Who we are
For Freedoms is an artist-led organization that centers art as a catalyst for creative civic engagement, discourse, and direct action. Founded in 2016 by a coalition of artists including Hank Willis Thomas, Eric Gottesman, Michelle Woo, and Wyatt Gallery, For Freedoms is dedicated to fostering an environment of listening, healing, and justice through a wide range of creative activations. For Freedoms works closely with a variety of artists, organizations, institutions, and brands to expand what participation in a democracy looks like and reshape conversations about politics.
Since founding, For Freedoms has collaborated with over 1,000 artists on over 750 activations including public art installations, billboard campaigns, exhibitions, town halls, and events across all 50 states. Select campaign highlights include the 2022 Eyes on Iran campaign in collaboration with Woman Life Freedom; The 2020 Awakening inspired by the Wide Awakes of 1860; the 2018 Four Freedoms photo series in which Hank Willis Thomas and Emily Shur recreated Norman Rockwell’s iconic paintings with a more inclusive lens; and 2018’s 50 State Initiative. Key partnerships have included the NFL, the Guggenheim Museum, and Converse, amongst others. The organization has been awarded the 2022 National Arts Award by Americans for the Arts; was honored in 2019 by the The Bronx Museum of Art with the Art for Justice Visionaries Award; and received the Infinity Award for New Media and Online Platform in 2017 from the International Center for Photography.
Leading up to the 2016 elections in the United States, For Freedoms asked ourselves how we could center artists’ voices in public discourse, broaden what participation in democracy looks like, and initiate a larger conversation about the role of art in local, national, and global politics.
What began as a one-off campaign has now evolved into an ongoing movement. For Freedoms has since produced artworks and run nationwide campaigns timed to significant political elections: in 2018 we conducted the 50 State Initiative, named by TIME as the “largest creative collaboration in United States history” and in 2020 we launched the 2020 Awakening, activating artists, museums, schools, corporations and civic organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and beyond.
For Freedoms has grown to become the largest community for creative civic engagement in the United States. We comprise thousands of artists and organizations working together to invite radical imagination and set the table for new national conversations.
For Freedoms maintains that if creativity is a core societal value, and if artists are at every table, new ideas are more likely to take hold. With that, we can build new systems that no longer rely on extractive or corrupt foundations but instead center love, care, and community. We are working toward a new economic model for art and culture while offering financial and education opportunities for artists.
Founded in 2016 by a coalition of artists, academics and organizers, including Hank Willis Thomas, Eric Gottesman, Michelle Woo, and Wyatt Gallery, For Freedoms continues to be artist-led and is dedicated to awakening a culture of listening, healing, and justice. We are invested in an infinite game— one where there are no winners versus losers, and one where the objective is for everyone to continue to play.
Play on, player.
View the 2020 Annual Report
View the 2018 Annual Report