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Philly Artists Join NYC’s BRILLIANT ‘Art in Ad Places’ Project

February 19, 2017

(Photos by Luna Park)

Yes, yes, YES… I freaking love this!

Art in Ad Places is a NYC-based, 52 week public service campaign that’s replacing advertisements with artwork. The project began at the start of 2017. Each week, Art in Ad Places will partner with a new artist to install art at payphone kiosks around New York City.

In only its sixth week, three – or half – of the artists that Art in Ad Places has worked with have come from Philadelphia. Which, in my opinion, speaks volumes about the amount of talented artists working and thriving right now in Philly! Looking at the photos above those artists, in descending order, are: Michelle Angela OrtizJim Houser, and Adam Wallacavage.

Michelle’s contribution in particular is a great example of how this project and its artists can use this platform to elevate political and social issues. Michelle’s piece depicts a 13-year-old boy named Erick and reads the following quote from him: “If my parents are deported, I will have to raise my sister.” About her installation, Michelle says, “My portrait of Erick represents the many families affected by the threat of deportations. In this current anti-immigrant climate, it is necessary to represent the images and messages of immigrant communities fighting for a better life in this country.”

You may remember Michelle Angela Ortiz’s banner for the Streets Dept co-organized Inauguration Day public art protest, Signs of Solidarity, was created to have a similar effect as she wrote in her Artist Statement: “At this moment when our communities of color are at a higher risk of being targeted in this country, it is crucial that we remember how beautiful, resilient, and powerful we are. That when others fail to see our light, we continue to shine brighter and be a beacon to our families, our children, and our communities.”

Art in Ad Places was created by artist Caroline Caldwell and former Philly dude and Vandalog Founder RJ Rushmore. On their website, the duo list the many reasons for the creation of their project, namely their belief that outdoor advertising is visual pollution that can be psychologically damaging and which is ultimately pushed on viewers in the public space without their consent. All of which I couldn’t agree with more. (In fact, check out Streets Dept’s ‘Purpose Statement’ here, if you’ve never read it!)

Can’t wait to see if more Philly artists participate in this project. Y’all should definitely follow along on Art in Ad Places’ Instagram here!

And if you love this project as much as I do, then you’ll surely like the many not too dissimilar (though certainly less focused/curated) ad takeovers that have been popping up around Philly for the last year from artists including NDAKid Hazo, and Joe Boruchow.

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