We Are For Freedoms: ‘Anti-partisan’ civic discussion series at the Currier

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Photograph by Hank Willis Thomas and Emily Shur. Courtesy of For Freedoms

MANCHESTER, NH – Every four years, the entire world pays attention to New Hampshire as it plays host to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. The drama, catastrophes, and controversies of the campaigns since the 1950s have captured widespread attention. This campaign season, the Currier Museum of Art presents an exhibition in collaboration with the artist group For Freedoms that explores issues of civic engagement. Without taking a stand in party politics, the museum welcomes everyone to reflect and participate in the political process leading up to the presidential primary, anticipated for February 11, 2020.

Steve Duprey, president of the museum’s board says: “Politics have become increasingly divisive and polarized. This exhibition forces us all to reflect on some basic values, regardless of our party or our favored candidate.” A member of the Republican National Committee, Duprey continues, “As an art lover and a political activist, I am proud that the Currier Museum is presenting a highly innovative exhibition during our first-in-the-nation primary.”

Based on Norman Rockwell’s classic images of the 1940s, the project updates nostalgic notions of freedom and civics for our own times and invites wider audience participation. The combination of New Hampshire’s exciting political primary season with its major museum of art makes for a distinctive and unique art exhibition.

Conceived by For Freedoms, a national artist collective, the exhibition We Are For Freedoms will run from October 26, 2019 through March 1, 2020. The artists will also install public art around Manchester and organize a series of programs at the museum. These activities show how art can spur discussions about values, place, and patriotism.

Founded in 2016 by artists Eric Gottesman (a New Hampshire native) and Hank Willis Thomas, For Freedoms is a platform for civic engagement, discourse, and action. Inspired by Norman Rockwell’s 1943 paintings of the four universal freedoms articulated by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 – freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear – For Freedoms uses art to show that citizenship is deepened by participation. For Freedoms follows a long artistic tradition of using mass communication to stimulate political discourse. The artists believe that art plays an important role in moving our society towards a more representative and transparent government.

The exhibition will be highly interactive and include a campaign headquarters-like working space as well as other participatory art installations. The Currier Museum is organizing town hall discussions, free and open to all. These conversations allow for a more active, collaborative, and inclusive experience.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Bookery Manchester. The town hall discussions are supported by New Hampshire Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities.

We Are For Freedoms opens on Saturday, October 26 with a free community day. Visitors of all ages will be encouraged to explore the exhibition’s themes through a collaborative sign installation and other activities, including tours led by the artists and curator. Town halls will be held monthly from November to February.

Town Hall Discussions Events take place at the Currier Museum of Art and are free to all.

  • Freedom from Fear: Thursday, November 7, 5:30 pm
  • Freedom from Want: Sunday, December 8, 2:00 pm
  • Freedom of Speech:  Monday, January 20, 2:00 pm
  • Freedom of Worship: Thursday, February 6, 5:30 pm

More information at currier.org/calendar

About the Currier Museum of Art

The Currier Museum is an internationally renowned art museum located in Manchester, New Hampshire. The museum features paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, and photographs, including works by Monet, Picasso, O’Keeffe, Hopper, and Wyeth. It presents exhibitions, tours, art classes, and special programs year-round. The Zimmerman House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is a part of the museum.

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