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Artists all around the United States are doing their best to inspire people to vote, designing everything from large city billboards to catchy images that are downloadable at home. In Philadelphia, artists have erected brilliant murals in the middle of John F. Kennedy Plaza (better known as LOVE Park, after Roberta Indiana’s sculpture, which has graced the space since 1976). The nonpartisan initiative is run by Mural Arts Philadelphia, which is considered the nation’s largest public art program and has typically commissioned between 50 and 100 murals annually for the past 35 years.
To the Polls 2020 was organized with curator Conrad Benner, and features murals by six Philadelphia-based artists. One of them, Candy Alexandra González, created a jubilant altar “to our voting rights ancestors” who fought hard for the vote, with text in both Spanish and English. Khalid Dennis has created a defiant mural in honor of those who have died at the hands of police, titled “Vote 2 Breathe.” In a statement, he said, “Vote for those who no longer can.”
The messages of these murals are not only loud and clear, but also colorful and hopeful. “I want an energy that is warm and loving and shows the connection between what we love and voting,” said Kah Yangni of their mural. To the Polls 2020 also considers those who can’t legally vote in the US, giving them the option to cast a symbolic vote at Aram Han Sifuentes’s “Voting Station for the Disenfranchised” (or they can just go to officialunofficial.vote).
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