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Candy Alexandra González, “Altar to our voting rights ancestors / Altara los ancestros que lucharon por los derechos del votante” in To the Polls 2020 at LOVE Park, Philadelphia (photo by Conrad Benner)

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).

Kah Yangni’s mural in To the Polls (photo by Steve Weinik)
To the Polls 2020, six large-scale temporary mural installations at LOVE Park, curated by Conrad Benner (photo by Steve Weinik)
Khalid Dennis (aka BKLvisions), “Vote 2 Breathe” (photo by Conrad Benner)
Nathaniel Lee painting his mural “Public Media’s Voice & The Vote” (photo by Conrad Benner)
Nathaniel Lee’s mural features election headlines from WHYY, Greater Philadelphia’s public media station and media partner of To the Polls 2020 (photo by Conrad Benner)
Hysterical Men, “Democracy Is Essential” (photo by Steve Weinik)
D’nae Harrison, “Save the Date” (photo by Steve Weinik)
Aram Han Sifuentes, “Voting Station for the Disenfranchised” (photo by Conrad Benner)
To the Polls, six large-scale temporary mural installations at LOVE Park, curated by Conrad Benner (photo by Steve Weinik)

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Elisa Wouk Almino

Elisa Wouk Almino is a senior editor at Hyperallergic. She is based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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