For Projected, For Freedoms features two projects their collective produced as part of the 50 State Initiative. The 50 State Initiative was the largest creative collaboration in United States history. For Freedoms launched the non-­partisan, nationwide campaign in June 2018, and invited artists, cultural and academic institutions, and social justice organizations to experiment with new forms of creative civic engagement in the months leading up to the midterm elections. Their work examined our collective freedoms and mapped out the artistic infrastructure of our country through hundreds of concurrent programs, including town halls, exhibitions, lawn signs, and billboards. The 50 State Initiative resulted in 744 activations as well as a network of 715 artists, 266 arts institutions, and civic leaders in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC.

Displayed in Projected are a combination of billboard documentation photographs and some of their over 80 photographic reimaginings of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms. With the billboard campaign, For Freedoms—in the lead-up to the midterm elections—collaborated with artists and local organizations to design and produce billboards in every state, financed through a successful crowdfunding campaign. Each billboard reflects the unique perspective of the artist(s), which may not necessarily be shared by For Freedoms as a collective. Some designs were rejected by billboard companies over concerns that they may be deemed offensive by viewers. In these cases, For Freedoms found alternative means of displaying the rejected billboard designs.

In their Four Freedoms photographs campaign, For Freedoms re-envisioned Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms paintings to reflect the immeasurable diversity of American identities today. The photographs illustrate that all of us are stronger when we are all represented—when everyone has a voice and a seat at the table. For Freedoms released them to the public as fine art prints, billboards, posters, and social media, as well as through publications such as Time and the New York Times.

Much of this work is also on view through June 16 at the ICP Museum as part of the exhibition For Freedoms: Where Do We Go From Here?

How to View

During the day, the installment can be viewed on monitors inside the ICP Museum and during evening hours, images are literally “projected” onto the windows of the ICP Museum; they can be viewed from the sidewalk outside the Museum and are most visible after sunset. Learn more about Projected.

About the Artists

For Freedoms is a national collective for creative citizenship founded by artists Eric Gottesman and Hank Willis Thomas. It is a collaboration between artists, institutions, organizations, and people across the nation who experiment with new and creative pathways to participation. It believes in—and advocates for—creativity as a civic right, participation as a civic duty, and deeper discourse as a catalyst of civic change. And it welcomes all.

For Freedoms started in 2016 as a platform for civic engagement, discourse, and direct action for artists in the United States. 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 can encourage into the political and cultural landscape.

Image: For Freedoms in collaboration with the Gordon Parks Foundation, I Am You (detail of Gordon Parks, Untitled, Washington D.C., 1963), Madison, Wisconsin, 2018, Photograph by
Maryam Ladoni.