By : Emma Leavitt
3 min read
When you stop to think about it, it’s really wild how many talented artists are walking around our city right now, and how TINY a fraction of public space they are granted when it comes to public art. Either the space stays empty, devoid of life, or it is filled with ads upon ads, which bombard our senses with messages that don’t even originate from within our communities. There has to be a better way.
Enter: Billboard Hope! A new initiative founded by Roxbury resident Dayenne Walters, in the hope of tackling one corner of this giant public space problem: BILLBOARDS. More specifically, getting the work of local artists of color on them. Dayenne points out that “The billboard model is a proven platform for advertisers selling cable, insurance, alcohol, etc. What would happen if we used the same approach as a context for selling hope, inspiration, and joy?”
What a concept! So far, Billboard Hope has shown the work of local artists Sharif Muhammad, L’Merchie Frazier, Lucilda Dassardo-Cooper, Mithsuca Berry, Merlo Philiossaint, Farah Jeune, DaNice D. Marshall, Ekua Holmes, Chanel Thervil, Carlos W. Byron, Ngoc Tran Vu, and Hakim Raquib — all pillars of the Boston creative community that more than deserve recognition. Currently on view through mid-May is Larry Pierce, at the corner of Harrison Avenue and Dudley St. in Roxbury. You should be able to catch a few Downtown billboards as well, at Washington St. and Boylston St. and the W Hotel. The majority of the billboards besides Larry’s are digital so if you don’t see the image right away, just wait because they change every 6 minutes!
Meanwhile, Billboard Hope needs your support to keep going! They are currently raising funds to finish out year 2. Show your support by connecting and donating www.linktr.ee/Billboard_Hope. And you can get in touch with Dayenne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Emma Leavitt
Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #146 May 2022
Check out all the art and columns of May's Boston Compass at www.issuu.com/bostoncccompass