When is a time when you feel free, and a time when you feel your freedom taken away? In 2018, students enrolled in Professor Leah Sobsey’s Photographic Installation course invited the Greensboro, NC community to respond to these two prompts. Students interviewed participants, photographed them, then printed the portraits along with their responses, installing them in public spaces.
The Lawn Sign Project, made possible through a UNCG Diversity Grant, is in collaboration with UNCG’s Community Arts Collaborative, the UNCG School of Art, and in association with For Freedoms. Founded by artist Hank Willis Thomas, For Freedoms is a non-partisan nationwide initiative that uses art to deepen public discussions on civic issues and core values for people who want to be more engaged in public life.
The lawn signs had their first exhibition in the fall of 2018 at Greensboro Project Space, UNCG’s off-campus gallery space. Since then, the exhibition has traveled to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY in November 2019. Students collected more portraits and responses from a diverse pool of participants.
The Lawn Sign Project uses public art to approach deeper public discussions on civic issues, core values, to advocate for equity, and civic participation. Each exhibition adds more portraits and responses from the last, allowing community members to think critically with themselves about what it means to be free.