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Major contemporary artists join digital public art campaign in support of essential workers
Public service announcement by Nekisha Durrett. Photo: Maria Baranova.

NEW YORK, NY.- Times Square Arts, For Freedoms and Poster House announced the second phase of their now multi-city campaign, which is on view on digital displays throughout all five boroughs of New York City and on JCDecaux screens in Boston and Chicago. Each artwork acknowledges the continued service of essential workers.

Starting today, phase two of the campaign features artworks by major contemporary artists Alixa Garcia, Carrie Mae Weems, Christine Sun Kim, Christine Wong Yap, Duke Riley, Jenny Holzer, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, G.O.N.G. with Mel Chin, Nekisha Durrett, Paula Crown, Pedro Reyes, and Xaviera Simmons.

These artists join the graphic designers organized by Poster House and PRINT, whose work has been on view since the campaign’s launch in April, including Ola Baldych, Seymour Chwast, Pablo Delcan, Matt Dorfman, Milton Glaser, Jessica Hische, Joe Hollier, Mirko Ilić, Maira Kalman, Ross MacDonald, Bobby Martin and Jennifer Kinon, Richard McGuire, Debbie Millman, Emily Oberman, Gemma O’Brien, Edel Rodriguez, Paul Sahre, Paula Scher, Klaas Verplancke, Strick&Williams, and Zipeng Zhu.

“We’re excited to expand this citywide campaign with For Freedoms and a powerful group of artists with new messages acknowledging the hundreds of thousands who persist in sustaining us through each chapter of this pandemic - in particular the immigrant and undocumented workers who face greater risks and significantly less access to resources and support,” said Times Square Arts Director Jean Cooney. “Especially in times of uncertainty and change, artists can figuratively — and in Times Square literally — shine a light on hidden truths and celebrate those people and phenomena which are often unseen or unacknowledged. Our partnership with both For Freedoms and the New York Immigration Coalition speak to that," added Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance.

In keeping the positive momentum, the public art campaign aims to encourage a sense of community and pride among New Yorkers, and give artists the opportunity to express their gratitude and optimism through the power of art. This group of contemporary artists joins the chorus of graphic designers in the ongoing global gesture aimed at honoring the essential workers — doctors and nurses, public transportation personnel, Times Square’s sanitation and safety workers, grocery store employees, delivery staff, restaurant workers, and more — who put themselves at risk on behalf of others.

“Art asks us to pause, to take a moment to consider what is in front of us. We hope that this project will further encourage us to pause, consider and appreciate those whose jobs are essential, who return to their nightly hospital shifts or daily customer service responsibilities, to guarantee that we are taken care of through this pandemic and beyond. We thank Time Square Arts for collaborating with us to ensure that we take this time to express our gratitude for these workers, for art, and for our community,” said For Freedoms.

"We're enthusiastic about how this project has evolved, with even more artists coming together to show gratitude for front line essential workers and spread positivity to communities all across the city," said Poster House Director Julia Knight. "As long as New York continues to battle this epidemic, we will keep finding dynamic ways to amplify these artists' important and inspiring messages."

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