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Today in New York City, Times Square Arts and Poster House launched a citywide public art project inspired by the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Conceived in partnership with Print magazine and For Freedoms, the art initiative appears in all five NYC boroughs—on digital screens and billboards—to share works that feature messages of public safety, pride, solidarity, and appreciation for essential workers.
“With people all over New York banding together to combat this disease and support those on the front lines, it was only natural for New York organizations to partner in that same spirit, bringing together the power of mass communication and public art, then magnifying it with our gratitude,” said Julia Knight, Director of Poster House.
The initiative includes billboard works by artists—like Pablo Declan, Maira Kalman, Richard McGuire, Debbie Millman, Emily Oberman, Gemma O’Brien, Edel Rodriguez, Zipeng Zhu, and Jessica Hische—that feature messages like “Love in the time of Corona”; “New York Loves You,” accompanied by a cameo of healthcare workers with wings; “Y’all wash your hands” in bright colors; and “6 feet is 6 feet is 6 feet is 6 feet.”
On view indefinitely in landmark locations like Times Square and the Lincoln Tunnel, the project covers nearly 1,800 LinkNYC billboards throughout the city and is accompanied by a map notating each destination.
“Posters are designed first and foremost to convey messages. To catch viewers’ eyes, to draw those eyes into information and often demand action,” said Steven Heller, Print Magazine’s co-editorial director. “These particular public service announcements serve another goal. They are celebrations of the first responders and myriad essential workers who courageously enable the city to function.”