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To the Polls: Exhibition Archive

November 2, 2018

This is the exhibition archive to record the murals and artists statements for To the Polls

To the Polls was a mural exhibition that took place at 448 N. 10th Street in Philadelphia’s Spring Arts neighborhood from from September 26, 2018 through October 3, 2018. Organized and curated by Streets Dept’s Conrad Benner with support from Mural Arts Philadelphia, the exhibition worked with 10 Philly-based artists to create 10 temporary 8×8-foot murals to rally the Philadelphia community around civic participation through the act of voting.

I’ve admired street art for as long as I can remember. Walking down the street became like walking through a museum—ever-inspiring, ever-changing, ever-accessible. After a lifetime of creating art that stayed in my room or hung in galleries, I dove into street art during a time that my health plummeted in ways I never imagined. For months, I quite literally could not speak, my words a sea of vowels. But a fire inside me ignited during that time—I had so much I wanted and needed to say. I demanded to be heard. In this current political wildfire, I believe that demanding to be heard is both rebellious and patriotic. I intended this piece to convey the urgency of action; the need for a fulcrum shift. I hope this inspires and moves whoever sees it to feel like I did after I was able to speak again—full of fire and direction.

Alloyius Mcilwaine
Democracy’s Sentinels
We’re coming to a point in our history where a major paradigm shift could occur. During this shift, the momentum could swing towards growth, understanding, and prosperity…or we could fall down the rabbit hole. The midterm elections could change the face of American politics…so it’s incredibly important to let our voices be heard! My piece uses energy and historical benchmarks in American voting to show why voting is so important.


Joe Boruchow
Four Allegories of Voting
The urgency is clear. Without true mass engagement our democracy will not survive. This election and every other, vote. Vote to protect your children. Vote to sweep away the rubbish. Vote to preserve your mental and physical health.

Loveis Wise
We All We Got
This piece emphasizes the importance of using your voice to spark conversation, action, and unity within our communities.

No Vision
A critique / protest image of decades of American political and institutional dysfunction, No Vision is a call for a new ideas and younger blood to step up to the plate.

Wit López
Wooow… You Really Thought… Ok. XD
This mural serves as an infographic on top of an infographic on top of an infographic. It is intended to highlight the multi-layered issue of voter suppression, and how it can hinder people of voting age from registering and registered voters from voting.

Willis “Nomo” Humphrey
Washington, Portrait of an American President
In this vivid image, the countenance of George Washington—this country’s first president—gives way to reveal the leagues of enslaved Africans conscripted to a life of violent labor. Washington, Portrait of an American President is a depiction of the intimate connection between the origins of American wealth and the horrors of American slavery.

Nilé Livingston
To The Polls
My frontier for tackling American democracy starts with a painting titled The County Election by George Caleb Bingham (1811–1879), part of a series depicting crowds of white men of various class status gathered to hear political speeches; politicians personally appealing for votes; and the public announcement of election results. I wanted to explore representation and amend what can be viewed as important (which is coded in the original composition) by replacing many of the figures from Bingham’s painting with subjects that can testify to the status of black people and black women throughout American history. We live in a society that is still recovering from the institutional racism that the legacy of slavery put into place.

Registering to vote, going to the polls to vote, and pushing images forward that can educate and reinforce the reality that we could be more involved in civic matters could be antidotes to our current feelings of discouragement. We are the key components to overcoming exclusion and advancing the progress of people that are striving for excellence.

Marisa Velázquez-Rivas
To the Polls
This is a political statement. A call to rouse. A spiritual expression. Not just lines and blocks of colors that were conceptualized, sketched, vectored, printed, and painted. It’s a visual utterance of the persistent battles and achievements the Latino community has experienced since before the Mexican–American War. In this message there is camaraderie, community, and leadership—it is a plea to realize the weight of our voices and fight the good fight. We are here and we belong.

“Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.” —Roberto Clemente

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