness

    Ron Bechet, Restoring Consciousness, 2017. Black and white silkscreen, 22" x 30,"

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    Lisa Sigal, Home Court Crawl

    Lisa Sigal, a limited edition photograph from Burning, Prospect.3: Notes for Now, New Orleans, 2014. Signed by the artist, edition of 10, 14.25” x 22."
    Text from Suzan-Lori Parks' script Burnin' pasted on a surplus of blighted homes to bring voices to the houses and highlight the crisis in New Orleans.

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    Dave Mckenzie, Pen Pals

    Dave Mckenzie, (new commission) Ten handwritten letters from the artist; one letter each year for the next ten years. Edition of 10 sets of 10 letters.

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    John Isiah Walton, Project Bricks

    John Isiah Walton, a watercolor on paper, 11” x 14,” 2016. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina left Walton and his family stranded in Houston. There, he overheard a young woman saying that she "can't wait to get home to feel those Project Bricks". That moment stuck with him; he knew her wish would never be granted.

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    Carl Joe Williams, Kalief Browder

    Carl Joe Williams, "Kalief Browder, Every Time I Leave the House" mixed media on canvas, 15"x 20," 2016.

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    Carl Joe Williams, Memories of Friends

    Carl Joe Williams, mixed media on canvas, 10"x 8," 2017.

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    Carl Joe Williams, Walking, Urban Series

    Carl Joe Williams, mixed media on canvas, 10"x 8," 2017.

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    Garrett Bradley, American Rhapsody

    Garrett Bradley, Two-print set from American Rhapsody, ink-jet print from 35mm negative, 8” x 10,” 2017. Created in New Orleans, Louisiana, American Rhapsody anchors itself in the spirit of the late Bert Williams 1913 film, Lime Kiln Club Field Day and proposes a historical resurfacing of African-American performance, direction, and vision.

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    Katrina Andry, Pussies

    Katrina Andry, Edition of 6 screen prints, signed by the artist, 8” x 5.25,” 2010.

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    Katrina Andry, I’m Sorry...

    Katrina Andry, Edition of 3 screen prints, signed by the artist, 8” x 5.25,” 2010.

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    Katrina Andry, Origami City

    Katrina Andry, Edition of 4 screen prints, signed by the artist,10.5” x 7.75,” 2010

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