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Signs of Change

As part of our efforts to share the under-represented stories of Charlottesville’s African American history, 10 artists–both current and former Charlottesville residents—were selected by a jury to participate in the Signs of Change project. Through a variety of media, the artwork illustrates several significant events in Charlottesville’s African American history. Participating artists are Bolanle Adeboye, Anne Chesnut, Sahara Clemons, Logan Dandridge, Alan Goffinski, India Mawn, Cary Oliva, Frank Walker, Travis Walker, Sandy Williams. The exhibition will run through January 27.
TO DATE, Signs of Change has consisted of the following programming elements:
  • Commissioning artists to create artworks in response to Charlottesville’s Black history.
  • An artist lead workshop series at locations throughout Charlottesville.
  • An art installation on the lawn of The Fralin Art Museum on University of Virginia grounds.
  • A group art exhibit, January 2019 at The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative.
  • Billboards of these artworks are displayed on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall during late January and February of 2019.
The Bridge hosts the opening of the Signs of Change exhibition January 2019. As part of our efforts to share the under-represented stories of Charlottesville’s African American history, 10 artists—both current and former Charlottesville residents—were selected by a jury to participate in the Signs of Change project. Through a variety of media, the artwork illustrates several significant events in Charlottesville’s African American history. Participating artists are Bolanle Adeboye, Anne Chesnut, Sahara Clemons, Logan Dandridge, Alan Goffinski, India Mawn, Cary Oliva, Frank Walker, Travis Walker, Sandy Williams.

Spearheaded by The Fralin Museum of Art at UVA, and partnering with the Charlottesville Office of Human RightsThe Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, and the Charlottesville Mural Project, Signs of Change was conceived in response to an invitation from artist Hank Willis Thomas to participate in the For Freedoms/50 States Initiative, using art to promote civic engagement in advance of the November mid-term elections, and to educate residents about the history of slavery and African-American life in Charlottesville, as well as current realities for residents of color.

On August 11 and 12, 2017, Charlottesville, Virginia was the site of a white nationalist rally and counter-protest that ended in the death of one Charlottesville resident.  While it is true that many who attended the rally and counter-protest that day were not from Charlottesville, it is also true that Charlottesville harbors deep racial and economic inequality resulting from its history of slavery and Jim Crow policies, as well as a significant divide between the University of Virginia and residents of the town.

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Through Signs of Change, we:

  • Use art to promote civic engagement, in advance of the November general election.
  • Educate the Charlottesville community about its black history.
  • Engage residents in learning from and about one another through community artmaking.

 Signs of Change Exhibition Opening

Signs of Change Workshop at Common House