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Image via Times Square Arts by Maria Baranova

If you happened to pass by Times Square recently, you might have noticed that its street pole banners and Bigbelly solar-powered trash receptacles have been retrofitted with political and poetic signage, showcasing quotes like “Imagination births courage births changes births freedom” and “I was born for love, not hate.” It’s all part of Word on the Street, an ongoing text-based public art initiative produced by artist collective House of Trees, which consists of original signage produced by female international artists in collaboration with female refugee fabricators based in Texas.

Image via Times Square Arts by Maria Baranova

Image via Times Square Arts by Maria Baranova

Working together with Times Square Arts, House of Trees brought together leading national and international artists and writers, including Anne Carson, Amy Khoshbin, Carrie Mae Weems and Wangechi Mutu to display their work on the streets of Times Square through February 2018. The project is an “ongoing Public Art Protest Initiative,” which celebrates free speech, encourages social action and emphasizes the “requirements of citizenry.”

The protest expressions were originally crafted out of felt and worn for the Women’s March. In the time since their conceptualization, they’ve been displayed in a variety of institutions, including Kimmel Galleries, Leila Heller Gallery and the Whitney Houston Biennial, before they took to the streets. Times Square — perhaps New York City’s most iconic commercial intersection, which invites roughly 300,000 visitors on a daily basis, is, expectedly, a fitting place to host the installation.

Image via Times Square Arts by Maria Baranova

Image via Times Square Arts by Maria Baranova

“We’ve asked poets and artists to respond to the politics of the day with a landscape of poetry; using phrases, art, and made-by-hand signage to inspire, and at times resist,” said the House of Trees art collective. “At a time when language is being societally devalued, how can we as artists and writers use words creatively to rouse political action? Word on the Street Times Square continues this investigation with some of the most inspiring females we know.”

Image via Times Square Arts by Maria Baranova

Image via Times Square Arts by Maria Baranova

Today, Times Square Arts and artist Amy Khoshbin are also inviting visitors to Workshop on the Street, a one-day event taking place from 12 pm. to 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Broadway Plaza between 43rd & 44th Streets. Participants will have the opportunity create wearable protest gear, such as sashes, banners and badges.

“Word on the Street” is on display in Times Square from August 29, 2017 – February 2018. For more information, click here. 

Next, check out 18 Art Installations and Exhibits Not to Miss in NYC in September 2017 and discover the Top 10 Secrets of Times Square.

 times square, Times Square Arts

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