Art Installation Series:

For Freedoms: 50 State Initiative

September 18, 2018 – March 21, 2019

For Freedoms lawn signs by the Union community installed in Schaffer Library Learning Commons

Utilizing the green space located in front of Schaffer Library, the Mandeville Gallery held a Lawn Sign Event on September 17, 2018, as part of the For Freedoms: 50 State Initiative. During this event, participants were able to produce and publicly display their own definition of freedom by completing signs that began with the phrases: Freedom Of…, Freedom From…, Freedom For…, and Freedom To… 
The lawn signs allow every participant, in their own way, to articulate a vision of freedom. Once completed, participants were able to place their sign on the green between the Nott Memorial and Schaffer Library for the afternoon. The Schenectady County chapter of the League of Women Voters and members of the Union College Activist Network was also present to register voters and answer voting-related questions.

A selection of these signs comprise the Art Installation in the Learning Commons at Schaffer Library on view through March 21, 2019.

The Mandeville Gallery joins an impressive group of more than 200 museums, universities, and cultural institutions (see list below) staging similar lawn sign events, billboards, town hall meetings, and special exhibitions in all fifty states as a contributor to the 50 State Initiative.

With the motto, “For Freedoms. For Us All,” artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman founded For Freedoms in 2016: “as a platform for civic engagement, discourse, and direct action for artists in the United States. Inspired by Norman Rockwell’s 1943 paintings of the four universal freedoms articulated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1941 — freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear — we seek to use art to deepen public discussions of civic issues and core values, and to clarify that citizenship in American society is defined by participation, not by ideology.”

“In the For Freedoms 50 State Initiative September–November 2018, concurrent decentralized art exhibitions and public events across the country will encourage broad participation in civic discourse and, through lifting up a multiplicity of voices, will spark a national dialogue about art, education, advertising and politics.”

“The 50 State Initiative is a non-partisan, nationwide campaign to use art as a means of inspiring broad civic participation. Along the way, we aim to build a network of artists, arts institutions and civic leaders and to map and connect the cultural and artistic infrastructure in the United States.”

Co-sponsorship for the event was provided by the Department of Visual Arts, Multicultural Affairs, American Studies, Film Studies, and Unitas.

For more information about For Freedoms please visit

For Freedoms: Lawn Sign Event

Monday, September 17th, 2018

12:55 – 1:45 PM

Hull Plaza, Lawn in Front of Schaffer LIbrary